Home Chris Graham: Remove senior assistant AG from board advisory role

Chris Graham: Remove senior assistant AG from board advisory role


state-capitol2Campaigns in the heat of an election cycle often make public demands that a rival denounce somebody for a controversial comment or call for the head of somebody on their staff who committed some sort of unpardonable sin.

So many are thrown out there in the midst of a contested election that it’s almost an automatic to dismiss this for what they are – cheap attempts to score political points.

One that came in from the campaign of Democratic gubernatorial nominee Terry McAuliffe deserves more consideration than that.

McAuliffe made a public request of Republican rival Ken Cuccinelli to remove Senior Assistant Attorney General Sharon Pigeon from her position as an advisor to the state Oil and Gas Board in the wake of a finding by the Inspector General that Pigeon had “inappropriately used Commonwealth resources to support” private litigation filed against two energy companies by Southwest Virginia residents for allegedly cheating them out of royalty payments for natural gas drilled on their land.

According to the report, Pigeon offered legal advice to the energy companies on how to acquire a chain of documents from the defendants in the case and also offered advice on filing procedural challenges to defeat a legal claim from the plaintiffs in the case.

“Cuccinelli and his office have already betrayed Southwest Virginia landowners enough but keeping the staffer most directly responsible for helping out-of-state companies as advisor to the Oil and Gas Board is clearly an inappropriate use of taxpayer funds and is insulting to Virginia landowners,” said McAuliffe spokesperson Rachel Thomas. “Cuccinelli should immediately bar this staffer from future Oil and Gas Board meetings. Cuccinelli’s conflicts have already cost Virginians too much and his efforts to shirk all responsibility in this matter shows his true lack of leadership.”

I’m not casting aspersions on Cuccinelli for not yet having removed Pigeon from her role as an advisor to the Oil and Gas Board. I think it’s pretty obvious that she should have nothing to do with anything related to what this board does.



Have a guest column, letter to the editor, story idea or a news tip? Email editor Chris Graham at [email protected]. Subscribe to AFP podcasts on Apple PodcastsSpotifyPandora and YouTube.