Sunday, September 15, 2013

Why Ken Cuccinelli can't escape his scandals

It was a hell of a week for Ken Cuccinelli. On Tuesday September 10th, Ken Cuccinelli gave a donation of about $18,900 to a charity related to one of his donors (and one of his staffers, whose father is the donor in question) and then he gave a series of interviews to the friendliest media outlets he could find: in print, the Richmond Times Dispatch; in broadcast, Ryan Nobles (probably the most openly biased person pretending to be a journalist in Virginia right now), and in the blogosphere, Bearing Drift. The message put out by each of these outlets was much the same: Cuccinelli's donation put an "end" to the Star Scientific scandal, that now Cuccinelli could put the scandal "behind" him.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Ken Cuccinelli can never escape from his scandals, and I will tell you why. It all goes back to Cuccinelli's decision not to resign in February or March, and the subsequent conflicts of interest that arose from the Chef scandal, Giftgate, and Consol Energy. It's as simple as this: Cuccinelli can give back or donate whatever he likes--as long as he has conflicts of interest the taxpayers of Virginia will have to pay outside counsel to perform the duties of the Attorney General that he himself cannot perform because of his conflicts of interest.

Whatever Ken Cuccinelli's donation may or may not have done, it most assuredly did not remove a single one of Cuccinelli's conflicts of interest.

At the time I write this, the Commonwealth of Virginia has been billed for more than $240,000 in legal bills as the direct result of Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's many conflicts of interest. Many hundreds of thousands of dollars more in bills have been incurred, though not yet billed. These bills are going to continue to arrive right through the election and indeed, are likely to keep arriving long after Ken Cuccinelli and Bob McDonnell have left office.

Ken Cuccinelli can't escape the consequences of his past actions; he cannot escape his conflicts of interest. every time another bill is released, the story of Ken Cuccinelli's many conflicts of interest will be splashed across the newspapers of the Commonwealth of Virginia--even the Richmond Times Dispatch won't be able to avoid publishing them.

Ken Cuccinelli can't escape his scandals because he can't reverse his conflicts of interest--and the legal bills that come with them.

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