Monday, July 29, 2013

Ken Cuccinelli's conflict of interest could cost Virginia taxpayers more than half a million dollars

When the Governor of Virginia has a legal issue, the Attorney General of Virginia is supposed to serve as his legal counsel. Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli can't or won't do his job because he has a conflict of interest: like Bob McDonnell, he too took a great deal of cash and gifts from Star Scientific's bagman/CEO Jonnie Williams. So, even while Ken Cuccinelli collects a paycheck from Virginia's taxpayers for a job he can't do due to his past shady dealings, Virginia's taxpayers also have to pick up the bill for outside counsel to do Cuccinelli's job for him!

Governor Bob McDonnell's outside counsel, Anthony F. Troy of the law firm Eckhart, Seaman, Cherin & Mellott has presented the taxpayers of Virginia with their first bill for just one month of work: for $53,000!!!

From the Richmond Times Dispatch:
The firm of Gov. Bob McDonnell’s state-appointed attorney has billed the state $53,530 for roughly a month’s work.

That covers the initial services of former Attorney General Anthony F. Troy and some other staffers from his firm. Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli appointed Troy to represent McDonnell in legal matters related to a criminal case alleging embezzlement by the former chef at the Executive Mansion.

The appointment, effective April 26, was made necessary by the "practical conflict previously noted by this office" in the case of the former chef, Todd Schneider, according to the appointment letter from Cuccinelli’s office to Troy.
Read "McDonnell's appointed lawyer bills state for $53,000" by Olympia Meola in the Richmond Times Dispatch.

This is outrageous, and it's the direct consequence of Ken Cuccinelli's own ethical lapses. Troy's bill covers about one month of work, May 2013. If Bob McDonnell stays in office though January and Troy's firm bills at the same rate for those eight months that's eight times $53,000 for a total of $424,000!!! Add the $53,000 Virginia's taxpayers are already on the hook for, and that's $477,000!!!

But of course there's no guarantee that subsequent bills will be just $53,000--if Bob McDonnell is indicted by a federal grand jury, these bills could spin wildly out of control. All of it to be paid for by Virginia's taxpayers; all of it because Ken Cuccinelli is too ethically challenged to do the job he still collects a paycheck for, even though he doesn't do the job.

Star Scientific and Giftgate aren't just problems for Ken Cuccinelli: they are an expensive drain on Virginia's taxpayers.

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