Ken Cuccinelli expressed disappointment with Gov. Bob McDonnell and others in state government for their refusal to support a special session of the General Assembly to address ethics reform. Cuccinelli earlier this week called on Gov. McDonnell to convene a special session.
“I am disappointed that Gov. McDonnell and some others in state government do not support my call for a special session,” said Cuccinelli, the Republican nominee for governor. “I’m disappointed because I believe Virginians want solutions right now, not sometime down the road. The citizens of Virginia would appreciate our responsiveness to their concerns related to trust in their own state government. If we act successfully now, I’m confident that Virginians will ultimately react favorably; because they will be able to conclude ‘wow, I had a real concern with trust in my own state government, and they all got together to not only fix the problem, but to do it quickly. That’s not what I’m used to from government.’
“Working together, there is an opportunity for improvement right now. I think we can achieve more in August, than we are likely to achieve in January.”
A Virginia Democratic Party spokesman said Cuccinelli is trying to distract Virginians from his own ongoing conflict of interest scandal with Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams by requesting a special session to reform the Commonwealth’s ethics and gift laws.
“This is not the first time Ken Cuccinelli has refused statewide calls to return tainted money in the midst of a damaging scandal,” said Democratic Party of Virginia spokesman Brian Coy. “In 2010 Cuccinelli spent months refusing to return $55,500 in campaign cash from a scam artist named Bobby Thompson, who enriched himself by ripping off people in Virginia and around the nation who though they were giving to a fake charity benefiting veterans.
“While other state Attorneys General were trying to bring Thompson to justice, Ken Cuccinelli was sitting on a pile of his cash refusing to donate it to charity. Now he’s doing the same with Star Scientific and Jonnie Williams even though Gov. McDonnell has already returned the value of gifts and trips he received from the CEO.
“Ken Cuccinelli gave Virginians a preview of his ethics approach in 2010 and now they’re seeing it yet again. We simply can’t afford to elect a Governor who allows his personal interests to sink his office into conflicts of interest and who is incapable of doing the right thing until public pressure forces him to act,” Coy said.
Josh Schwerin, the spokesman for Democratic Party gubernatorial nominee Terry McAuliffe, said in a statement that “it takes significant disrespect of voters’ intelligence for Ken Cuccinelli to pretend to support laws that would prevent him from taking the gifts he refuses to return.”
“If Cuccinelli would like to help ‘recover trust,’ he could start by reimbursing the $18,000 in scandal gifts he took from Star Scientific and its CEO Jonnie Williams. Cuccinelli has already proven that he values free luxury vacations and workout supplements more than the ethical reputation of Virginia government. It’s disappointing that Cuccinelli has repeatedly refused to support Terry’s proposal for a $100 ban on gifts and the formation of an independent ethics commission,” Schwerin said.