Saturday, September 21, 2013

Consol Energy: Ken Cuccinelli Seeks to Paint His Assistant AG As Rogue Agent

Not surprisingly, Ken Cuccinelli is striving desperately to depict Senior Assistant Attorney General Sharon Pigeon - who improperly aided Consol Energy affiliated litigants in a lawsuit against Virginia landowners - as a rouge operative who needs to be thrown under the bus.  Having had numerous dealings  with the Attorney General's office - and a former law partner who was Virginia Attorney General - I find it incredible that Ms. Pigeon would have engaged in such extensive assistance to energy company litigants on her own.  Stated more directly, I can only conclude that Cuccinelli is lying to try to save his sorry ass.  He apparently believes that all Virginia voters are gullible cretins (he obviously needs to spend less time in the GOP/The Family Foundation bubble).  The Roanoke Times looks at the fairy tale that Cuccinelli is trying to spin.  Here are highlights:

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s office is distancing itself from the staffer who in a series of emails appears to have advised energy company lawyers in their defense of an ongoing lawsuit over natural gas royalties in Southwest Virginia.

Senior Assistant Sharon Pigeon “was not writing the emails at the direction of anyone in Richmond,” Cuccinelli spokesman Brian Gottstein wrote in a recent email to the Bristol Herald Courier.
Pigeon is now barred from further discussing with corporate lawyers their federal battle against regional landowners seeking gas royalties, Gottstein wrote, and her job of scrutinizing the cases’ potential impact on Virginia’s gas drilling laws has been handed to someone else.

The attorney general’s spokesman, when asked Friday to clarify what working outside the Richmond headquarters had to do with the emails, replied that he will no longer answer the newspaper’s questions because of the way it has covered the story.

“I’m not dealing with you anymore,” he wrote.

Pigeon is the legal adviser to the Lebanon-based Virginia Gas and Oil Board, which oversees the state-mandated escrow account now holding at least $30 million in disputed natural gas royalties. She swapped at least 52 emails from 2010 through 2012 with attorneys representing CNX Gas and EQT Production in their fight against regional landowners seeking those royalties.

A Herald Courier review of those emails shows that Pigeon suggested such courtroom tactics as combating a likely information request to discover other landowners who were owed royalties, as well as countering arguments against the amount of royalty proceeds they sought.

Her electronic messages — and questions about the relationship between the state’s highest legal office and corporate energy lawyers — have become a hot topic in the state’s gubernatorial race. Cuccinelli is the Republican candidate running against Democrat Terry McAuliffe.

Adding to the debate is the role that CNX parent company CONSOL Energy has as one of the top financial contributors to Cuccinelli’s campaign. The company has dropped $140,044 into his campaign since he took over the AG’s office in 2010, according to campaign watchdog Virginia Public Access Project.

Cuccinelli defends Pigeon’s dealings with energy company lawyers as “overzealous” . . . . 

[C]onstitutional law expert Carl Tobias, of the University of Richmond School of Law, questions the contents of Pigeon’s emails and how they appear to offer legal help.  “It’s not in good judgment to be helping one side or the other,” Tobias said. “In this case, it’s sounding like she’s helping the defendants.”

Again, I find Cuccinelli's story line to be  unbelievable.  Like most Christofascists, Cuccinelli believes that the Commandment against lying and bearing false witness does not apply to him.

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