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Republicans produce document they claim shows Kaine connection to Soering

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Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli released a document that he claims shows a connection between former Governor Tim Kaine and convicted murderer Jens Soering, prior to Kaine being elected to public office.

Kaine, then a practicing civil rights attorney in Richmond, wrote a three page supportive affidavit that was then used on Soering’s behalf. The affidavit package appears to show Kaine offering assistance to Soering’s defense team in seeking relief from a potential capital punishment sentence.

Kaine’s campaign says he had nothing to do with the matter and that document was part of the public record. They say it was not intended for inclusion in this affadavit.

The document filed in 1988, is part of a series of affidavits Soering filed fighting his extradition from Germany to avoid the death penalty in Virginia. Soering was eventually convicted of two first degree murder charges and given two consecutive life sentences in 1990.

In the document Kaine does not address Soering’s guilt or innocence, but instead talks about the legal ramifications of a capital murder conviction. In fact, Soering himself is not even mentioned in the document.

Kaine has consistently said that his connections to Soering were only as governor and it was his responsibility to review requests from the man, and act accordingly. He finally signed a letter allowing the DOJ to review the case so that Germany would be financially responsible for his imprisonment, and only after the country convicted him in a German court and agreed he’d be sent directly to a German prison.

Kaine’s campaign vehemently denies his connection to Soering in this matter and says the affidavit was pulled from the public record of a 1988 case. Kaine served as an expert on Virginia capital procedure in a constitutional hearing initiated in federal court by Virginia capital inmate Joseph Giarrantano. They note that Soering’s name is not included anywhere in the filing and that Kaine did pnot consent to his work being used in the case.

In a conference call on the matter, Cuccinelli conceded that it is in the “realm of possibility” that Kaine could’ve written something in support of a completely different case that could’ve have been used in this matter. However, Cuccinelli defended his assertion that Kaine has not been completely forthcoming for his reasoning for offering Soering a transfer. He said that during their review of the case, they should’ve been aware that a document exisited with his name attached to it, that was used in support of Soering.

The Kaine campaign released the following response to Cuccinelli’s release of the documents:

“Governor Kaine wrote this affidavit as an expert witness in a completely separate case that had nothing to do with Jen Soering. Not once does it mention Jen Soering nor does it deal with the specific circumstances of the Soering case. We’ll leave it to the Allen campaign and the Attorney General to use state government resources to play politics in the Virginia Senate election. Governor Kaine is focused on working together with Virginians to strengthen our economy and create jobs.” — Brandi Hoffine, Kaine for Virginia Communications Director

We will continue to look into the details behind the issue.

Meanwhile, here is my uncut interview with the Attorney General from First at 4:

Here are links to the documents in question:

*Plea of sovereign immunity (references the affidavit),
*The European filing that includes Kaine’s affidavit,
*The affidavit itself (pulled from the filing)a>;;;. Kaine’s section begins on page 12.

Written by Ryan Nobles

July 13, 2012 at 2:07 pm

Cuccinelli files suit against White House party crasher

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By: Ryan Nobles – bio | email

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli announced Monday that he has filed a lawsuit against Tareq Salahi and his company Virginia Wine Tour .com. Salahi has been at the center of many mysterious and outrageous news stories over the past two and a half years. In November of 2009 Salahi, and his now estranged wife Michaele, showed up uninvited to a White House State Dinner for the prime minister of India. They were granted access despite not being on the guest list, which led to a firestorm of controversy.

The stunt was part of an effort to become part of the cast of “The Real Housewives of D.C.”. They did appear in one season of the reality tv show.

The fallout from the party crashing stunt has been all negative for Tareq. It has brought a great deal of attention to his business and charity work, attention that lead to questions about the way he conducted business.  Michaele also very publicly abandon Tareq to go on the road with the Journey guitarist Neal Schon.

Salahi’s problems, most of which were terrific tabloid and celebrity gossip fodder, have now officially become a legal problem.  Cuccinelli and the Attorney General’s office have filed suit against his company for failing to deliver on promised services.

A full release from Cuccinelli’s office on the lawsuit can be found below:

—————————————-

Attorney general announces lawsuit against VirginiaWineTour.com

and Tareq Salahi

 - VirginiaWineTour.com allegedly did not deliver tours as promised, did not provide refunds for canceled tours -

RICHMOND (April 23, 2012) – Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli announced today that he has filed suit against Tareq Salahi and two related entities involved in a wine tour venture for alleged violations of the Virginia Consumer Protection Act, including not delivering tours as promised, not providing refunds for tours they canceled, and misrepresenting reputable businesses as “official partners.”

Salahi and the other two defendants, Virginia Wine Tourism, Inc. and Celebration Entertainment Productions, LLC (collectively, “VirginiaWineTour.com”), offer wine tour services in the Northern Virginia region through the web site VirginiaWineTour.com.

Salahi is the sole officer and director and presumed sole owner of Virginia Wine Tourism, Inc. and the presumed sole member and manager of Celebration Entertainment Productions, LLC.

VirginiaWineTour.com offers to provide transportation to and prearranged tours with individual wineries. The tours offered range from four-hour tours for small groups to week-long charters for up to 45 guests. Tour prices range from $200 to $1,350 for day tours, or more for weeklong charters.  

Based on complaints filed with the Virginia Office of Consumer Affairs and the Better Business Bureau and his own investigation, the attorney general learned that VirginiaWineTour.com has not been delivering wine tours as promised.

The Virginia Consumer Protection Act (VCPA) generally prohibits suppliers from engaging in deception, fraud, false pretense, false promise, or misrepresentation in connection with consumer transactions. In his complaint, the attorney general alleges that VirginiaWineTour.com has violated the VCPA in the following ways:

  • failing to deliver agreed-upon services. Some consumers reported that, often on the morning of their scheduled wine tours, they received calls informing them that the tours were cancelled, with the caller typically citing a vehicle malfunction as the reason for the cancellation. Some consumers never heard from the company again after paying in advance for the services;
  • failing to deliver services as promised. Some consumers complained they were not taken to all of the wineries that were promised to them, or that the mode of transportation was not as advertised or promised;
  • failing to deliver on promises to deliver refunds. When VirginiaWineTour.com failed to provide promised services, it often promised to make consumers whole by, among other things, providing full refunds to consumers. These promises sometimes were made in writing and refunds were not ultimately given;
  • and misrepresenting affiliations with reputable businesses. VirginiaWineTour.com’s web site displays logos of several reputable businesses, including United Airlines, the Bed and Breakfast Association of Virginia, and Facebook, listing them all as “official partners.”   The attorney general has reason to believe that many, if not all, of the entities whose logos appear on VirginiaWineTour.com’s website are not “official partners” with VirginiaWineTour.com.

The lawsuit was filed today with the Fauquier County Circuit Court. It requests that the court enjoin VirginiaWineTour.com from violating the VCPA and that all money acquired from consumers in violation of the law be returned.  The suit also seeks civil penalties of up to $2,500 for each violation of the act.

Consumers may file complaints regarding VirginiaWineTour.com with the Virginia Office of Consumer Affairs.   Complaint forms can be obtained by clicking here or by calling the Office of Consumer Affairs at (804) 786-2042 in the Richmond area, or (800) 552-9963 statewide.

Written by Ryan Nobles

April 23, 2012 at 4:50 pm

Cuccinelli to watch and provide analysis of health care hearing

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20120326-102326.jpg
The fight over the federal Affordable Care Act or “ObamaCare” has become one of the top priorities of Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli‘s during his time in office. Cuccinelli chose to challenge the law on his own, instead of joining up with several other states that filed similar lawsuits.

In the early going, the decision to strike out on his own, brought Cuccinelli and Virginia big headlines because of early wins. Virginia successfully kept the suit from being dismissed and then won the argument at the first level. But as other suits quickly made their way through the federal courts, the Cuccinelli suit got hung up at the appellate level. He didn’t really win or lose, the case was dismissed because a three judge panel in in the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals determined there wasn’t enough information for them to rule on the case.

The Supreme Court, which had already elected to hear other challenges to the health care reform decided not to take up Virginia’s suit.

But even though the Cuccinelli lawsuit itself won’t be among those being heard over a historic three day marathon session at the Supreme Court, that doesn’t mean our Attorney General won’t be involved. Cuccinelli will be in Washington, D.C. for all three days of arguments and will hold teleconference calls after each session to provide his analysis.

Many of the arguments made will be similar to the claims Cuccinelli has argued since first filing Virginia’s lawsuit. Chief among them, can the Federal Government require ever American to have health insurance or pay a fine?

The answer could have major implications for the upcoming presidential election and perhaps even carry over into 2013, when Cuccinelli asks Virginia voters to promote him to governor.

We’ll have full coverage of today’s hearing and Cuccinelli’s reaction today on NBC12.

Written by Ryan Nobles

March 26, 2012 at 10:23 am

Cox on chances of changing GOP ballot access: “zero to none”

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Virginia House Majority Leader Kirk Cox doesn’t like the odds of the General Assembly altering the rules to allow more candidates onto the GOP presidential primary ballot in March. In an interview with NBC12’s Andy Jenks, Cox said the chances of that happening are “zero to none”.

Cox sympathizes with Texas Governor Rick Perry and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who were kicked off the ballot after not getting enough qualified signatures, but said they knew the rules ahead of time.  According to Cox, their poor planning should not lead the state legislature to rush in to changing the standards.

“I think the biggest mistake you can make though is to jump into it and say, Oh yeah because one candidate was affected let us go back and completely change the law,” he said. “I think that makes bad policy.”

Cox is open to changing the law in the future, but doubts that there will be an appetite for rushing through legislation before March. His opinion is different that Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli who assailed the process in a e-newsletter to his supporters. While Cuccinelli’s opinion matters, Cox is among a small group of lawmakers with the power to actually change the law.  The fact that he appears unwilling to do so speaks volumes.

His perspective seems to be in line with Governor Bob McDonnell, who in the wake of the ballot controversy told us that the rules are the rules.

“If somebody doesn’t like the rules, maybe the legislature can change it next time,” said McDonnell.  “But everybody knew this was the rules to compete with.” Extended clips from McDonnell’s remarks can be found below.

But the legislature may be one of several paths that supporters of the candidates left out may be able to take. Former Democratic Party of Virginia Chairman Paul Goldman is exploring some of those options with the conservative “Citizens for the Republic’.  Today on First at 4, Goldman told me it’s not about Gingrich or Romney it is about the voters who will have fewer options to choose from.

UPDATE: It appears Goldman is not the only looking into a non-leglislative solution to the ballot access problem. Late today the campaign for Rick Perry announced that they have filed a Federal Court Challenge to the RPV’s decision to deny him access to the ballot.

His challenge can be found here.

Goldman hopes to reveal his plan to help get more candidates on the ballot as soon as tomorrow.  My conversation with him from First at 4 can be found below:

Governor McDonnell’s comments on the subject can be seen below:

Cuccinelli and Bolling still haven’t talked about potential primary

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By: Ryan Nobles – bio | email

It is something that many saw coming as soon as Ken Cuccinelli and Bill Bolling stood along side Bob McDonnell at the Republican convention of 2009. What would happen if both the Attorney General and Lt. Governor decided they wanted to be the next governor? That speculation is now a reality and earlier than anyone imagined that it could’ve come to be. 

Today, for the first time since the Washington Post broke the story that Cuccinelli was planning a bid for governor, the Attorney General spoke. NBC4’s Julie Carey talked one on one with Cuccinelli. Here is my story on their interview for NBC12:

RICHMOND (WWBT)- Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is speaking out about what led to his decision to announce his plans to run for governor in 2013.Cuccinelli’s original plan was to wait until after the Virginia legislative session, but the Washington post got the jump on his plans. That meant he had to reveal his intentions, before he got a chance to talk to Lt. Governor Bill Bolling.

Now, just short of two years before voters go to the polls to elect a new governor, a potentially difficult political storm is brewing.

“The decision I was put to was, do we just try to put the genie back in the bottle or do we run with it?” said Cuccinelli.

Cuccinelli was forced to make a move after the Post broke the story. He reacted by informing his staff and then the press, but not his potential primary opponent, Lt. Governor Bolling.

“He wouldn’t return my calls on Friday,” Cuccinelli said of Bolling. “It makes it kind of hard to talk to somebody when that’s happened.”

…read and see the full story on NBC12.com

Written by Ryan Nobles

December 5, 2011 at 11:19 pm

Cuccinelli informs staff of his intention to run for governor

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In an email to the staff of the Office of the Attorney General, Ken Cuccinelli confirmed reports that he will indeed run for governor.

Cuccinelli promised the staff that he would serve until the last day of his current term and said that the AG’s position is the “best job of his life”. He also said that he would formally announce his intentions to the media shortly after they recieved the email.

While Cuccinelli begins the process to mount a campaign for governor, the man who he hopes to replace is sticking with Lt. Governor Bill Bolling Bob McDonnell‘s staff said today that while he has an incredible amount of respect for Cuccinelli, he will continue to support Bolling, who McDonnell brokered a deal with to avoid a primary in 2009. Bolling has remained firm in his plan to run for governor, meaning the scenario the GOP avoided in 2009 appears to be invetiable in 2013. 

Here is the full transcript of the Cuccinelli email to staff:

 OAG colleagues,

You have likely heard in the media the many rumors about an announcement of a run for governor.  While I wanted to wait to announce a candidacy until after the General Assembly session, as the rumors swirl, I find it necessary to put them to rest. 

After much prayer and consideration, I have decided to run for governor in 2013.  I have always intended to let you know before the media.  Shortly after you receive this email, I will be sending a statement to the media announcing my candidacy.

Being attorney general is the best job of my life, and working with so many bright and dedicated professionals in this office has made it a true joy.

We have protected vulnerable citizens from fraud, worked to get gangs off the streets through intervention as well as prosecution, saved taxpayers from millions in Medicaid fraud, fought for fair utility prices for consumers, provided our clients with official legal opinions that have never been overruled by any court, and stood up to the federal government when it broke the law and infringed on the sovereignty of Virginia and the liberty of her people.

We will continue this work together until the last day of my term.  Just as I had intended not to resign as attorney general to run for a second term, I will not resign as attorney general to run for governor.  The people of Virginia trusted me to be their attorney general, and I intend to give them their full four years.  I also think it is important to see these lawsuits against the federal government all the way through, as they are unprecedented battles for liberty in our lifetimes.

I am committed to you and to the citizens of this commonwealth to leading this office and making this job my priority.  I have no right to ask the voters for a promotion if I cannot continue to do my current job well.

I know many of you are wondering why I decided to run for governor instead of for re-election.  As so many former attorneys general know from being legal counsel to every agency of state government, this job gives you tremendous insight and perspective on the inner workings of state government that no other job can provide.

Being governor of the commonwealth and all its agencies is truly a massive task, and with only four years to do it, there is little time for on-the-job training.  That is especially true when Virginia and the entire country are facing unprecedented economic challenges, a bullying federal government, and financially strapped citizens who are demanding that we ensure every dollar taken from their families to pay for government is a dollar that is spent wisely.  When Governor McDonnell finishes his successful term, I am convinced his successor needs to hit the ground running to keep the momentum moving forward in the face of federal and economic challenges.

I hope you have known me long enough to know that I do this out of my love for our commonwealth and to further the principles on which this country was founded.  Although I originally expected to serve as attorney general for another term, my job is that of public servant, and I feel that two years from now, I can best serve the people of Virginia from the governor’s office.

Thank you for your dedication to this office and to the people we serve.  I look forward to our continued work together and our successes during the remaining two years of my term.

 Ken

Written by Ryan Nobles

December 1, 2011 at 5:58 pm

Cuccinelli set to announce run for governor

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The Washington Post’s Anita Kumar first broke the story Wednesday night.  Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli will soon announce his plans to run for Governor of Virginia. Here is an excerpt from her story:

Cuccinelli, a tea party hero who garnered national attention for suing the federal government over the new health-care law, expects to make a formal announcement after the legislative session in the spring, according to the sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity so they could speak freely about his plans.

..the full story.. here.

NBC12 has independently confirmed the Post’s story with sources close to the Attorney General. His political spokesman Noah Wall did not return inquiries for comment.

Lt. Governor Bill Bolling, who stepped aside to allow then Attorney General Bob McDonnell to run for governor, has been planning a run in 2013 for some time. Tonight his aide, Randy Marcus said they have not heard anything about Cuccinelli’s plans but what he decides to do or not do, will not impact the Lt. Governor.

Here is his full statement:

“Obviously, we don’t know what Ken Cuccinelli’s intentions are.  Lieutenant Governor Bolling has made clear that he intends to run for Governor in 2013 and we hope that Ken will be a part of our ticket.  We think that would be best for the Republican Party.

 “In 2009 Bob McDonnell and Bill Bolling gave the Republican Party a blueprint for victory and it all started with Bill’s willingness to set aside his personal ambition and join with Bob McDonnell to form a united ticket.  That worked well in 2009 and its the right approach in 2013.” – Randy Marcus,  Aide to Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling.

Written by Ryan Nobles

November 30, 2011 at 10:16 pm

Cuccinelli supports officers fight for overtime pay

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 He is the author of the law that requires municipalities to begin paying their police officers at an earlier rate than what the federal government requires. So it is not a surprise that Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli supports a series of lawsuits filed across the Commonwealth by those police officers to receive back pay from localities that have ignored the law.

Rachel DePompa first broke the story on NBC12 in October.  We followed up with a lengthy interview with the Attorney General to find out why he wrote the law in the first place, and what he thought about the decision of local governments not to follow that law.

As you might imagine,  Cuccinelli had a very strong opinion.

Here is my story from NBC12:

 RICHMOND (WWBT)- He is the author of a law that many local governments have ignored and may now be forced to pay back millions in overtime.

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has no regrets about writing the law that requires municipalities to pay overtime to police officers at an earlier rate than what the federal government requires.

He also is not surprised that some local leaders have chosen to ignore the law.

“The biggest lawbreaker in America is government,” said Cuccinelli.

That’s right, Virginia’s Attorney General doesn’t believe there is a misunderstanding, or a question about the law, he believes places like Richmond and Henrico knew their police officers were entitled to overtime pay at a certain rate and chose to ignore the law.

“There is a state law in place and there is a backstop of accountability,” said Cuccinelli.  “But that local government is going to be driven up to the backstop and the way that happens is in court.”

That is why Cuccinelli supports police officers fighting for their back pay.  He believes prior to the law, Virginia had a patchwork of standards that allowed police officers to be taken advantage of.

“We’ve set policy for employees in Virginia and the policy is frankly is not much different than saying everybody is going to be treated equally,” Cuccinelli said.

read and see the rest of the story on NBC12.com.

You can see an extended clip from Cuccinelli on this topic below:

Written by Ryan Nobles

November 22, 2011 at 7:26 pm

Cuccinelli compares Tea Party to Occupy movement

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How close are the Tea Party and the Occupy movement? Believe it or not, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli does draw some parallels. He believes both are based in the frustration over the power of special interest in politics, government and business.  But that is about where the comparisons end.

Here is his assessment of the two movements:

Perhaps Cuccinelli’s most provocative comment?  (hits at about 2:20)
“I guess if you took away defecating in public, and disobeying the law and not getting permits, staying overnight and doing battle with police. If you take all that away and the intellectual differences than ya, I guess we are pretty much the same.”

But the Attorney General offers areas where they have common goals, including making the budget process easier to understand and more accessible to the average person. He believes that is one example of how people could start to regain trust in their leaders.

Written by Ryan Nobles

November 18, 2011 at 12:15 am

Cuccinelli offers tepid support for Norment as Majority Leader

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By: Ryan Nobles – bio | email

The Virginia Senate is something that Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli cares quite a bit about. Before he ascended to his current post, Cuccinelli spent eight years in the Senate carving out a reputation as a tenacious voice for conservative causes, while at the same time cruising to re-election in his Northern Virginia district. 

So it is not a surprise that Cuccinelli campaigned hard for Senate republicans in their effort to capture that house and that he has an opinion about how they should conduct business now that they have a razor-thin majority.  

Shortly after the election, Cuccinelli warned that his former comrades in the conservative wing of the Senate caucus not be ignored.

“It will be important to see how the conservatives are treated in the Senate GOP Caucus,” he wrote on his facebook page.  “What chairmanships and caucus leadership positions will conservatives have?  What committee slots?”

At that point Cuccinelli did not know who the Republicans would elect as their Majority Leader.  A few days later the caucus tapped Sen. Tommy Norment, a moderate, to the post. Norment was the Minority Leader.  While Cuccinelli and Norment are both republicans, that aren’t necessarily allies.

“Senator Norment and I have had our differences,” Cuccinelli admitted during a wide-ranging interview Thursday morning.

While the Attorney General wasn’t enthusiastic about the prospects of Norment leading the GOP, he conceded his personality may prove to be beneficial when wading the choppy waters of a 20-20 split.

“He has done this 20 years,” said Cuccinelli. “He understands that it is going to be hard to keep that caucus together, not because they are dying to break apart, but because you can’t give up one (vote).”

Cuccinelli is a powerful voice in the conservative wing of the party. He doesn’t have a vote in the Senate anymore, but his support could make life easier for Senators who could face unsettled supporters hungry for their issues to be passed with a newfound majority.  

When asked he couldn’t, or wouldn’t,  come up with another member of the GOP caucus who might be able to manage the Senate better than Norment. Cuccinelli said that he and Norment are both “type-A” personalities which can be good and bad.

“If what you want is kumbaya consensus, type-A’s aren’t necessarily what you want for that role,’ he said. “But we tend to be better cat herders, so there is kind of  a trade-off there.”

And as the General Assembly convenes, conservatives will want their voice heard. If there is a sense Norment isn’t offering that, herding those cats may become difficult.

“I think the necessity of the situation is going to demand a level of diplomacy toward his own caucus, that is really going to push him from a leadership standpoint,” said Cuccinelli. “I expect he will respond. Time will tell.”

See an extended clip from my conversation with Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli below:

 

I also talked to the AG about 2012, the Virginia Senate Race and the prospects for his challenge to the Obama health care law in the Supreme Court. More on that soon on Decision Virginia.

Written by Ryan Nobles

November 17, 2011 at 7:41 pm

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