And even though he's a Tea Party nut job and his Lt. Governor nominee, E.W. Jackson (R. VA) is even more bat shit crazy, Ken Cuccinelli's (R. VA) chance to become Governor could be all over thanks to McDonnell:Suddenly under legal and political siege, McDonnell is the subject of one of the swiftest downfalls in recent memory: once known as a spotlessly clean, law-and-order politician, the governor stands accused of questionable financial dealings that range from the tacky to the jaw-dropping.
The McDonnell saga has gripped Richmond – and increasingly Washington – as a cascade of embarrassing disclosures have buffeted the governor and his wife, Maureen. A series of Washington Post stories have documented their cozy relationship with a donor, Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams, who gave financial gifts to the McDonnell family including a cumulative $120,000 in the form of a check to Maureen McDonnell and a cash infusion to a family company.
With a federal investigation well underway, downcast McDonnell allies say they see little hope that the governor’s reputation will recover, and some privately express doubt that he’ll be able to serve out his term. They describe a pervasive mood of shock and gloom throughout the governor’s extended political family. - Politico, 7/12/13
The Washington Post offers a timeline of Cuccinelli's involvement with Star Scientific. Here's the part that stick out:Indeed, all of this hullabaloo might well have been shrugged off as the poor judgment of one grabby but term-limited politician, were it not for the resulting discovery that Jonnie Williams had another good friend in Richmond: Ken Cuccinelli.
Yep. Turns out Virginia’s AG has enjoyed Williams’s largesse as well. Admittedly, his gifts were nowhere near as nice as McDonnell’s. The monetary value of Williams’s gifts to Cucinelli has been estimated at a comparatively measly $18,000, some $5,000 of which the AG initially failed to disclose. Still, it’s the thought that counts, right? And one can only presume that Cuccinelli and Williams’s friendship will become that much closer if the AG gets promoted to governor. Further cementing the friendship, Cuccinelli has bought several thousand shares of Star Scientific since 2010, the reporting of which he has, at times, been a bit lax about. But, hey, he’s a busy guy. Who has time to worry about complying with all those legal niceties?Thus far, most of the heat has fallen on McDonnell’s entanglements with Williams. But the bigger question for the GOP is how far the ripples will be felt. “This may harm Ken,” says Jeannemarie Devolites Davis, a former state senator (and wife of Tom Davis). “It may color people’s perspective of him.”
Having the current and aspiring Republican governors caught up in an ethics tangle could prove particularly helpful to Democratic nominee Terry McAullife, whose sketchy behavior at the Democratic National Committee back in the Clinton era was something Republicans were eager to remind voters about. “There’s no question that Cuccinelli’s people have saved some bombs to drop on McAuliffe in the fall,” says Larry Sabato, head of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics. “What does this do? It neutralizes those. Instead of McAuliffe being the corrupt candidate, at worst he’ll say, ‘See, we’re both corrupt.’” - The Daily Beast, 7/15/13
And here's a little more insight:2013
Cuccinelli files his statement of economic interest for 2012, including his stock holdings in Star Scientific. However, he does not include his June vacation at Williams's home, another oversight, he says.
In March, Star Scientific informs investors that it had received subpoenas in January and February as part of a government securities investigation. The company’s stock begins to slide.
In April, Cuccinelli announces he has asked outside counsel to handle the Star tax suit in place of the Office of the Attorney General. He maintains his office has no conflict of interest. He sells his remaining Star stock and announces he is amending his disclosure forms for 2012 and 2011 to reflect an additional $5,100 in gifts from Williams. He says the omissions were inadvertent but asks the Richmond Commonwealth Attorney to conduct an independent review of his disclosures.
In May, a judge appoints a special prosecutor totake over the chef case from Cuccinelli. Outside counsel now defending the state against Star’s tax suit announce the two sides have agreed to a December trial date to settle the matter, the first movement in the case in more than 18 months. - Washington Post, 7/4/13
Hence why Cuccinelli is doing everything he can to distance himself from McDonnell:Cuccinelli also initially failed to fully disclose the gifts he received from Williams — omissions he called “inadvertent.” Williams provided the attorney general with free lodging at his homes, $6,711 worth of supplements, transportation to New York City and Kentucky, and an elaborate Thanksgiving dinner. All totaled, Cuccinelli reported accepting at least $18,893 in gifts from Williams between 2009 and 2012.
Star Scientific also may have benefited from having Cuccinelli as attorney general. In 2010, Cuccinelli issued an official advisory opinion stating that the use of electronic cigarettes does not qualify as smoking and is thus permissible in public places. Cuccinelli has denied any conflict of interest, though the ruling was a boon to companies in the e-cig business — including Star Scientific. Additionally, his office has essentially ignored a court case brought by the company in July 2011 — though he claims that was “nothing unusual.” Star Scientific is challenging a $1.7 million tax bill, which remains unpaid while the case languishes. He has reportedly refused to say whether he ever discussed the case with Williams. Though his office initially denied any conflict of interest, he later recused himself.
It is unclear why Cuccinelli would invest so heavily in a struggling company. But his decision to put so much of his money into a tobacco company, along with his record opposing Obamacare, public smoking bans, HIV/AIDS and sex education, and birth control, renders dubious his campaign promise to empower families “to make the best possible health care decisions.” - Think Progress, 7/10/13
Cuccinelli can run from McDonnell but the facts can't hide from the voters. We can't let Cuccinelli run away from this and Virginia Democrats aren't going to let that happen. Terry McAuliffe (D. VA) may not be our ideal candidate but he has a great shot at taking out Cuccinelli. If you would like to donate or get involved with McAuliffe's campaign before the election , which is November 5th, please do so here:“What we’ve all been seeing is very painful for Virginia, and it’s completely inconsistent with Virginia’s very reserved traditions,” Cuccinelli said in a statement, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports.
“Right now there are two investigations running, one of which began with my referral, and we need to let those play out,” he continued. “However, all of this emphasizes the need for clearer and faster disclosures that cover the whole family, as well as a cap on the size and types of gifts.” - Salon, 7/11/13