Thursday, January 31, 2013

Is Ken Cuccinelli's campaign driver being paid by Virginia taxpayers?

Last week the Richmond Times Dispatch breathlessly reported how Ken Cuccinelli helped a trucker who wasn't aware her rig had caught fire. In their eagerness to do a puff piece on Cuccinelli, the Richmond Times Dispatch missed a few small details, like who exactly is Cuccinelli's driver and who pays for his salary and benefits?

The RTD helpfully provides the young man's name--Cory Chenard--but no other details. Thankfully there is this thing called Google, and when I googled "Cory Chenard," Google took me straight to Mr. Chenard's Linked In profile. It's an interesting profile for a driver, so much so I've saved a copy of it and I'm placing the images in this blog post . . . in fact, here it is:

I know, I know: they are kind of hard to read, but if you click on them they enlarge to a much more readable size. Take a moment and read over the profile and ask yourself the following question: is this the profile of a professional driver or chauffeur, or is this the profile of an experienced campaign operative?

Here's some things that leap out at me:

1. Mr. Chenard describes himself as a "Political Entrepreneur," not as a driver or chauffeur.

2. He lists a wide variety of political job experiences, but no driving experience.

3. He does not list driving or having a chauffeur's license--maybe he has one, but he doesn't list one.

If you ask me, this is the profile of a political campaign worker serving as the candidate's "body guy," a kind of on-the-road assistant. Ken Cuccinelli's day job (which he shamelessly neglects in order to campaign) is being the Attorney General of Virginia. Is there anything in Mr. Chenard's profile that suggests he is competent to offer Cuccinelli advice on complex legal matters? No, there isn't, so what kind of advice and assistance does it appear that Mr. Chenard is there to provide?

He looks to me like an experienced and pretty well-qualified campaign worker, which begs the central question of this post: why is the State of Virginia paying one of Ken Cuccinelli's campaign workers a salary and benefits?

Ken Cuccinelli owes it to the taxpayers of Virginia to figure out what portion of Mr. Chenard's time is spent driving him to campaign events and pay the state back for using a state employee's time to benefit his campaign.

Some may ask why Cuccinelli needs a driver to chauffeur him around; allow me to clue those of you who have never worked on a campaign in. Cuccinelli needs a driver so he can convert drive time into "call time," time set aside to call and solicit potential donors. Cuccinelli is almost certainly using a state employee to transport himself to campaign events and to help with political fundraising, all on the taxpayer's dime.

Is it any wonder that some people are calling him "Moochinelli"?

A final note to the mainstream media: steal this story! Go find find the answers to the questions I've posed. I don't have the time, the connections, the training, and the access you do. These are questions that need to be posed, so get out there and get some answers.

UPDATE: Cooch "The Mooch" used another state employee to ghost write his book!

Meet Brian J. Gottstein.

I hope the State of Virginia gets its fair share of the royalties.

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