I just got off a conference call with Virginia Democratic leaders regarding Ken Cuccinelli’s refusal to donate tainted contributions from the “questionable and potentially corrupt” U.S. Navy Veterans Association. To date, Governor McDonnell and Senator Ticer have returned donations from this “organization,” while the Veterans Administration – at the request of Senator Webb – has pulled the group’s page from its website. The VA also says it “will conduct a review of the group as well as a review of procedures used to screen organizations before they are listed on the VA website.” Last but not least, the U.S. Navy Veterans Association is already being investigated in New Mexico, Missouri and Florida, “following an investigation by the St. Petersburg Times revealing that 84 of 85 national and state directors listed in the charity’s tax filings and other records appear not to exist.”
Apparently, none of that is sufficient evidence for Ken Cuccinelli – who launches investigations at the drop of a hat about climate change scientists and other things he doesn’t like – to return a huge, $50,000 contribution he received from the U.S. Navy Veterans Association. On the conference call a few minutes ago, DPVA Executive Director Dickie Cranwell said it is “difficult to understand” why Cuccinelli won’t do the same thing as McDonnell and Ticer and donate the money to a reputable veterans organization. According to Cranwell, “it’s time, period.”
Sen. Donald McEachin added that there are “incredibly serious allegations” against this group, and that the AG should have a higher standard than waiting until a group has been committed of a crime. That may or may not happen, but in the meantime, this group is being investigated by three other states. At the minimum, McEachin believes, the AG should return the $50,000 and encourage the Office of Consumer Affairs to investigate.
House Minority Leader Ward Armstrong noted that Cuccinelli is “not constrained by petty consistency,” being quite willing to launch an investigation of a former UVA climate scientist with whom he “disagrees” on the science. Meanwhile, this supposed veterans organization is being investigated for fraud! Where is Cuccinelli on that?!? Apparently, according to Ward Armstrong, Cuccinelli can spend money going after professors, but can’t go after this group. Perhaps, Armstrong mused, there’s a connection between the $50,000 contribution and the fact that Cuccinelli isn’t investigatin? There’s certainly not the same “haste and zeal” in this case as in the climate scientist situation, that’s for sure, even though there’s – at the minimum – an “appearance of impropriety” here.
Finally, former Hampton Roads Veterans & Military Families for Obama leader Stephanie Marushia pointed out that the longer this goes on, the more it could hurt fundraising at legitimate veterans’ organizations. That’s why Cuccinelli needs to “donate that money now” to a legitimate veterans’ organization, and also have the AG’s office investigate. Right now, this is setting a bad example and demonstrating bad judgment.