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Virginia is for scorned lovers: How Taylor Swift ended up in the Governor's race

Democrat Terry McAuliffe claims his Republican opponent Glenn Youngkin played a role in the controversial sale of the pop star's music.

RICHMOND, Va. — Pop superstar Taylor Swift has become a key topic in the Virginia Governor’s race. Do you remember the fight between Taylor and record executive Scott “Scooter” Braun over her original masters? The outcome was Braun held onto the rights forcing Swift to re-record her albums.

A new social media ad by Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe claims his opponent Glenn Youngkin played a role in all of that. Now, the ad isn’t very specific about how Glenn Youngkin “helped” to buy Swift’s music. But, we set out to Verify the known facts.

QUESTION:

When Glenn Youngkin was co-CEO of the Carlyle Group, did the company have a role in purchasing Taylor Swift’s master recordings?

OUR SOURCE:

ANSWER:

   

This is true.

Yes, the Carlyle Group played a role in the purchase of Taylor Swift’s master recordings. During the sale, Glenn Youngkin was co-CEO of the investment firm.

WHAT WE FOUND:

To follow the involvement, you have to see several layers of investments. Glenn Youngkin, until this campaign, was the co-CEO of the Carlyle Group.

Carlyle Group is an investor in music executive Scooter Braun’s Ithaca Holdings. Ithaca Holdings bought the label which owned Taylor Swift’s master recordings.

In a 2019 press release, the Carlyle Group announced its role in the purchase and mentioned Swift by name. According to the release, the Carlyle Group would support the Ithaca Holdings transaction.

So we can Verify, yes, when Glenn Youngkin was co-CEO, the Carlyle Group supported the purchase of Swift’s music.

Credit: AP Images

We asked the Youngkin campaign, what role did the candidate have in the deal? They claim Youngkin didn’t have a say in Carlyle’s daily operational decisions. So Youngkin’s exact role, we can’t verify.

However, Glenn Youngkin’s campaign tried to turn the tables, by claiming that quote, “Terry McAuliffe’s campaign is funded by Scooter Braun’s money.”

QUESTION: 

Did Scooter Braun’s money fund McAuliffe’s campaign for governor?

OUR SOURCES:

  • Scott ‘Scooter’ Braun’s 2020 FEC filings.
  • McAuliffe for Governor campaign.

ANSWER:

This is misleading.

 Braun’s campaign donation was made to the Democratic Party of Virginia for the “Biden Victory Fund.”

WHAT WE FOUND:

The FEC filing shows that in September 2020, Scooter Braun made a $4,113 donation to the Democratic Party of Virginia.  But the note said it was for the “Biden Victory Fund.”

Credit: WUSA

FEC filings show that he made 16 donations that day of the same amount, with similar memos to 14 different state parties.

McAuliffe didn’t launch his campaign until December of 2020 and didn’t get the party nomination until June 2021. We asked the McAuliffe campaign if any of that money made it into the McAuliffe election fund.

Neither McAuliffe’s campaign nor the Virginia Democratic Party would provide a statement on that.

To show full transparency, Democrat Terry McAuliffe also was an investor in The Carlyle Group from 2007 through 2016 both before and after he was Governor.  That’s according to financial disclosures obtained by the Associated Press. However, McAuliffe’s money left the fund 3 years before the Swift music deal.

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