Thursday, February 07, 2013

Cuccinelli Challenged to Document that He is Fulfilling Duties as Attorney General

This blog has noted before that Ken "Kookinelli," the uncrowned GOP gubernatorial 2013 candidate has refused to resign his position as attorney general given his full time campaigning for the 2013 election in November.  Not only is Cuccinelli drawing a salary at taxpayer expense for a job he isn't doing, but he has also been using staff on the office of Attorney General's to work his campaign.  Now, Cuccinelli has been challenged to document that he is performing all of his duties and a freedom of information act request has been tendered to the AG's office.  Here are the contents of a letter delivered to Cuccinelli:

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli
Office of the Attorney General
900 E. Broad St.
Richmond, VA 23219

Dear General Cuccinelli:

For nearly three decades, Attorneys General of both political parties in Virginia have stepped down from the office to run for Governor. The reason for this tradition is simple: Virginians elect their Attorneys General to serve the public, not to run for Governor. In fact, you stated last month: "I ran to be Attorney General, not to run for Governor." Yet, in recent months, you have been directing the Office of Attorney General while running for Governor.

This has naturally created a question in the public mind about whether the resources of the Office of the Attorney General are being invested in the public interest or in a political campaign. This concern can be readily dispelled with open information about your office.

Specifically, records about your schedule will reassure the public that you are not performing campaign functions during your work hours. Information about your reimbursements will assure us that travel arranged through the Attorney General's office is official and not campaign-related. Finally, your office's emails to political organizations will demonstrate that no campaign work has been performed using the Office of the Attorney General's resources. Virginia's Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) follows Virginia's traditions of sunlight and accountability in government, befitting the Commonwealth that gave constitutional democracy to the world. As per §2.2.3700(B) of the Code of Virginia:

"The affairs of government are not intended to be conducted in an atmosphere of secrecy since at all times the public is to be the beneficiary of any action taken at any level of government. Unless a public body or its officers or employees specifically elect to exercise an exemption provided by this chapter or any other statute, every meeting shall be open to the public and all public records shall be available for inspection and copying upon request. All public records and meetings shall be presumed open, unless an exemption is properly invoked."

§2.2.3700(B) further states:
"The provisions of this chapter shall be liberally construed to promote an increased awareness by all persons of governmental activities and afford every opportunity to citizens to witness the operations of government."

As these sections make clear, the Code expressly intends to ensure that Virginia's taxpayers know how every elected official, including the Attorney General, is spending our tax dollars.

Pursuant to the Virginia Freedom of Information Act, §2.2.3704(G) et seq., and as a Virginia resident, I therefore request copies of records of the following items:
1. Records of your schedule from Microsoft Outlook and/or any other electronic scheduling software for the months of December 2012 and January 2013.
2. Records of your schedule from Microsoft Outlook and/or any other electronic scheduling software for the days of February 1, 2, and 3, 2013.
3. Records of your schedule from Microsoft Outlook and/or any other electronic scheduling software for the day of February 4, 2013.
4. Any reimbursements, allowances, or travel charges that you have personally received for the months of December 2012 and January 2013.
5. For the months of December 2012 and January 2013, any email correspondence between you and any other staff of the Attorney General's office and any staff or associates of the following parties:
- The Republican Party of Virginia
- The Republican Governor's Association
- The Cuccinelli for Governor campaign

These records will be readily accessible by your staff in electronic format and so should be sent quickly and without additional fees. Indeed, §2.2.3704(F) of the Virginia Code prohibits the imposition of "any extraneous, intermediary or surplus fees or expenses to recoup the general costs associated with creating or maintaining records." Further, "Any duplicating fee charged by a public body shall not exceed the actual cost of duplication."

Will Cuccinelli comply?  I doubt it.  First, he thinks he is above the rules that govern everyone else.  Secondly, if he does provide accurate documentation it would prove that he is ripping off Virginia taxpayers who are being forced to finance his campaign.  As noted before on this blog I had a close up view of what a statewide race involves, first when my former law partner Mark Earley ran for Attorney General and later for Governor.  There is virtually no way that Cuccinelli can be performing his duties as Attorney General and campaigning at the same time.  It simply is not possible.  He if claims otherwise, he's a liar plain and simple. Cuccinelli needs to either resign or be brought up on ethics charges and removed from office.

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