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Salahi's membership on Va. Tourism Board to be examined

Rosalind Helderman

Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, who appointed now famous White House party crasher Tareq Salahi to the Virginia Tourism Board in 2006, said today that he has asked Secretary of the Commonwealth Kate Hanley to reach out to the Salahis.

Hanley is in charge of the appointment process and would be responsible for helping to determine if Salahi should lose his spot on the tourism board.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for Gov.-elect Bob McDonnell confirms he too knows the Salahis and that his wife Maureen, a former Washington Redskin cheerleader, has attended cheerleader reunion events with Michaele. (Michaele Salahi claimed she was also a cheerleading alum, but a spokeswoman for the cheerleaders has said no record exists of her participation with the group.)

Kaine told reporters today that he appointed Tareq Salahi to the board as his previous term on the Virginia Winery Board was concluding.

"The guy is a promoter, I'll say that for him," Kaine said. "If somebody had said to me, 'Hey, some Virginians tried to crash a party.' There are 7.5 million Virginians. I think might have been able to guess it within about five seconds."

Kaine said he thinks the allegations against the Salahis are "a very serious issue."

"I've asked my Secretary of the Commonwealth to reach out to Tareq and talk to him about it. I'm just going to leave those conversations where they are now. But any allegations that someone has breached security protocol going to an event, even going to a social event, without permission, is serious," he said.

Kaine said he knows the Salahis fairly well. Their Oasis Winery was one of several stops on a vineyard tour of Fauquier held by the county's Democratic Committee during Kaine's campaign for governor in 2005. Kaine said he also saw the couple at a party in London when he visited England as part of the preparations for Virginia's celebration of the 400th anniversary of Jamestown in 2007.

He chatted with them most recently as as he and his son were leaving the Congressional Black Caucus dinner a few months ago. Kaine said he was unaware at the time that the couple had been escorted from that event for lack of an invitation.

McDonnell's spokesman Tucker Martin confirmed McDonnell and his wife Maureen have met the Salahis "multiple times." The Oasis Winery gave McDonnell $5,000 for his inaugural committee when he was elected attorney general in 2005 and McDonnell has also visited the winery.

These are just the latest Salahi connections to emerge in Virginia. Talking Points Memo has has also reported the couple are good friends with Del. Dave Albo. And Kevin Hall, spokesman to U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, has said Warner knows the couple but did not attend their wedding, much less deliver a speech their, as they had claimed.

By Rosalind Helderman  |  December 1, 2009; 4:09 PM ET
Categories:  Mark Warner , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman , Timothy M. Kaine  
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Have all the copy editors been fired?

has said Warner knows the couple but did not attend their wedding, much less deliver a speech their, as they had claimed.

speech their???

Posted by: laffingby | December 1, 2009 5:54 PM | Report abuse

Who knew? The Commonwealth of Virginia had an Official Information Minister, let alone two: Tareq and Michaele Salahi.

Think: Ilovetheiraqiinformationministerdotcom

Posted by: Loviedarling | December 5, 2009 6:23 AM | Report abuse

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