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McDonnell can't recall issuing civil demand similar to Cuccinelli's request to U-Va.

Rosalind Helderman

As Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) faces criticism for issuing a civil inveistgation demand, essentially a civil subpoena, to the University of Virginia, Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) said today that he does not recall issuing any similar civil demands to state agencies during the more than three years he served as Virginia's attorney general.

Meeting with reporters following signing bills related to job creation, McDonnell said he referred questions about the civil demand to Cuccinelli's office. McDonnell added that he had issued CIDs when he held the state's top legal job before his election last year as governor--but only to private companies.

"It was mainly that I recall private sector companies in consumer cases or health care providers in Medicaid fraud cases, or then some other select ones where that was the best method available to us to do our statutory duty," he said. "I don't remember one that was done for a state agency."

Cuccinelli has said is investigating the possibility that global warming scientist Michael Mann, who worked at the university until 2005, defrauded taxpayers as he sought grant money. McDonnell begged off when asked about criticisms by academics that Cuccinelli's investigation could dissuade research scientists engaged in controversial work away from coming to Virginia.

"I can only tell you that I have to let you defer to the attorney general on what he's doing, why he's doing it. He's seperately elected," McDonnell said. "What the attorney general's theories are--I only know what I read in the paper, and I've not spoken with him."

Meanwhile, as various groups prepare to ask the university's Board of Visitors to resist Cuccinelli's subpoena, the attorney general's office confirms he believes his office has no conflict of interest that would prevent it from representing the university's visitors, as they decide how to respond.

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Under Virginia law, state agencies receive legal services from the attorney general's office and are not allowed to engage outside counsel, unless the attorney general certifies to the governor that he believes a conflict exists. In that instance, the governor would appoint a special counsel.

The governor can also unilaterally declare that the attorney general is unable to offer legal counsel and appoint a special counsel.

State law also specifically allows the AG's office to represent both sides in a given case.

In an email, Cuccinelli spokesman Brian Gottstein said, "This office does not believe a conflict exists. The division responsible for advising UVa has been firewalled from the rest of the AG's office in any matters that may pertain to this investigation."

Under the Virginia Fraud Against Taxpayers Act, the university's Board of Visitors would have to file in court within 21 days of receiving the April 23 document if it wanted block it.

Unsurprisingly, Democrats have begun stepping up criticisms of Cuccinelli over the subpoena. The Democratic Party of Virginia released a statement accusing Cuccinelli of abusing his office "to meddle in the affairs of Virginia's public colleges and universities in pursuit of his own personal, political agenda."

And State Sen. Mark Herring (D-Loudoun), who is said to be considering a run for attorney general in 2013, said in a statement, "On its face this seems to be a serious abuse of the power of the Attorney General. This is Virginia, since when do we investigate professors when we disagree with them?"

By Rosalind Helderman  |  May 5, 2010; 4:04 PM ET
Categories:  Ken Cuccinelli , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman  | Tags: Bob McDonnell, Ken Cuccinelli, Michael Mann, University of Virginia  
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Comments

"I can only tell you that I have to let you defer to the attorney general on what he's doing, why he's doing it. He's seperately elected," McDonnell said. "What the attorney general's theories are--I only know what I read in the paper, and I've not spoken with him."

Reading between the lines, it sounds as if the little Governor is feeling just a wee bit testy when it comes to his Attorney General.

Posted by: jeffersonian1 | May 5, 2010 6:26 PM | Report abuse

And State Sen. Mark Herring (D-Loudoun), who is said to be considering a run for attorney general in 2013, said in a statement, "On its face this seems to be a serious abuse of the power of the Attorney General. This is Virginia, since when do we investigate professors when we disagree with them?"

Finally some common sense! 2013 can't come soon enough. I say impeach now and have a special election for a new Attorney General.

End this abuse of power NOW!

Posted by: MarilynManson | May 6, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Seriously, Cuccinelli is a complete embarrassment to the Commonwealth of Virginia. There simply must be ample reason to impeach him by now...can't you impeach for utter stupidity?
If not, then how do we keep this idiot from chasing businesses out of Virginia, or scaring off potential new employers...when they read or hear that we have a nutcase as an AG?
This guy really has nerve, and he doesn't care what anyone thinks.
Wow. Kinda reminds me of that Ahmadinejad fellow in Iran...maybe they are related...

Posted by: SensibleCentrist | May 6, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Now I understand why this guy would be so arrogant as to try this - the real fault lies with the law that gives the AG so much power, requiring state agencies to always use him as their counsel, even when they oppose him. The idea there is some kind of "firewall" is pretty ridiculous, isn't it? Who do they put on the opposing team? Someone who doesn't care about his own career under the guy, who is likely to take revenge if he wins the case? This is just one more example of the trend for prosecutors to be the most powerful, most dangerous enemies of the Bill of Rights.

Posted by: boatbrain | May 6, 2010 7:07 PM | Report abuse

McDonnell and Cooch are so lame that it will be a lasting smear on Virginia. The AG has public safety as his highest calling, yet all we're getting is his wacko social agenda. The Gov is supposed the run the executive branch, yet all we're getting is low grade management. Neither of them is ready for prime time, and we will ultimately have to pay for it.

I live in Richmond, and the potholes on VDOT roads (despite Gov Bob's claim on success) are horrendous. He is meeting with UVA's president about the terrible Huguely incident for "ideas" - apparently Gov Bob forgot HE was AG for 4 years! Can't manage, can't do the job - but great media image!

Cooch is simply a joke.

The good news is that "this too shall pass." I just hope that they don't do too much damage.

Posted by: aclearview | May 9, 2010 10:26 PM | Report abuse

When scientists play for funding they play to the *political agenda of their money source*.
Scientists are human too. It is inevitable that appetites will distort perceptions.
But that does not mean that they should not be held to a standard of integrity that is higher than other professions, say accountants, lawyers or even reverends. How can they not be unless they wish to cease being respected as scientists. Scientists have the inherent duty to make a very large scope reality check against ALL the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God. No other profession has such broad and deep reliance upon first principles as the source of their authority. Accountants, lawyers and reverends have standards that they must rectify their conduct by or invite both civil liability and criminal culpability. How can it be any different for scientists? Why should it be any different for scientists? Ideas have consequences. The consequences of an idea are dependent upon the credibility of its messenger to a very large degree. Credibility gives a messenger authority and with that authority comes responsibility and its consequential ACCOUNTABILITY. If a messenger is given social sanction by their professional standing then the accountability is inherent in that social standing must match or inequity and iniquity will result. In our society, at this time scientists are given great credibility and greater benefit of doubt. They may be wrong, but only honestly so, else they invoke the righteous judgment due status felonies like statutory rape, statutory embezzlement and statutory treason. For these causes we must commend Virginia’s Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli for his well tuned sense of duty.

Resisting the investigation is a very bad idea and likely criminal. Also bad politics: How does that quote of grandmother wisdom go?
"That thing in your hand, Child, it is only what you are hiding."

http://TeaPartyConstitutionalists.ning.com/

Posted by: Russell_P_Davis | May 9, 2010 11:43 PM | Report abuse

So now ‘they’ conceit the authority to regulate our breath and most forms of life by regulating CO2. The almighty ‘progressive’ controlled state apparatus now takes the most basic of what rights God gave us. CO2 regulation is not about the health of the planet - it is all about control – so more cream can be skimmed off anything that exists.

Most folks who actually love their mother cannot find the time to make a big manipulation out of it. “Me thinks they doth protest too much.”

"First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win." -- Mahatma Gandhi

http://TeaPartyConstitutionalists.ning.com/

Posted by: Russell_P_Davis | May 9, 2010 11:59 PM | Report abuse

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