Four Days out from the election, and Steve Shannon
still doesn't know the law
|TRUTH-TRACKING the Va. Atty. Gen. race|
Charges of lies heat up race
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - They are fighting to become Virginia's top prosecutor, but the big issue in the State Attorney General's race isn't nuances of law, it's Newport News Delegate Phil Hamilton.
Republican State Senator Ken Cuccinelli and Democrat Del. Steve Shannon are both in the General Assembly, and they serve with Delegate Phil Hamilton. It's a classic case of colleagues politically fighting against each other.
Shannon's ad states, "This is Ken Cuccinelli. He's running for Attorney General. This is his political ally, Delegate Phil Hamilton. Hamilton was caught arranging a $40,000 a year personal contract using state money." Even Hamilton has admitted to the truth of the facts of the case.
The ad continues, "Every statewide candidate called on Phil Hamilton to resign except Ken Cuccinelli." THAT IS TRUE. So the truth tracker asked Cuccinelli why he did not call for resignation.
"In Phil Hamilton's situation, his case goes through the ethics investigation, and then that case can come to the Attorney General. Not the Attorney General's office, but the Attorney General," Cuccinelli said. THAT IS TRUE.
ACCORDING TO STATE CODE: "If legislator knowingly violated any law...it shall refer the matter by a written report setting forth its findings and the reasons therefore to the Attorney General."
Cuccinelli claims the Attorney General should remain neutral. "The Attorney General is the gate keeper in that case. If Steve Shannon wins this race he will have to recuse himself from that matter because he has already prejudged it, and I have not," he said.
WAVY.com asked Shannon about Cuccinelli's comments. "He said it was irresponsible for you to speak about the Hamilton case because you have to possibly judge this," WAVY.com asked. Shannon responded, "If the Attorney General thinks the violation has occurred he or she refers that case to a Commonwealth's Attorney." THAT IS FALSE:
ACCORDING TO STATE CODE: "If legislator knowingly violated any law...it shall refer the matter by a written report setting forth its findings and the reasons therefor to the Attorney General for such action he deems appropriate." "HE" is left up to the State Attorney General and not necessarily a Commonwealth's Attorney.
Shannon also notes Cuccinelli did call for Hamilton to be taken off the powerful Appropriations Committee, where he is the second ranking member. Cuccinelli's campaign re-defined the comment to "take him off the Committee until the matter is resolved, so there is no appearance of impropriety."
Cuccinelli also claims there was a payoff. He says Shannon received contributions from Hamilton's opponent after he called for Hamilton to resign. "Within days of my opponent calling for Phil's resignation he got a $40,000 donation from the law firm his opponent works for." THAT IS TRUE.
Robin Abbott's law firm, Consumer Litigation Associates, contributed $40,000 to Shannon on August 31. The law firm is Shannon's fifth largest contributor to date.
We asked Shannon about that. "Cuccinelli says there's a quid-pro-quo. You came out, supported Abbott, and then you got a $40,000 contribution from the firm she works for," WAVY.com asked. Shannon responded, "Ken is getting desperate right now. He is struggling with the fact Bob McDonnell and Bill Bolling have rejected his position on this, and he's trying to figure his way out of it."
WAVY.com also asked Robin Abbot about the contributions. "The commitment to Mr. Shannon's campaign from my law firm was made long before the Phil Hamilton story came out," she said. THAT IS TRUE. Shannon got his first $10,000 from Abbott's law firm in March before the Hamilton story broke.
Election Day is November 3rd. Stay with WAVY.com for the latest results and numbers.