UPDATED: Powerful former Va. delegate indicted for extortion, bribery
Former Virginia delegate Phillip A. Hamilton (R-Newport News), 58, has been indicted by federal authorities on charges that he sought a job at Old Dominion University in exchange for obtaining state funding for the school.
Hamilton has been charged with one count of bribery involving a federal program and one count of extortion.
The powerful former member of the House Appropriations Committee served from 1988 until last year. He was defeated for reelection in 2009 by Del. Robin Abbott (D) after news of the federal investigation became public.
According to the indictment, Hamilton and ODU officials agreed he would receive a job as director of the ODU Center for Teacher Quality and Educational Leadership if he obtained state funding to launch the center. Three others applied for the job. None were interviewed, according to federal authorities. Hamilton was hired though he never applied for the job.
Hamilton was ultimately paid $80,000 by ODU from July 2007 through July 2009. The indictment also alleges that the former delegate took steps to hide the relationship, including urging ODU officials not to mention his name to the Senate Finance Committee.
He faces up to 10 years in prison for the bribery charge and 20 years in prison for the extortion charge.
Hamilton did not immediately return phone calls. His attorney Andrew Sacks could not be reached for comment.
UPDATE 7:07 p.m.: House Speaker Bill Howell (R-Stafford) has released a statement:
"Appropriate ethical conduct of any and all elected officials is essential to safeguarding trust in government by the citizens those officials represent and in whose name they serve. Virginia always has had solid reputation for good government and I want to keep it that way.
In 2009, I acted to preserve that trust and protect the institutional integrity of the Virginia House of Delegates when I initiated a legislative inquiry into possible violations of the Commonwealth's Conflict of Interest Act by then-Delegate Hamilton. The House Ethics Panel ended their inquiry for lack of statutory jurisdiction following his resignation from the Virginia House of Delegates on November 15, 2009.
Today's decision by a federal grand jury reflects the seriousness with which I and others viewed the alleged offenses. Accordingly, I trust the judicial system now will do its job and impartially determine the facts and ensure that justice is served. How a public official performs his or her governmental duties must be above reproach and unquestionably within the bounds of law."
Rosalind S. Helderman and Anita Kumar
| January 5, 2011; 6:07 PM ET
Categories: General Assembly 2010, House of Delegates
Save & Share: Previous: Delegate proposes Va. mint its own money
Next: Hamilton denies allegations in federal indictment
Posted by: omegatime | January 8, 2011 6:52 PM | Report abuse