GOP ticket in Virginia has a bad record on public safety

by Brian Coy
Aug 19, 2013

Senator Herring and Public Safety Advocate Lori Haas: Republican Ticket’s Safety Record is Dangerous for Virginia

Senator Mark Herring and Lori Haas from the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence on Monday discussed Ken Cuccinelli and Mark Obenshain’s extreme record on public safety. Senator Mark Herring said:

Throughout his career in the State Senate and as Attorney General, Ken Cuccinelli has a long record of putting his extreme agenda and personal interests ahead of what is best for Virginians’ safety. His extreme running-mate Mark Obenshain has joined him many times in opposing commonsense safety proposals.

Cuccinelli and Obenshain have both voted to allow guns on school grounds and to allow guns and missiles in airport terminals. The two both voted against increasing a fine on repeat drunk drivers by just $25 to fund state trauma centers, and Obenshain opposed legislation that would make it a Class 1 misdemeanor for a person who is under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs to carry a loaded firearm in a public place.

“Cuccinelli and Obenshain’s positions aren’t just bad policy–they are so far out of the mainstream that it would hinder our police and law enforcement officials’ ability to do their jobs, and put our Commonwealth, and especially our children, in danger,” stated Lori Haas.

Herring also commented on the likely impacts of Ken Cuccinelli’s extreme tax plan on local law enforcement and public safety, noting, “Ken Cuccinelli’s proposal for a $1.4 billion tax cut is just another budget gimmick. His refusal to explain how he will pay for it would likely result in additional stress on municipal budgets for police, fire, and schools that Virginia’s communities just can’t afford.”

Haas concluded, “We need leaders who will prioritize our safety, support our public safety officials, and address the real issues that will prevent more tragedies from occurring in the future, like the diagnosis, treatment, and awareness of mental health issues.”

How Terry McAuliffe is putting jobs first

The McAuliffe plan to grow Virginia’s economy and create jobs has four primary components:

  • investing in Virginia’s transportation systems
  • reforming PreK-12 education and supporting workforce development programs through our community colleges
  • diversifying Virginia’s economy
  • strengthening Virginia’s healthcare system through Medicaid expansion

Read more through the link, and support Terry McAuliffe for Governor on November 5th, 2013.

Attorney General Cuccinelli refuses to answer

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli refused to answer questions about the investigation into his actions supporting a power company against the interest of Southwest Virginia land owners:

Terry McAuliffe nailed it with this ad:

Terry McAuliffe’s ad shown below calls his opponent out for wasting taxpayer money and not doing his job. His opponent wasted taxpayer money suing the federal government over Obamacare, opposing transportation and infrastructure spending, and — as this ad shows — trying to impose a political ideology on scientific research. An Attorney General is supposed to look after the interests of Virginia and Virginians, not litigate against the best interest of the Commonwealth and his constituents.

Cuccinelli fails to respond to FOIA request

Brian Coy, DPVA
July 18, 2013

On the morning of Thursday, July 11th, Senator Donald McEachin submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the Office of the Attorney General seeking information about Ken Cuccinelli’s relationship with Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams.

McEachin released the following statement today questioning why he has yet to receive a response of any sort despite the legally required 5-business day deadline for a response having passed:

“Last week I submitted a simple request for information about the Attorney General’s relationship with Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams. A large part of that request sought information that Ken Cuccinelli’s office has already provided to his campaign for Governor. Despite that, the Attorney General’s Office has not yet responded to my request as Virginia law requires.

“Months of state and nationwide news coverage and a steady drip, drip, drip of ever-more disturbing revelations have become a distraction from the key issues we face as a state and a damaging signal to the rest of the world about the kind of government Virginia has.

“That is why I offered him the opportunity to give Virginians the information they deserve last week, and why today I am renewing my call for the Attorney General to open his office up to disinfecting sunlight that is so sorely needed right now. Until Virginians know the truth about how and why Ken Cuccinelli exposed his taxpayer-funded office to a massive conflict of interest scandal we cannot begin to undo the damage he has caused and move on from this dark period. It’s time for the Attorney General to provide the information that Virginians deserve.”

Senator McEachin’s FOIA from last week specifically asks for:

  1. All communications between any member of the Office of the Attorney General and Jonnie Williams.
  2. All internal and external communications to which the Office of the Attorney General was a party regarding the Office’s potential conflict of interest in the Commonwealth’s case against Todd Schneider for embezzlement at the Executive Mansion.
  3. All internal and external communications to which any member of the Office of the Attorney General was a party regarding the allegations against Governor McDonnell made byTodd Schneider.
  4. All internal and external communications to which any member of the Office of the Attorney General was a party related to any “walling off” of the Attorney General in the Commonwealth’s case against Todd Schneider for embezzlement at the Executive Mansion.
  5. All internal and external communications to which any member of the Office of the Attorney General was a party regarding the Attorney General’s financial disclosures.
  6. All information concerning any fees charged by the Office of the Attorney General or paid by anyone for the preparation of the “Inquiry on Star Scientific” Memorandum dated June 27, 2013 from the Cuccinelli for Governor Campaign.
  7. All internal and external communications to which any member of the Office of the Attorney General was a party regarding the “Inquiry on Star Scientific” Memorandum dated June 27, 2013 from the Cuccinelli for Governor Campaign.
  8. All Freedom of Information Act requests received by the Office of the Attorney General seeking information or documents related in any way to the Commonwealth’s case against Todd Schneider for embezzlement at the Executive Mansion, and the response provided by the Office of the Attorney General.

House Democratic Leader urges Cuccinelli to appoint separate counsel in Star Scientific Case

from Ashley Bauman
Democratic Party of Virginia
ashley@vademocrats.org

March 29, 2013, Charlottesville, VA — Today House Democratic Leader David Toscano sent the following letter to Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli urging him to recuse himself and his office and appoint outside counsel in Virginia’s case against Star Scientific, a company in which Cuccinelli is invested and from whose CEO he has received $13,000 in gifts. Star Scientific owes Virginia $700,000 in taxes and sued the state in 2011 over the matter.

Last week an Associated Press report revealed that case has lain dormant since August of 2011 and questioned whether Cuccinelli’s apparent conflict of interest with the company has played a role in his office’s slow handling of the matter. Today Toscano called on Cuccinelli to do away with the perception of impropriety and recuse himself and his office from the case.

The text of the letter he sent is below:

Dear General Cuccinelli,

As you know, last week the Associated Press reported on a troubling issue regarding your office’s handling of a tax dispute with a company in which you are invested and with whose CEO you seem to be close friends. According to that report, Star Scientific may owe Virginia taxpayers as much as $700,000 and has sued the Commonwealth over that bill. The case to resolve that claim is being handled by your office, but it seems to have sat dormant since August of 2011.

The length of time that has passed without any action on a case at which hundreds of thousands of dollars are at stake is cause for concern in and of itself, but this instance is particularly troubling due to your close personal relationship to this company and its CEO Jonnie Williams. As the Associated Press reported, Williams’ company is the only company in which you hold stock, and you received $13,000 in gifts from Williams in 2011, the same year that Williams sued the Commonwealth of Virginia and your office began to represent taxpayers in that case.

It should come as no surprise that many Virginians, myself included, view your office’s handling of a case against a company with which you have this type of relationship as an inexcusable conflict of interest. That is why I am writing today to urge you to recuse yourself and the Office of the Attorney General from any further proceedings involving Star Scientific and to appoint outside special counsel to represent Virginians in this matter.

Your office has publicly sought to downplay any discussion of a potential conflict of interest in the handling of this case. However, even if the abnormally slow response to this case has nothing to do with your relationship with Star Scientific and Jonnie Williams, appointing outside counsel to pursue this case will give Virginians the confidence they deserve that you and your staff are dedicated to protecting our Commonwealth’s sterling reputation for transparency and accountability.

Thank you for your consideration of this matter, I hope you will act swiftly to do away with even the appearance of impropriety so that this case can move forward and Virginia taxpayers can see this matter resolved properly.

Sincerely,
Delegate David Toscano
House Democratic Leader

Update: The Washington Post published an article on this topic March 30th.

Cuccinelli has consistently put his own political interests ahead of Virginia children and taxpayers

As Ken Cuccinelli moves from full-time to part-time Attorney General while still drawing his full-time salary, it is arguable that perhaps he can do less harm if he is on the job for fewer hours. But keep in mind that he is using his time away from work to campaign to be Governor of Virginia, where he will expand his influence. He has already wasted Virginia taxpayers’ money and time closing down women’s clinics with useless requirements, suing the federal government over Obamacare, and pursuing a UVA professor to silence research on climate change. Now he is pursuing his political goals on the clock in a whole different way: Virginians are paying him to be Attorney General while he campaigns to be Governor. In this video he is 40 minutes late for a meeting in the interest of Virginia children and schools, out campaigning when he should be taking care of business:

Ken Cuccinelli has not served us well as Attorney General, he is now drawing full-time pay and working part time, and he would not do us any good as Governor.