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Posted at 10:51 AM ET, 03/ 1/2011

Budget deal drops requirement that Cuccinelli track staff time

By Rosalind S. Helderman
Rosalind S. Helderman

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) will face no legislative requirement that he keep track of his staff's time.

He probably never thought it was exceptionally likely that a new time management reporting system would be imposed on his office.

But the state Senate did include language in the budget the chamber adopted Feb. 10 to require the controversial attorney general to track projects that have consumed more than 100 hours of his staff's time and report them publicly. The budget item called for the auditor of public accounts to review the reports for accuracy.

Democrats have been asking Cuccinelli to provide more information about how much time his office is spending on lawsuits challenging the federal health-care law and the EPA's regulation of greenhouse gases, as well as trying to pry documents related to climate change research from the University of Virginia.

Cuccinelli has maintained that his office does not track its staff hours in a way that would make it possible to disclose how much time attorneys and others are spending on the matters. He has said the costs are minimal because he is only using lawyers and others already on staff to handle the matters.

Embedding the time management item into the budget document was one of a number of steps taken during the legislative session by the Democratic-controlled Senate to curb Cuccinelli's power. Each was rebuffed by the GOP-held House of Delegates, including the budget amendment on time management in the attorney general's office, which was not included in the budget deal unanimously agreed to by the House and Senate on Sunday evening.

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | March 1, 2011; 10:51 AM ET
Categories:  Budget, General Assembly 2011, House of Delegates, Ken Cuccinelli, Rosalind Helderman, State Senate  
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