I’m not sure what is more troubling: the fact that Virginia’s Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is choosing to waste taxpayer money on a frivolous lawsuit challenging the recently passed federal health care reform law or the fact that he won’t come clean on what the actual costs are to the taxpayer?
In a recent Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request by Virginia Democrats, Cuccinelli chose to hide information on the cost of the lawsuit versus coming clean with Virginians. Well it’s time for Cuccinelli to come clean and stop using the resources of the Attorney General’s office as a slush fund to further his political agenda.
As DPVA Political Director Don Mark rightfully noted, in email earlier today, “as we all know, a lawyers greatest asset is his time and Cuccinelli has still refused to divulge how much time his office is spending on this ideological lawsuit.”
The Democratic Party of Virginia today chose to call him out on his evasiveness and filed a second FOIA request. Nice job, but I’m not holding my breath on the Cooch “coming clean!”
Virginia Democrats File Additional FOIA, After Cuccinelli Refuses to Answer Taxpayer Questions
DPVA: ‘Virginia’s Attorney General appears to have gone rogue’
RICHMOND – Virginia Democrats filed a second Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli on Tuesday, after his initial response avoided answering any questions on the resources expended on a federal health care lawsuit.
Democratic Party of Virginia Executive Director David Mills asked Tuesday for Cuccinelli to come clean with Virginia taxpayers about how much taxpayer-funded staff time was going into Virginia v. Sebelius, Cuccinelli’s health care lawsuit against the federal government. The DPVA’s second FOIA included requests for:
The schedules of Ken Cuccinelli, Solicitor General Duncan Getchell and Deputy Attorney General Wesley Russell for the month of March; a log of communication between Cuccinelli and national Republican political organizations about the lawsuit; a log of communication between Cuccinelli and 13 other state attorneys general who filed suit; communication between Cuccinelli and Governor Bob McDonnell regarding the health care legislation; a list of current Office of Attorney General staff and their salaries.
The full FOIA filed Tuesday is below. In an initial FOIA response issued last week, Cuccinelli’s office had refused to give any information about the resources used on lawsuit preparation. That response is available here: http://www.vademocrats.org/page/-/FOIAresponse033110.pdf.
Mills released the following statement Tuesday on the DPVA’s second FOIA:
“Virginia’s Attorney General appears to have gone rogue. Ken Cuccinelli refuses to provide any information to Virginia taxpayers about how much taxpayer-funded attorney time and office resources he’s wasting on a frivolous health care lawsuit against the federal government. In an attempt to find these answers, we have filed another FOIA request with the Office of the Attorney General.
“Based on his response to our initial FOIA request, Ken Cuccinelli has clearly chosen the path of hiding information rather than openness. Furthermore, we have serious questions about his use of the working paper exemption to cover up political communication with parties outside of Virginia.
“We will continue to respectfully ask the Attorney General to be accountable to the taxpayers who pay his salary. While Mr. Cuccinelli has been focused on scoring political points, he has shown little interest in openness with Virginia taxpayers. He has tried to obfuscate at every turn, while thousands of Virginians demand answers.
“Attorney General Cuccinelli has personally said that he believes this lawsuit is about ‘defending the Constitution of the United States and the Commonwealth of Virginia.’ [RTD, 3/27]. And yet he also claims that this purported all-important battle for the integrity of the Constitution is only going to cost the Commonwealth $350.
“Based on his office’s statements and response to our initial FOIA request, it seems Ken Cuccinelli wants Virginians to believe that attorneys in his office have devoted no staff time, held no meetings, and diverted no resources of any kind despite the priority he claims to have placed on this lawsuit. Ken Cuccinelli can’t have it both ways: You can’t claim something is a priority in your office and try to pretend it comes cheap.
“We will continue asking the Attorney General for answers through the formal FOIA process. But we ask that Mr. Cuccinelli choose the simpler route: stop ducking answers and come clean with Virginia taxpayers about exactly what resources he is using on this lawsuit.”
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