Sen. Phillip Puckett calls for investigation into AG office conduct
State Sen. Phillip Puckett on Monday announced that he will be asking the Office of the State Inspector General, along with the Governor and the Attorney General, for an investigation into the conduct of Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s office. Reports reveal that an assistant state attorney general is advising a private company seeking to avoid paying royalties owed to Virginia property owners.
As the Associated Press reported last week, emails revealed that Sharon Pigeon, an assistant attorney general under Ken Cuccinelli, is aiding EQT Production Co. and CNX Gas Co., two natural gas companies who are being sued by landowners in southwest Virginia for their refusal to pay them millions of dollars in natural gas royalties. A federal judge on the case, Judge Pamela Meade Sargeant, expressed “shock” that the AG’s office, whose mission statement is “faithfully serving Virginia and her people,” would be actively assisting private corporations instead of citizens of the Commonwealth who are suing for tens of millions in unpaid royalties.
“With this much at stake, it was positively outrageous to learn last week that Ken Cuccinelli’s office has been acting not as a neutral observer in this case, but as an active adviser to the companies who are seeking to avoid paying Virginians millions in royalties.” Senator Puckett stated. ” Virginians deserve a full explanation of his conduct in this case to accompany an Inspector General’s report on whether any laws or ethics rules have been broken in this disturbing matter,” he added.
The Roanoke Times’ Editorial Board commented today that the revelation of the Attorney General’s Office’s involvement in this case is “Shocking, but not surprising.” This news also falls in line with Ken Cuccinelli’s ongoing scandal with Star Scientific, a company in which he owned stock and from whose CEO he accepted thousands in gifts while his office was sitting on a case over the company’s unpaid state taxes.