“Terry spoke to us today about announcing your role w/ the Commission in conjunction with what he said is your intention to announce your Senate plans tomorrow,” an email dated June 5 from Tim Pfohl, the interim executive director of the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission, to Phil Puckett, a Democratic state senator at that point two days away from announcing his resignation.
“Terry” is Terry Kilgore, a Republican state delegate who is the chairman of the commission.
“I implored him to ‘decouple’ those announcements,” continued Pfohl, in an email obtained by The Times-Dispatch and published on Friday, “for the sake of the appearance of the Commission manipulating the Senate balance of power and starting WW3 w/ the Governor’s administration.
“He seems to accept that your announcement should be a singular event re: your Senate position, but also instructed us to publish notice tomorrow of an Executive Committee meeting next Weds to get their approval of your role w/ us,” the email continues.
And now we know more fully why the fbi is investigating the resignation of Puckett, whose decision to step down returned power in the State Senate to Republicans and allowed the GOP to pass a state budget without Medicaid expansion, a sticking point in a months-long battle between Republicans, Democrats and Gov. Terry McAuliffe.
A federal grand jury has been convened in Abingdon to hear testimony from Pfohl and possibly others in the matter, according to the T-D report, which also offered that a number of state lawmakers have been interviewed by the fbi and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Virginia related to the investigation.