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Virginia Politics Blog: March 21, 2010 - March 27, 2010

Updated: Group opposing health care orders DNC to stop using its slogan

Americans for Prosperity, a national anti-tax group that has been lobbying against the federal health care overhaul for months, demanded the Democratic National Committee stop using the slogan "hands off my health care" in millions of dollars of radio ads, the group told us today. In a cease and desist letter sent late Friday, the group told the DNC and its chairman, former Virginia governor Timothy M. Kaine, that AFP has been using the phrase since May 2009 and filed a U.S. trademark application in March, though it was not finalized until this week. "We appreciate the DNC's acknowledgement that our message resonates with the American people," AFP President Tim Phillips said. "But we can't have our activists - or the DNC's - confused about whose project they're talking about." For the past year, groups opposing the federal health care overhaul, including AFP, have used the "hands off our health...

By Anita Kumar  |  March 27, 2010; 10:58 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Timothy M. Kaine  
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Virginia's Air Pollution Control Board rebukes Cuccinelli over EPA lawsuit

Virginia's Air Pollution Control Board voted today to direct its chairman to tell the Environmental Protection Agency that Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli did not act in their behalf when he filed a lawsuit challenging the EPA's regulation of greenhouse gases last month. The seven-member board voted 4-3 at its meeting today. Members were appointed by former Democratic governor Tim Kaine. "The attorney general is the lead defender of agencies so it just seemed appropriate as the state organization that makes policy and regulation on air pollution to make our voice heard," said Vivian Thomson, a board member and a professor of environmenal policy at the University of Virginia....

By Anita Kumar  |  March 26, 2010; 6:52 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Ken Cuccinelli , Timothy M. Kaine  
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McDonnell forms higher education commission

Gov. Bob McDonnell has established a commission on higher education reform, innovation and investment (for those of you who are counting, this would be executive order number nine). Among other things, the commission will be charged with trying to Increase the number of in-state Virginians enrolling in colleges, preparing students for fields such as science, technology, engineering, math and health care, and making college more affordable. The commission will be comprised of 30 members, het to be named. It will submit a final report to McDonnell by Nov. 30. "It is imperative we do more to expand access and affordability at Virginia's colleges and universities,'' McDonnell said in a statement. "Our institutions of higher learning are known worldwide for their innovation, research and quality. Here in Virginia they are job-creators and economic drivers. We must ensure they continue to operate at the highest levels, while remaining accessible to Virginia students."...

By Anita Kumar  |  March 26, 2010; 5:25 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Robert F. McDonnell  
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McDonnell names deputy secretary for rural economic development

Gov. Bob McDonnell repeatedly pledged during the campaign to appoint a state official specifically devoted to the needs of rural Virginia. It looks like he has followed through on the promise. McDonnell named Mary Rae Carter on Friday as deputy secretary of commerce and trade for rural economic development, the secretary of commerce's senior liaison to rural Virginia. Carter, based in Franklin County, will be tasked with promoting economic development in rural parts of the state, which have been hit particularly hard in the economic downturn. The southern Virginia native has held various board positions with rural economic development groups, including the Virginia Economic Development Partnership and the Center for Rural Virginia. "This job has one simple objective: Bring more good-paying jobs to rural Virginia. I look forward to getting started," she said in a statement....

By Rosalind Helderman  |  March 26, 2010; 4:32 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman  
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With abortion off the table, Democratic senator switches position on Virginia health bill

Democratic Sen. Chuck Colgan (Prince William), one of five Democrats who supported a state law prohibiting an individual health insurance mandate in Virginia,says that if the Senate were voting today, he likely would vote against the measure. Colgan, who opposes abortion, said at the time that he supported the Virginia bill as a way to oppose federal health care reform, which he believed then would lead to federal funding for abortion. But Colgan said he has been satisfied by the executive order barring federal funding for abortion signed by President Obama this week and that he no longer has any abortion concerns with the federal bill. "At the time, it was a good vote. But If abortion had been removed, I would have voted differently," Colgan said....

By Rosalind Helderman  |  March 26, 2010; 2:24 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  General Assembly 2010 , House of Delegates , Ken Cuccinelli , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman , State Senate  
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UPDATED: Va. corrections department sticks with gay policy, despite Cuccinelli concerns

The Democratic-appointed Virginia Board of Corrections has adopted a resolution reaffirming a nondiscrimination policy that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, overruling concerns expressed by a representative from Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's office. The wording of the resolution was modeled on an an existing Department of Corrections policy, specifically adopted last year to bring the department into line with Gov. Tim Kaine's Executive Order Number 1, which prohibited discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. That would be the same executive order that Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) has essentially repealed, arguing it went beyond the authority granted to the executive office by the General Assembly. The board agreed the Corrections department shall "make all employment decisions based on one's merits and qualifications and specifically prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, sex, color, national origin, religion, retaliation, age, political affiliation, sexual orientation, veteran status, and person with disabilities,...

By Rosalind Helderman  |  March 26, 2010; 11:31 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (32)
Categories:  Ken Cuccinelli , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman  
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Police say gunfire that hit Cantor's office was random

The bullet that hit U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor's campaign office in downtown Richmond early Tuesday was random, Richmond police spokesman Gene Lepley said this morning. "It is a stray bullet as part of random gunfire,'' Lepley said. Police said they have no suspects. Cantor's office declined comment. Cantor announced Thursday at a news conference in Washington that his office had been fired at. Police confirmed that, saying that a bullet struck a window, landing on the floor about a foot from the window. The round struck with enough force to break the window but did not penetrate the blinds. The bullet triggered an alarm and the police were notified immediatedly. Cantor's office is in a small building several blocks from Capitol Square. It has several small offices in it. There are no Cantor signs on the doors or windows. Various Republican candidates have occupied the offices in the historic Reagan...

By Anita Kumar  |  March 26, 2010; 10:38 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (43)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Eric Cantor  
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Maine GOP candidate cites McDonnell, Virginia in fundraising letter

Steve Abbott, one of the many candidates competing in a crowded field for the GOP nomination for governor of Maine this summer, sent out a fundraising letter this week. The pitch? Bob McDonnell and Virginia. Abbott, former chief of staff to Maine Sen. Susan Collins, criticized Democrats in his home state -- the so-called paper manufacturer of the world -- for allowing fellow Republican McDonnell to lure Mercury Paper to Virginia with its 150 new jobs and $21-million investment. "Governor McDonnell made it clear in his statement. 'As Governor I will ensure that Virginia is the best state in which to open and grow a business.' '' Abbott wrote. "This is what Maine is up against. States like Virginia have a dramatically different attitude toward business, and they are thriving as a result. We can't stand back and watch these kinds of jobs go to other states, we need to...

By Anita Kumar  |  March 26, 2010; 9:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Election 2010 , Robert F. McDonnell  
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Greenpeace plays matchmaker for 'Bob McD'

(Cross-posted from the Post Carbon blog.) Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) is the latest target of Greenpeace's PolluterWatch campaign, as the group launched a new dating ad spoof mocking the governor's push for offshore oil drilling. The PolluterHarmony video, a takeoff on a popular dating service, shows an oil executive named "Rex" (with an ExxonMobile mug by his side) discussing being matched with his multiple love interests--including dictators from the Mideast and Latin America, and a guy named "Bob McD" from Virginia. "Bob pops up and winks at me and I said, 'No way, this guy's way too clean cut for me,'" Rex recounts. Alluding to the fact that oil companies are just as interested in getting oil from overseas as from offshore of the U.S., the video includes a line from Rex in which he says of Bob, "He's OK with open relationships, no problem. Right now it's hot...

By Christopher Dean Hopkins  |  March 25, 2010; 7:13 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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No 'rampant discrimination' against gay employees to argue for law, McDonnell says

Gov. Bob McDonnell said today that Virginia does not need to write protections for gays and lesbians into state statute because he has not seen evidence of discrimination in the state workforce. Breaking with the practice of his Democratic predecessors, McDonnell did not include sexual orientation in an executive order he issued barring discrimination in the state workforce shortly after taking office. He argued that he could not include protections for gays without authority from the General Assembly, which has repeatedly declined to adopt a law on the issue. But in past interviews, McDonnell has never been clear about whether he supported the General Assembly taking action. He told Post columnist Bob McCartney that he might, in fact, sign such a law if passed. But asked today on the "Ask the Governor" program at Richmond's WRVA radio whether he would sign such legislation, he said, "I don't know that we...

By Rosalind Helderman  |  March 25, 2010; 6:13 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
Categories:  General Assembly 2010 , House of Delegates , Ken Cuccinelli , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman , State Senate  
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Richmond police investigate shot fired at Cantor's office

Richmond police are investigating a shot fired at U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor's downtown office on Main Street early Tuesday when no one was in the building. A police statement this afternoon said that a preliminary investigation shows that a bullet struck a window, landing on the floor about a foot from the window. The round struck with enough force to break the window but did not penetrate the blinds. Cantor's office is in a small building several blocks from the heart of downtown, near the historic Jefferson Hotel. It has several small offices in it, of which Cantor's is one.There are no Cantor signs on the doors or windows. Various Republican candidates have occupied the offices in the historic Reagan Building through the years, including former governor Jim Gilmore. At a news conference earlier today, Cantor angrily lashed out at Democratic leaders for their handling of reported threats against members...

By Anita Kumar  |  March 25, 2010; 4:04 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (33)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Eric Cantor  
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McDonnell announces new ABC commissioners, other appointments

Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell has appointed Neal Insley and Wayne Ozmore to the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission. Insley, who will serve as chairman, previously served as special counsel at LeClair Ryan, where he was in charge of their hospitality law industry team. Ozmore served as senior criminal investigator in the attorney general's office. The three ABC commission jobs are widely considered some of the most plum posts in all of state government. ABC commissioners make roughly $120,000 a year. The jobs are purely political appointments -- meaning they are often rewards for a long service to a party or governor. We previously told you that Sandy Canada was appointed to the board. She served as a fundraiser for McDonnell and other Republicans and was an ABC commissioner for former Governor Jim Gilmore from 1998-2002. That means all three commissioners appointed by former Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine are gone --...

By Anita Kumar  |  March 25, 2010; 3:57 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , John McCain , Robert F. McDonnell , Timothy M. Kaine  
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Dueling petitions on health care collect thousands of signatures

In a sign of the heightened emotions surrounding the health-care debate, competing petitions supporting and opposing Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the federal health-care bill have each collected thousands of names in just a few days. Cuccinelli tweeted about the petition to support his efforts Tuesday. By early Thursday afternoon, the "Stop the Mandate, Support Liberty Now" petition had more than 6,900 signatures. Meanwhile, the Democratic Party of Virginia put out a letter to supporters this morning indicating that more than 8,300 people signed the party's petition opposing Cuccinelli's lawsuit since they began circulating it online Wednesday. Online petitions tend to be more a measure of how effectively the petitioning organization uses social media and other Internet tools to publicize the petition. But the number of names on both pages is a sign of the passion surrounding the issue....

By Rosalind Helderman  |  March 25, 2010; 2:57 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Ken Cuccinelli , Rosalind Helderman  
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Eric Cantor accuses Democrats of 'fanning flames' on member threats

(Cross-posted from the 44 blog) House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) angrily lashed out at Democratic leaders for their handling of reported threats against members of Congress Thursday, accusing them of "dangerously fanning the flames" by blaming the GOP and confiding that he has also been the recipient of threats. Concerns about security for members of Congress burst into the spotlight this week after several lawmakers -- including U.S. Rep. Tom Perriello (D-Va.) -- reported death threats or incidents of vandalism directed at them and their offices because of their support for the health-care overhaul legislation. Some Democrats have suggested that Republicans may have encouraged such behavior by acting rowdily during the weekend House debate on the reform bill. At a press conference Thursday, Cantor said he and his fellow Republicans deserved no blame for any of the reported incidents. "Let me be clear -- I do not condone violence,"...

By Christopher Dean Hopkins  |  March 25, 2010; 1:34 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
 
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Now on Facebook

Meet hundreds of other Virginia politics junkies and discuss the issues of the day at our new page on Facebook. FB.init("878d647d76fbacdc128a67fbdcad5877");Washington Post -- Virginia Politics on Facebook...

By Christopher Dean Hopkins  |  March 25, 2010; 1:29 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Republican rival condemns threat to Perriello's brother's home

Republican Laurence Verga, who is running to replace Democratic U.S. Rep. Tom Perriello (D), this morning condemned the cut gas line and threatening letter left at Perriello's brother's home earlier this week. "Disagreements over policy should never be resolved by violence but through civil discussion and elections,'' Verga said in a statement. Federal and local authorities are investigating the severing of a gas line at the home of Perriello's brother in Charlottesville after his address was posted online by a tea party activist upset about Perriello's vote in favor of the federal health care bill. A threatening letter was also sent to the home. Read our previous report on Perriello and a full story on violence against members of Congress. "While it is understandable that people may become angry over the discourse and results of an issue debate, it is unacceptable to respond with violence,'' Verga wrote. "Representative Perriello did...

By Anita Kumar  |  March 25, 2010; 10:27 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  2010 Virginia Congressional Races , Anita Kumar , Tom Perriello  
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George Mason board adopts resolution to "reaffirm" gay policy

George Mason University's board has decided to "reaffirm" its policy prohibiting discrimination against gays, despite Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's contention that it did not have the authority to set such a policy.

By Rosalind Helderman  |  March 24, 2010; 7:04 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Ken Cuccinelli , Rosalind Helderman  
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McDonnell and Cuccinelli vs. Democrats on health care, continued

Gov. Bob McDonnell and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, both Republicans, today defended Virginia's lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the federal health-care law filed Tuesday. McDonnell said that as attorney general he and former Democratic governor Tim Kaine sued President George W. Bush's administration several times, including once to get Virginia removed from the national energy transmission corridor. "This is something attorneys general do on a regular basis, Democrat and Republican, with the consent of their governors, to discharge their constitutional duty,'' he said. Earlier today, Democrats filed a public information request with the attorney general's office, asking for a list of attorneys who have worked on the case and how much time they have expended, as well as the attorney general's schedule. They are trying to prove Cuccinelli is wasting taxpayer money on the suit. "This is going to be a frivolous lawsuit," Sen. Don McEachin said. Cuccinelli scoffed at...

By Anita Kumar  |  March 24, 2010; 6:58 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , General Assembly 2010 , House of Delegates , Ken Cuccinelli , Robert F. McDonnell , State Senate  
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Updated: FBI investigating cut gas line at Perriello's brother's home

Federal and local authorities are investigating the severing of a gas line at the home of U.S. Rep. Tom Perriello's brother in Charlottesville after his address was posted online by a tea party activist upset about Perriello's vote in favor of the federal health care bill. A threatening letter was also sent to the home yesterday. "While it is too early to say anything definitive regarding political motivations behind this act, it's never too early for political leaders to condemn threats of violence, particularly as threats to other members of Congress and their children escalate,'' Perriello (D-Va.) said in a statement. "And so I ask every member of House and Senate leadership to state unequivocally tonight that it is never OK to harm or threaten elected officials and their families with anything more than political retribution. Here in America, we settle our political differences at the ballot box." His office...

By Anita Kumar  |  March 24, 2010; 4:11 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (17)
Categories:  2010 Virginia Congressional Races , Anita Kumar , Robert F. McDonnell , Tom Perriello  
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Va. delegate joins Liberty University lawsuit on federal health care bill

Del. Kathy Byron (R-Campbell) has joined Liberty University in a lawsuit challenging the federal health care legislation that it filed just before midnight last night. Liberty University, the private Virginia school founded by the late Rev. Jerry Falwell, calls itself the largest and fastest-growing Christian university in the world. The Lynchburg-based school enrolls more than 50,000 students. "We view the government's actions this week as a frontal attack on the liberties and freedoms guaranteed to individuals by the Constitution,'' chancellor Jerry Falwell Jr. said. "Liberty University is determined to defend its students, faculty and staff against this massive expansion of government that is arrogantly being imposed on the nation against the will of the people in violation of Constitutional principles." Liberty officials argue that the university, which is self-insured, will be forced to pay a fee for each covered employee, spouse and dependent and "face many other burdensome, costly, and...

By Anita Kumar  |  March 24, 2010; 2:29 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , General Assembly 2010 , House of Delegates , Ken Cuccinelli  
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UPDATED: Think tank says 37,000 jobs to be lost from Virginia budget cuts

The Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis this morning released an analysis of the two-year budget adopted earlier by the General Assembly arguing that the budget will result in the loss of 37,000 public and private sector jobs. The non-profit group, which generally favors progressive taxation and had advocated for a budget that would close the budget shortfall through some targeted tax increases instead of entirely through cuts, said they used a econometric modeling technique to judge state, local and private sector losses due to the drop in state funding in health and education. Michael Cassidy, executive director of the group, noted 37,000 lost jobs would eclipse the 29,300 jobs Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) has said will be created through economic development spending the budget. "To have the full picture, you have to put any of those gains against the losses that are quite real and quite substancial," he said. He...

By Rosalind Helderman  |  March 24, 2010; 11:29 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  General Assembly 2010 , House of Delegates , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman , State Senate  
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UPDATED: Nixon resigning House seat to become Chief Information Officer

Del. Samuel A. Nixon Jr. (R-Chesterfield) will be resigning his seat in the House of Delegates to become Virginia's Chief Information Officer, under Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R). The new job for Nixon, a tech expert who works with major corporations to overhaul their computer systems, has been in the works and the rumor mill for some time, but the position is now official and likely will be announced later today, according to a source with knowledge of the appointment Nixon also was considered for the job of Secretary of Technology. His new position will make him directly responsible for straightening out the state's troubled information technology contract with Northrop Grumman. Nixon's resignation will set up a special election for a new delegate in the House, the General Assembly's fourth special since January (first, second, third. CORRECTION: After the special election to replace Nixon, there will have been *five* special...

By Rosalind Helderman  |  March 24, 2010; 10:49 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  General Assembly 2010 , House of Delegates , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman  
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Updated: Which Republican will challenge Democrat Webb in 2012? Allen? Gillespie?

As Democratic Sen. Jim Webb gears up for what appears to be a re-election bid in 2012, the question remains who will run against him? The most obvious is a rematch with Republican George Allen, the former governor and senator he narrowly defeated in 2006. But many people have also been buzzing about Ed Gillespie, the former counselor to President George W. Bush, former chairman of the Republican National Committee, and most recently, chairman of Gov. Bob McDonnell's gubernatorial campaign last year. Gillespie gave a very political answer when we asked him about his possible political future. (With a background like that, what do you expect?) He said he was focused on winning 2010 legislative races across the nation as chairman of the Republican State Leadership Committee and has not thought about 2012 yet. Gillespie didn't rule out anything but he did say he would back his good friend, George...

By Anita Kumar  |  March 24, 2010; 9:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , George F. Allen , James Webb , Robert F. McDonnell  
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Protesters greet Cuccinelli at GMU speech

About 50 students and alumni associated with campus gay rights groups are protesting an appearance by Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli at George Mason University's Law School in Arlington this evening. The group organized the protest in response to a letter Cuccinelli sent to every public college and university in the state, asserting that schools should not have adopted nondiscrimination policies that protect gays without authority from the General Assembly. Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) sought to tamp down controversy over the letter with a non-binding executive directive prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in the state workforce. But the students said they would continue to express displeasure with Cuccinelli over the letter. They held signs that read, "Cuccinelli: Bad for Virginia" and "Virginia Is For All Lovers." Del. Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria), who is gay, spoke briefly to the group, calling Cuccinelli "out of touch with the realities of the...

By Rosalind Helderman  |  March 23, 2010; 7:07 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  Derek Kravitz , Ken Cuccinelli  
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Virginia sues Sebelius, federal government over health overhaul

Virginia's lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the federal health-care reform law has formally been filed. Within five minutes of President Obama signing the bill at a White House ceremony this morning, state solicitor general E. Duncan Getchell Jr. and Deputy Attorney General for Civil Litigation Wesley G. "Wes" Russell Jr. headed to the elevators of their sixth-floor office in Richmond and strolled outside, where they were greeted by television cameras, for the short walk to Richmond's federal courthouse. The suit argues that the legislation's mandate that individuals purchase health insurance exceeds the federal government's power to regulate interstate commerce under the U.S. Constitution. And it asserts that Virginia has standing to sue over the issue because of a new state law that prohibits the mandate in the state. "The collision between the state and federal schemes also creates an immediate, actual controversy involving antagonistic assertions of right," Attorney General Ken...

By Rosalind Helderman  |  March 23, 2010; 1:40 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (316)
Categories:  Ken Cuccinelli , Rosalind Helderman  
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Englin starts campaign to stop Cuccinelli's lawsuit challenging health-care bill

Del. David L. Englin (D-Alexandria) launched a Web-based telephone campaign to try to stop Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II from filing a lawsuit challenging the federal health-care bill that is expected to be signed into law by President Obama today. "This is an egregious waste of taxpayer dollars that could stop Virginians from enjoying the benefits of health-care reform," Englin said. "He claims he's received nothing but positive feedback from Virginians, but I have constituents call me every day asking what they can do to oppose Cuccinelli's efforts. This online campaign will help them make their voices heard." Cuccinelli said Sunday that he has prepared his court filings challenging the constitutionality of the bill and will file suit on behalf of the commonwealth in the Eastern District of Virginia "as soon as the ink is dry" on Obama's signature on the bill. Englin's campaign can be found online . He...

By Anita Kumar  |  March 23, 2010; 10:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , General Assembly 2010 , House of Delegates , Ken Cuccinelli  
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McDonnell to headline high-dollar GOP fundraiser next month

You know the legislative session is over when the fundraising heats up again. Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) will headline a high-dollar luncheon next month for the Republican Party of Virginia in downtown Richmond. Individuals tickets for the event are on sale for $85, but the party is selling packages for up to $25,000 -- top dollar for a fundraiser in Richmond. No word yet on how many seats have been sold or how much money has been raised. Virginia law bars state officials and members of the General Assembly from raising money during the regularly scheduled legislative session, which ended last week. As of Dec. 31, the Republican party had $69,000 in the bank while the Democratic party had $120,000, according to the Virginia Public Access Project, a non-partisan tracker of money in politics....

By Anita Kumar  |  March 23, 2010; 9:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Robert F. McDonnell  
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Maryland, Virginia separated by $1 billion on health care

Oh what a difference a river makes. On the same day, Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) announced that initial state estimates show Virginia will lose $1 billion over 12 years in increased Medicaid costs from federal health care reform, and Maryland Gov. Martin O'Mally (D) announced his state will save money from the bill. How much money? $1 billion. You can read about O'Malley's announcement on the Maryland Politics blog. One reason for the discrepancy may be that states that have been funding some of the new benefits in the bill locally will now have a federal funding partner. For instance, Maryland has already been allowing young adults to remain on their parents' health insurance. But states that have not been offering these benefits will now have to pony up. Another reason, of course, could be politics, given the Dems control Annapolis and the GOP leads in Richmond. We've asked to...

By Rosalind Helderman  |  March 22, 2010; 6:23 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
Categories:  Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman  
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Virginia Democrats say Cuccinelli suit wastes taxpayer money

The Democratic Party of Virginia has released a statement praising Congress for passing health care reform and accusing Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli of using his office as a "piggy bank" for a "political agenda." And they circulated this video of a Washington & Lee University professor throwing cold water on the Cuccinelli suit on C-Span this morning. The full statement from DPVA executive director David Mills is below....

By Rosalind Helderman  |  March 22, 2010; 4:32 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (54)
Categories:  Ken Cuccinelli , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman  
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McDonnell: Health care overhaul to cost Virginia $1 billion over 12 years

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) says new state estimates show the federal health care overhaul will cost the state almost a $1 billion more in Medicaid spending over a 12 year period begining in 2014.

By Rosalind Helderman  |  March 22, 2010; 3:43 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Ken Cuccinelli , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman  
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Liberty University to file suit on health care overhaul

Liberty University, the private Virginia school founded by the late Rev. Jerry Falwell, announced today that it will file a lawsuit challenging the federal health care legislation as soon as President Obama signs the bill passed by the House last night.

By Anita Kumar  |  March 22, 2010; 11:25 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (19)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , General Assembly 2010 , House of Delegates , Ken Cuccinelli , Robert F. McDonnell , State Senate  
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Cuccinelli: 'I didn't get elected not to do something'

To emphasize how ready Virginia is to take the health care overhaul to court, take a look at this tweet from Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli this morning: "Well, they did it. Once the president signs it into law, we'll walk across the street and file suit b/c the ind mandate is unconstitutional" We eagerly await a look at the filings penned by Cuccinelli's office. But in a lengthy interview on the topic late last week, Cucccinelli indicated he would argue -- as his tweet suggests -- that requiring individuals to purchase health care exceeds the federal government's authority to regulate interstate commerce. He also said that requiring states to participate in a health insurance exchange, as envisioned by the bill, violates state sovereignty. Cuccinelli said then that he was getting "overwhelmingly positive" e-mails and calls in response to his forcefulness on the issue. It's also made him something of a...

By Rosalind Helderman  |  March 22, 2010; 9:59 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (76)
Categories:  Ken Cuccinelli , Rosalind Helderman  
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UPDATED: Cuccinelli to file suit 'as soon as the ink is dry' on health-care signature

A spokesman for Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli said Sunday evening that he has already prepared his court filings challenging the constitutionality of the health-care reform measure that just now passed the House. According to spokesman Brian Gottstein, Cuccinelli will file suit on behalf of the Commonwealth in the Eastern District of Virginia "as soon as the ink is dry" on President Obama's signature on the bill. Cuccinelli, who has filed suit against the EPA challenging the agency's regulation of greenhouse gases, has been the most vocal of several Republican attorneys general who have promised to sue over health care. Just over a week ago, Virginia became the first state in the country to pass a state law making it illegal for the government to require an individual to purchase health insurance, a key element of the bill. UPDATE 11:35 p.m.: Why file so quickly? Gottstein: "It's more cost efficient...

By Rosalind Helderman  |  March 21, 2010; 8:18 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (56)
Categories:  Ken Cuccinelli , Rosalind Helderman  
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On eve of health care vote, Virginia Democrats urged to have 'no fear'

A full minute. That's how long Democrats attending their party's annual Jefferson-Jackson Dinner at the Richmond Convention Center on Saturday evening stood cheering and shouting after U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly (D) made the evening's first reference to Sunday's big vote in Washington on the health care reform package. With no statewide race on the ballot in November and no president or former president on the speaking card, there were fewer attendees at this year's annual dinner than at past events. But because of an unexpected quirk in the schedule, the dinner took place the on the eve of Sunday's final showdown vote in the House of Representatives, and the participants had an air of defiant excitement. Again and again Connolly and fellow Rep. Tom Perriello urged the Democratic activists not to let Republican "tea-partiers" and Fox TV personalities shape the debate on the issue. The Democrats insisted they are not...

By Rosalind Helderman  |  March 21, 2010; 10:47 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Brian J. Moran , Creigh Deeds , Gerald E. Connolly , Glenn Nye , James Webb , Jody Wagner , Mark Warner , Rosalind Helderman , Steve Shannon , Terry McAuliffe , Tom Perriello  
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