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Virginia Politics Blog: May 30, 2010 - June 5, 2010

Malek apologizes for his role in compiling a list of Jews for Nixon

Businessman and major GOP donor Fred Malek told reporters Friday afternoon that his decision to compile a list of Jews for former president Richard M. Nixon was the biggest mistake he has made in his life.

By Anita Kumar  |  June 4, 2010; 4:18 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Robert F. McDonnell  
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McDonnell fires back at Democrats over Malek appointment

The commission is charged with searching for ways to save hundreds of millions of dollars from the state budget and make government more user-friendly. The group, which is holding its first meeting Friday afternoon, will consider closing some of the state's 130 agencies, putting more forms online and eliminating annual reports. Members will also look for a way to sell the state's 350 liquor stores, which McDonnell pledged to do on the campaign trail last year. The 31 members of the Governor's Commission on Government Reform and Restructuring includes six Democrats, though none have called for Malek's removal. Malek, founder of Thayer Capital Partners, is a major Republican donor and served as a finance chairman to Sen. John McCain in 2008, and has also been an adviser to former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. He chairs the American Action Network, a group that campaigns against Democratic members of Congress. "Every major Jewish group that I am aware of in the country has said that they support Fred Malek,'' McDonnell said. "This is not about one person. This is about reforming state government. This is small handful of partisan Democrats that want to make this a partisan issue. The DNC. The DCCC. I'm sure they're concerned Mr. Malek supports Republicans. I support Republicans." In response to a question about whether Malek should continue to donate money while serving on McDonnell's commission, the governor said: "People have their First Amendment rights outside this meeting to do what they want. There are Republicans and Democrats on here. I think they are going to be free to do what they want."

By Anita Kumar  |  June 4, 2010; 3:40 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Robert F. McDonnell  | Tags: bob mcdonnell, fred malek, government reform commission  
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Bill Clinton endorses Republican in 5th district! Or maybe not

If you flipped on the radio in Virginia's 5th congressional district this week, you might have gotten the impression that former President Bill Clinton is wading into the crowded primary there. The Republican primary. Property developer Jim McKelvey, one of several Republicans competing in the June 8th primary for the nomination to face Rep. Tom Perriello (D), went on the air in recent days with a radio ad purporting to feature Clinton endorsing state Sen. Robert Hurt for the GOP nod. "I like him," Clinton says of the Republican frontrunner. "I would vote for that man, Robert Hurt, because he likes taxes like me." Of course, that's not really Clinton in the ad. It's an actor delivering a less-than-stellar impersonation of the 42nd president. (No word on whether it's the same guy who does the impersonator ads for Jerry's Subs & Pizza, but they do sound alike.) McKelvey's aim is...

By Ben Pershing  |  June 4, 2010; 1:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2010 Virginia Congressional Races , Ben Pershing , Jim McKelvey , Robert Hurt  
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Herrity, Fimian enter Centreville day-laborer debate

The two Republican primary candidates in Virginia's 11th Congressional District have waded into the debate over an immigrant day-laborer work center in Centreville, with both publicly opposing the plan. Keith Fimian, an Oakton businessman seeking a second chance to unseat U.S. Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (D-Va.), issued a statement Thursday after Northern Virginia developer Albert J. Dwoskin proceeded with plans to build a day-laborer site on his Centreville Square Shopping Center property. "With plans for a day-labor center moving forward, I join with Centreville residents and business owners in opposition," Fimian said in a statement. "As well-intentioned as proponents of this project may be, it sends entirely the wrong message to people who have, in many cases, broken our laws to be here, and invites a host of problems including increased potential for crime in the area." Fimian also used the issue to once again attack Connolly on immigration, as...

By Derek Kravitz  |  June 4, 2010; 12:04 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  2010 Virginia Congressional Races  
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McDonnell signs bill to extend benefits for injured state troopers

(Gov. Bob McDonnell, meeting Del. Bill Carrico (R-Galax), a former state police officer, and his family. Courtesy of Michaele White, governor's photographer.) Gov. Bob McDonnell this morning signed legislation extending the amount of time a State Police officer who has been injured in the line of duty can receive 100 percent of his or her salary while on short-term disability leave from 125 day to six months. In some instances--when a medical evaluation shows the trooper might return to duty between six months and a year after injury--the benefit can be extended for up to a year. Wayne Huggins, executive director of the Virginia State Police Association, said only about two to three troopers a year are so badly injured while on duty as to benefit from the extension. But he said the extension is an important sign of support for troopers and will help that handful remain on...

By Rosalind Helderman  |  June 4, 2010; 11:49 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman  
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Democrats on McDonnell's commission will not challenge Malek

The three Democratic legislative members of Gov. Bob McDonnell's government reform commission say they have no plans to protest when Fred Malek chairs his first meeting Friday afternoon.

By Anita Kumar  |  June 4, 2010; 10:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Robert F. McDonnell  
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Only logistics kept Webb, Warner off Snyder case brief, say their offices

With Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II (R) taking heat for declining to file a friend of the court brief in a Supreme Court case involving protests at military funerals, some have noted Virginia's two Democratic senators would appear to have taken a similar tack. After all, neither Sen. Mark Warner (D) nor Sen. James Webb (D) signed on to an amicus brief filed with the court last week by 42 other senators in the case, in which the family of fallen Marine Matthew Snyder is suing a Kansas church that protested at their son's funeral. Only Virginia and Maine have declined to side in court with the family. Cuccinelli has said he is concerned with the First Amendment implications of allowing the family to sue over the church's protest. But Warner and Webb's office both have told us they did not sign last week's brief because it was circulated with...

By Rosalind Helderman  |  June 4, 2010; 8:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  James Webb , Ken Cuccinelli , Mark Warner , Rosalind Helderman  
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UPDATED: Republicans accuse opponents of hypocrisy over Malek, Moran

Thursday seems to be Memory Lane Day in Virginia politics. First, Democrats here and in Washington have burned up political inboxes with releases about national Republican activist Fred Malek's turn as an aide to President Richard Nixon in the 1970s. Now, Republicans are showing turn-about-is-fair-play and asking Virginia Democrats: What about Rep. Jim Moran? In a release headlined, "Democrats See Problems Everywhere -- Except When They Are In Their Own Party," the Republican Party of Virginia accuses the state's Democrats of seeing "corruption and racism hiding almost everywhere" but being silent about issues involving Moran. The GOP accuses Moran having "a singular gift for winding up in ethics investigations" and "a record of anti-Jewish remarksĀ that speak for themselves." UPDATE 6:06 p.m.: Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), who is Jewish, has released a statement blasting the Democrats for dwelling on Malek's Nixon era past. He said in a statement: "Fred...

By Rosalind Helderman  |  June 3, 2010; 4:43 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  James P. Moran Jr. , Rosalind Helderman  
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Nixon aides discussed job offers to get candidates out of primary races

Think President Obama's aides were the first to consider offering administration jobs to potential candidates for elected office in an effort to get them to drop out of divisive primary races? Think again. A never before published memo shows that President Richard Nixon's aides had an elaborate plan to offer jobs to Republicans they believed were a "drag on the ticket" in the months leading up to the 1972 election. The memo was penned by Nixon aide Fred Malek, now a major national Republican operative and head of a government reform panel in Virginia, and submitted to Nixon chief of staff H.R. Haldeman in 1971. In the memo, Malek dissects every congressional, senatorial and gubernatorial election that would take place in 1972, assessing whether Republicans likely to run in those races would hurt and help Nixon, who was running for reelection. Ironically for that administration, the crew seemed to have...

By Rosalind Helderman  |  June 3, 2010; 3:34 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
Categories:  Barack Obama , Robert F. McDonnell , Sarah Palin  
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Miller Center highlights Malek clip from Nixon tapes

Want to hear something pretty creepy? Take a listen to President Richard M. Nixon discussing with Chief of Staff H.R. "Bob" Haldeman his desire that then-aide Fred Malek "particularly check the Jews throughout the administration."

By Rosalind Helderman  |  June 3, 2010; 2:16 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman  | Tags: Fred Malek, nixon  
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Oral arguments set for health-care suit as Va., feds have first court showdown

A federal judge Thursday morning set initial oral arguments in Virginia's landmark suit challenging the constitutionality of the federal health-care law for July 1 at 10 a.m.

By Rosalind Helderman  |  June 3, 2010; 10:27 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Barack Obama , Ken Cuccinelli , Rosalind Helderman  | Tags: Health care, cuccinelli, obama  
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Rove joins Cuccinelli at a fundraiser for Virginia Republicans

Karl Rove, the man once known as George W. Bush's brain, is coming to Virginia for a fundraiser for the Republican Party of Virginia.

By Anita Kumar  |  June 3, 2010; 8:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Bill Bolling , Ken Cuccinelli , Robert F. McDonnell  
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McDonnell: Decision on military funeral case is Cuccinelli's

Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) disagrees with Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's decision not to file an amicus brief in a Supreme Court case in which the familiy of a fallen marine has sued the Kansas church that protests at military funerals. Or maybe he agrees. It's a little hard to tell from the statement we've received from his office on the topic. The statement basically says that McDonnell opposes Phelps' actions but that the decision on whether to file briefs with the Supreme Court belongs to the attorney general....

By Rosalind Helderman  |  June 2, 2010; 4:51 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Ken Cuccinelli , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman  
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Friends, foes hit Cuccinelli over Marine funeral case

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is taking heat from some unusual sources---and some more expected ones---over his decision to stay out of a lawsuit filed by the family of a deceased marine against a Kansas church whose protests interrupted the Marine's funeral. The Supreme Court will hear the case in which the family of Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder sued Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church, arguing protests at the funderal of Snyder, who was killed in action in Iraq, invaded his family's privacy, caused emotional distress and violated his rights to free exercise of religion and peaceful assembly. The church targets fallen servicemembers funerals to argue that combat deaths are America's punishment for tolerating homosexuality. Only Virginia and Maine have declined to submit friend of the court briefs on behalf of Snyder's family, with Cuccinelli arguing that though Phelps' protests are hateful, it would set a dangerous precedent to curb...

By Rosalind Helderman  |  June 2, 2010; 3:35 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (44)
Categories:  Ken Cuccinelli , Rosalind Helderman  
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Updated: Virginia's religious leaders call on senators to support climate change bill

More than 100 clergy from across the state called on U.S. Sens. Jim Webb and Jim Webb on Wednesday to support comprehensive climate legislation that includes strong emission reductions and protections for low-income families.

By Anita Kumar  |  June 2, 2010; 2:34 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , James Webb , Mark Warner  | Tags: Climate change, chesapeake bay, emissions  
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McDonnell says he fulfilled his campaign pledge on defunding Planned Parenthood

In the days leading up to the November election, Bob McDonnell appeared on Laura Ingraham's conservative radio show and pledged that tax dollars would not be used to fund Planned Parenthood. Yesterday, the new Republican governor returned to Ingraham's show to announce that he had delivered on his promise.

By Anita Kumar  |  June 2, 2010; 12:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Robert F. McDonnell  
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New VPAP maps brings powerful political data to the masses

Looking for a fun poolside activity during these long, warm days of summer? Okay, admittedly, only if you're a big political wonk and like to bring your laptop to the pool. Check out the new mapping functions introduced by the Virginia Public Access Project last week. The maps let viewers visually track voting histories in elections back to 2004, down to the precinct level. This is the kind of granular data that political consultants get paid big bucks to bring to candidates---and VPAP is now bringing to everyone, free of charge....

By Rosalind Helderman  |  June 2, 2010; 10:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  General Assembly 2010 , House of Delegates , Rosalind Helderman  
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Bolling begins to raise money for his gubernatorial campaign

Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling will hold his first fundraiser since forming his campaign committee to run for governor in 2013. Bolling hosts an annual "Burgers with Bill" fundraiser in June to celebrate his birthday. This year, the proceeds from the June 15 event will go to his gubernatorial campaign. Check out the invitation (pdf). In the past, Bolling has welcomed special guests at the event, including former presidential candidate Mitt Romney and former senator George Allen. This year, there will be no special guests, but his staff still expects a couple hundred people. (In case, you were wondering Bolling will be 53.) Bolling (R) quietly formed Friends of Bill Bolling on March 26, soon after the 60-day legislative session ended. In spring 2008, Bolling surprised many people, including then-Attorney General Bob McDonnell, by deciding to seek reelection. McDonnell and Bolling ran as a team last year, and McDonnell has pledged...

By Anita Kumar  |  June 2, 2010; 8:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Bill Bolling  
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McDonnell hosts fundraiser for McCain's Senate bid

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell will host his first fundraiser for Arizona Sen. John McCain, facing a tough primary battle against former congressman J.D. Hayworth, at a McLean home later this month, advisers to the governor say.

By Anita Kumar  |  June 1, 2010; 5:49 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , John McCain , Robert F. McDonnell  | Tags: Ted Georgelas, Todd Stottlemyer, bob mcdonnell, bobbie kilberg, fred malek, fundraiser, john mccain  
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Cuccinelli says funeral protest case could curtail free speech

Post Supreme Court reporter Robert Barnes wrote this morning about the case Snyder v. Phelps, including Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's decision not to write a friend of the court brief on behalf of plantiff Albert Snyder. Virginia and Maine are the only two states in the country who haven't joined the suit, which will be heard by the court this fall, on behalf of Snyder, who is suing the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kan., and its founding pastor, Fred W. Phelps Sr. for disrupting the funeral of his late son, Marine Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder. The Kansas church has made a show of picketing funerals of military personnel killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, arguing military deaths are America's punishment for tolerating homosexuality. Cuccinelli spokesman Brian Gottstein told Barnes that Virginia's attorney general chose not to get involved with the case because he is afraid of setting a precedent...

By Rosalind Helderman  |  June 1, 2010; 3:42 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Ken Cuccinelli , Rosalind Helderman  
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Updated: O'Brien's spokesman says former senator decided to drop out of race before he took fliers without permission

Jason Flanary, a spokesman for Jay O'Brien, said the former senator did not withdraw from the Republican primary in a Fairfax County Senate district because of the criticism he received after he was caught on tape taking his opponent's fliers from a general store.

By Anita Kumar  |  June 1, 2010; 2:12 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Robert F. McDonnell , State Senate  | Tags: Jay O'Brien, O'Brien takes fliers; O'Brien drops out of race, O'Brien takes opponents fliers, Scott Martin  
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Staffers swelter after AC goes down in General Assembly Building

Talk about legislative hot air! The air conditioning is broken in the General Assembly Building, according to a note being circulated among staff who work in the office building. The note from the Department of General Services indicates that there's a short in the building's cooling fan tower and the AC is likely to be down for several days. The building, next to the State Capitol, is home to legislative offices, staff of the Senate finance and House appropriations committees, the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission and various other offices. It's been a warm couple of days in Richmond and no relief is scheduled today, so it's got to be getting pretty warm in the GAB. Legislators moved into the 400,000-square-foot GAB in 1978 and they have talked about tearing the building down for years. It has a variety of problems, including a leaky roof and on-going electrical and...

By Rosalind Helderman  |  June 1, 2010; 12:27 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  General Assembly 2010 , House of Delegates , Rosalind Helderman , State Senate  
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McDonnell on MSNBC: Race to the Top too burdensome

For the second time in a week, Gov. Bob McDonnell took to the national airwaves to explain why Virginia pulled out of President Obama's Race to the Top school reform derby. McDonnell (R) told viewers on Morning Joe Tuesday morning that even though other conservatives support Race to the Top, he has found that it is a well-meaning program that creates "too many burdens and mandates on the states." The governor said that he would not allow the state to abandon its benchmarks, known as the Standards of Learning. In March, Virginia finished 31st out of 41 competitors in the first round of the competition. "The problem is one of the criteria is to adopt a common core set of standards -- academic set of standards -- to get the points you need to be competitive and we can't do that,'' he said. "We've had a great set of standards...

By Anita Kumar  |  June 1, 2010; 7:52 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Barack Obama , Robert F. McDonnell  
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McDonnell honors veterans on Memorial Day

Gov. Bob McDonnell laid a wreath today at Fredericksburg National Cemetery in honor of America's veterans. Pictured below is McDonnell with Commander James B. Breeden of American Legion, Post 55. Photo courtesy of Michaele White, governor's photographer...

By Anita Kumar  |  May 31, 2010; 5:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Robert F. McDonnell  
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Webb, Warner jet off during congressional recess

This week, during Congress's Memorial Day recess, Virginia's senators, Jim Webb and Mark Warner, are headed overseas. Webb, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific Affairs, will visit Korea, Thailand, and Burma, over nine days. He will hold a variety of meetings with government officials, U.S. diplomats, military officials and business leaders. "For decades and not without cost in blood and treasure, the United States has provided Asia with a balance and a guarantee of stability that it had previously lacked," Webb said in a statement before he left. "However, American interaction in East and Southeast Asia has declined significantly in recent years, in large part because we have not sufficiently pursued economic and diplomatic opportunities there. Recent events have underscored the need for the United States to step up its commitment to the region." Who can forget Webb's August 2009 trip to Burma? He...

By Anita Kumar  |  May 31, 2010; 2:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (19)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , James Webb , Mark Warner  
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State braces for health care cuts after Congress fails to extend enhanced Medicaid spending

State officials are warning legislators that they soon may be hearing from angry residents -- and perhaps Medicaid providers -- facing unanticipated health care cuts now that Congress has failed to pass a bill that could have helped plugged Virginia's budget holes. "We expect that the implementation announcements of these "contingent" budget cuts may generate constituent contacts with your offices,'' Cindi Jones, acting director of the Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services, wrote to legislators Thursday. Virginia, like 20-plus other states, adopted a budget that included some drastic cuts to health and human resources, but said that the cuts probably would not go into effect because Congress was on the verge of approving a bill to extend enhanced Medicaid funding for states. The House and Senate have approved bills that include the stimulus money, but they are differing versions. They had hoped to reach a compromise by Memorial Day, but...

By Anita Kumar  |  May 31, 2010; 10:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , General Assembly 2010  
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