House panel drops inquiry into Hamilton

Story by Chris Graham

The investigation by a House of Delegates panel into the actions of former State Del. Phil Hamilton relative to a job at Old Dominion University created through state funds that he had pushed for in the General Assembly came to an end this month when the panel decided that it had no jurisdiction over the matter once Hamilton resigned his House seat.

That bit of information became news today with the release of the report of the House Ethics Advisory Panel by House Speaker Bill Howell.

“The Ethics Panel has informed me that they have ended their inquiry for lack of statutory jurisdiction. In the interest of full disclosure and public transparency, I am voluntarily sharing today with all Virginians the Ethics Panel’s recent report regarding former Del. Hamilton,” Howell said in a statement.

“While I regret that their fact-finding inquiry did not reach a final conclusion whether an actual violation of state law occurred, I understand the decision by the Ethics Panel and respect them for not wanting to operate outside of the legal authority granted by the Code of Virginia,” Howell said.

In August, Hamilton resigned a post at Old Dominion University that was created with money that he had secured for ODU as a state legislator while at the time he was working in the General Assembly to get the money approved he was also asking the school for a job for himself.

ODU released a report on Sept. 17 stating that there was “very little documentation” of Hamilton delivering services for the $40,000 annual salary he was paid from state coffers.

The report further outlined that Hamilton had tried to land a job for a former co-worker at the same teaching center, presumably to occupy the unused office space also described in the ODU report.

Hamilton failed in his bid for re-election to his seat representing the 93rd House District in the Nov. 3 general elections.

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