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Gov.-elect McDonnell: Still working as lawyer

Anita Kumar

Back in the spring, we told you that Bob McDonnell joined a law firm after resigning as state attorney general to run for governor.

It turns out that McDonnell, now the governor-elect, is still earning a paycheck from that same Virginia Beach firm, Huff, Poole & Mahoney.

McDonnell and his law firm would not disclose his salary, though it's clear he does little work there since he has been working full-time toward Inauguration Day. Virginia law requires only that candidates identify companies that pay them more than $10,000 a year.

McDonnell (R) has said that he is trying to balance the need to support his family with running for governor. If candidates can't bring home a paycheck while campaigning, he has said, the only people who would run for office would be those who do not understand the financial struggles of their constituents.

"Candidates for public office, and elected officials waiting to be sworn into office, have bills to pay and tuition checks to write," said Tucker Martin, McDonnell's spokesman.

This type of employment arrangement violates no laws and has for many years been a commonly accepted practice in Virginia political circles, though some ethics experts have said the private work could create a conflict of interest.

Tim Kaine (D) was serving as lieutenant governor -- a part-time job that doesn't pay much -- when he campaigned for governor and later during his transition. The outgoing governor said he was able to avoid having another job because his wife, Anne Holton, was employed as a judge and he had earned a substantial amount of money as a lawyer in a lawsuit settlement years earlier.

Mark Warner (D), a venture capitalist who co-founded Nextel and is reportedly worth $200 million, did not work during the period before he moved into the governor's mansion in 2002. Jim Gilmore (R) resigned as state attorney general and joined the Richmond law firm of LeClair Ryan while campaigning in 1997, and worked there until he was sworn in as governor. George Allen (R), a lawyer, did not work while campaigning for governor and during his transition in 1993.

McDonnell returned in February to the same law firm where he had worked for 14 years while serving in the General Assembly. The medium-size firm, which does no lobbying, advertises a variety of legal services, including personal injury, commercial and administrative law for individuals, small businesses, banks, large corporations and government agencies. Clients include Cessna Aircraft, Hudson Insurance Group and Sentara Healthcare.

McDonnell has said that he resigned as attorney general because he did not want to spend taxpayers' money while campaigning full time but that accepting money from a private firm is different. He said he needs to earn a salary to support his wife and five children.

The firm lists McDonnell as one of its 23 lawyers, but the voice mail at his law firm office still redirects callers to his former campaign headquarters. The law firm's Web site congratulates "Huff, Poole & Mahoney's own...Governor-elect Bob McDonnell."

You may recognize the firm's name because McDonnell recently announced that Glen Huff, the founder and a co-managing shareholder of the firm, would be a senior advisor in his transition to governor.

By Anita Kumar  |  November 25, 2009; 3:04 PM ET
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Election 2009 , George F. Allen , James Gilmore III , Mark Warner , Robert F. McDonnell , Timothy M. Kaine  
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Comments

Governor-Elect McDonnell resigned his State Elected AG position in order to run for Governor . . . Our Part-Time Governor Tim Kaine took the State's money and ran.

Neither action was against the law, but one of them sure looks like a scoundrel.

Posted by: WeThePeopleofVirginia | November 25, 2009 11:08 PM | Report abuse

you're right, that McDonnell character up and quit before his job was done. What a scoundrel!

Posted by: emustudent | November 26, 2009 12:38 AM | Report abuse

So what? If the Post wants to advocate that the Governor elect should get a stipend, feel free. In this world, people have to bring home a paycheck so they can feed families, pay mortgage, etc. Surely that applies to governors elect? Go cover something real.

Posted by: ggreenbaum | November 26, 2009 7:59 AM | Report abuse

Well the liberal fascists that own, manage, and report for the now confirmed corrupt left-wing POST really have it in fo the Conservative Republican from Virgina don't they?

POST.....you can you to hell.

The left-wing POST backed Deeds from the primaries on and are very upset that they couldn't manulate the fine folks in Virgina this election cycle.

One thing is for SURE the liberal fascists at the POST will be smearing and slandering and attacking this Conservative Republican for the next four years.

.....You Americans will have to make sure the POST's attacks don't contaminate you..

POST = dirty dishonest liberal progaganda outlet for the DNC and NO ONE can dispute that FACT

Posted by: allenridge | November 26, 2009 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Let's talk about Kaine who's never in the state and spends all his time doing the bidding of the DNC while the good people of Virginia are paying him.

Republicans took Virginia by a landslide. Time for you to get over it and you'd better get used to it, too. It's just the beginning . . .

Posted by: JackESpratt | November 26, 2009 11:00 AM | Report abuse

How much can he earn on the side as governor? He could earn lots just to kibbutz.

Posted by: blasmaic | November 26, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

This is stupid - - I am a Democrat and I think this is a stupid article. So what - - the man is simply the Governor elect and until he is sworn in, he can have a paying job. This is exactly why the WashPost is in dire straits now - - due to publishing junk like this.

Posted by: ddraper81 | November 26, 2009 11:36 AM | Report abuse

So what?

Posted by: gary4books | November 26, 2009 1:16 PM | Report abuse

I am missing something here. What ethical issues are involved here since he is not the Gov. yet? He is not double dipping? Is there a salary for the Governor-Elect? What do you think he should do to earn a living? Beg?

Why is Washington Post having a column to discuss the non-issue? Is Washington Post still miffed that Deeds lost?

Posted by: philly3 | November 26, 2009 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: JackESpratt
Republicans took Virginia by a landslide. Time for you to get over it and you'd better get used to it, too. It's just the beginning . . .
------------
How about you Reps attacking the other side when you lost the election in 2008. I sense a double standard here.

Posted by: beeker25 | November 26, 2009 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: philly3
What do you think he should do to earn a living? Beg?
------------
Do you read that he has a wife? Guess not, the wife can work just the rest of us do unless McDonnell is a typical religious nut who forbade his wife to work...Just like in the these he wrote in college.

Posted by: beeker25 | November 26, 2009 5:10 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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