Mississippi's Lieutenant governor continues to say he didn't pressure the state department of transportation into building a road near his home.
Republican Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves says a letter from the director of the state department of transportation, proves his office did not try to pressure the agency to build a frontage road. Recent news reports claim Melinda McGrath said political pressure was involved in the plan, which would connect Reeves' neighborhood with a shopping area on Highway 25. Lieutenant Governor Reeves.
"Reading from the letter. 'I have never indicated any inappropriate, unacceptable or unlawful communication with a member of the legislature,' " said Reeves.
While McGrath's letter says there was no inappropriate illegal communications. She does contends there was political pressure. The letter says Reeves staff took the unusual step of communicating directly with utility companies, using authority MDOT doesn't have. McGrath says that indicated a level of priority that created political pressure. This week state Attorney General Jim Hood, a Democrat, said there will be an independent investigation into the matter. He requested Reeves' office and legislators turn over documents involving the issue.
"Our attempt here is to try to make sure that we've thrown a net around all the evidence so it's preserved for an independent review," said Hood.
Reeves say they have done two electronic searches and haven't found any documents that meet Hood's request. The frontage road project is on hold. Reeves says the real scandal is Hood using his position for his own personal and political benefit. Both men are expected to run for governor next year.