Gov.-elect McDonnell: Still working as lawyer
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.
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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