Transparency News 8/28/14

Thursday, August 28, 2014  

State and Local Stories

Like many Virginians, Sen. Tim Kaine finds the trial of fellow former Gov. Bob McDonnell a real downer.  “The whole thing has been really sad. There’s just nothing good to come out of it. I do think the ethical laws in Virginia are way too lax,” he said when asked about the trial during his visit to the Apprentice School at Newport News Shipbuilding. “We’ve got to repair our reputation a little bit after this,” he said. Kaine said one approach that might help is the one the U.S. Senate has adopted. “In the Senate, there is an ethics office and you call with a question and they get you answer right away. There has to be a way to get advice right away so you can make the right decision,” he said.
Daily Press

Gov. Terry McAuliffe has “100 percent divested” himself of GreenTech Automotive, the electric car company he pointed to as evidence of his business savvy during his successful run for Virginia’s top office. Thomas Richardson, a Washington, D.C., attorney who oversaw financial holdings for the incoming governor, told McAuliffe was “totally divested” of the firm. Richardson would not disclose the timing or terms of the divestiture, saying only that McAuliffe “retains no interest whatsoever in the company.” He referred further questions to the governor’s general counsel office. McAuliffe’s financial disclosure form, obtained through the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s office, makes no mention of GreenTech. sought a copy of McAuliffe’s latest federal income tax return. General Counsel Carlos Hopkins rebuffed that request, saying the governor is not required to furnish those documents. “My office does not discuss or disclose information related to the governor’s personal accounts,” Hopkins stated in an email. During the 2013 gubernatorial campaign, McAuliffe released a summary of his 2012 federal tax return. His Republican opponent, Ken Cuccinelli, made his full returns available to the public — and challenged McAuliffe to do the same. The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press said it knew of no state that requires full disclosure of federal tax returns by candidates or public officials. Virginia Bureau

The public may soon find out who purchased the Thomasville Furniture site as a result of June’s bankruptcy sale. On Tuesday, the Appomattox Town Council and County Board of Supervisors jointly met in closed session to discuss possible new businesses coming to Appomattox. As cited on the town council’s meeting agenda Tuesday, the closed session discussion revolved around one of the prospective businesses possibly locating on the Thomasville property. The closed session meeting was held at council’s workshop meeting Tuesday night, which was after the Times-Virginian deadline. These type of sessions are typically closed to the public.

National Stories

Chris McDaniel has issued a subpoena for all voting records for 46 Mississippi counties in his challenge of his loss to incumbent U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran in the Republican primary. According to the subpoena, circuit clerks in the subpoenaed counties will have to deliver "original election documentation" to the Jones County circuit clerk's office by Friday. The quest for the voting records is part of McDaniel's court challenge to his unsuccessful bid to unseat Cochran. A trial is set for Sept. 16.
USA Today



Henry Chambers has a point. The University of Richmond law professor who specializes in constitutional issues says voting in two different states on Election Day is an odd way to go about committing voter fraud. Indeed: It’s not likely to change the outcome of a race, and it seems like a lot of work. Still, evidence has surfaced suggesting at least 17 people (of both political parties) might have done just that in 2012, voting in both Fairfax and some Maryland localities. Virginia officials have said they’ll get to the bottom of it. Let’s hope they do. If some people have voted in different states, then others might have voted in different localities. The news arrives shortly after allegations of curbside voting in the race to replace retiring Democratic State Sen. Henry Marsh. Taken together, the two stories raise questions about an electoral process that defenders say is beyond reproach. We’ll see. At the moment, the stories about voting irregularities raise more questions than answers. Those questions are serious, however, and it’s good to see public and party officials treating them with the gravity they require.