Wednesday, August 21, 2013
Ken Cuccinelli may have admitted to a violation of the Hobbs Act
If Ken Cuccinelli actively solicited/asked for gifts for his personal use (not political donations) from a company or company CEO with litigation in front of Cuccinelli's office, then he may have violated the Hobbs Act. Jonnie Williams' company Star Scientific has a $707,000 tax dispute with the State of Virginia--a case that was parked for two years after Cuccinelli received personal gifts from Williams, some of which Cuccinelli has admitted to soliciting--and some of which Cuccinelli did not properly report at the time he received them. Cuccinelli ultimate;y had to recuse himself--and his office--from the case due to his conflicts of interest.
Here's the thing: Cuccinelli's actions would not have violated Virginia state law--which is pathetically weak--but by admitting to Michael Herring that he asked for $4,500 in gifts for his own personal use from a company or company CEO with litigation in front of Cuccinelli's office, Cuccinelli may have admitted to having violated the Hobbs Act's ban against extortionate acts by public officials acting under the color of right.
In trying to talk his way out of Virginia state law liability, Cuccinelli make have walked straight into admitting a violation of federal law.
I am definitely not an expert in the law of federal prosecution of public corruption, but this certainly looks like something deserving of review by a U.S. Attorney's office.
Hat tip to Miles Grant of Blue Virginia.