Leaders in the Virginia Assembly have written Governor McDonnell, making a formal request that he remove the investigaion of the U.S. Navy Veterans’ Association from the purview of the Virginia Office of Consumer Affairs, and turn it over immediately to the Virginia State Police. The letter, signed by Ward Armstrong, House Minority Leader, and Kenneth Plum, House Democratic Caucus Chair, also states that the “scope of the investigation include all possible violations of state and federal law…. including but not limited to violations of our charitable reporting statutes.” The strong letter resulted primarily from an editorial in The Richmond Times Dispatch entitled “The Stench.” Readers of BlueVirginia.us will re-call reports here that Steve Shannon, Democratic candidate for the office of Attorney General in last year’s election, first made public a damning time line of now-Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s relationship with the U.S. Navy Veteran’s Association. Read the letter below the fold:
Commonwealth of Virginia
House of Delegates
June 28, 2010
The Honorable Robert F. McDonnell
Patrick Henry Building, Third Floor
1111 E. Broad Street
Richmond, VA 23219
As you are aware, serious questions have arisen as to activities of an organization called the “U.S. Navy Veterans’ Association” and its purported founder, Mr. Bobby Thompson. The issues raised have to do with whether the Association was truly engaged in charitable solicitation and whether any of their solicitations and activities in the Commonwealth may have been fraudulent or illegal.
Yesterday an editorial appeared in the Richmond Times Dispatch entitled “The Stench” which also raised the grave issue of whether the U.S. Navy Veterans’ Association exerted or attempted to exert undue influence on a candidate for state office in an attempt to counter an adverse ruling by Virginia’s Office of Consumer Affairs regarding the Association’s charitable exemption reporting status. This new development is also troubling to us.
We know that on May 27, 2010, the Virginia Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry, Todd Haymore, announced that the Virginia Office of Consumer Affairs will investigate whether the organization violated Virginia’s charitable solicitation law. Yet the facts set forth in the Times Dispatch editorial and other newspaper accounts suggest that the Association may be in violation of more than the Virginia Solicitation of Contributions Law.
Because we are dealing with potential criminal misconduct outside the jurisdictional purview of the Virginia Office of Consumer Affairs, we request that you immediately redirect the investigation to the Virginia State Police and that the scope of the investigation include all possible violations of state and federal law occurring in the Commonwealth of Virginia, including, but not limited to violations of our charitable reporting statutes. Of course any violations of federal law would require the additional involvement of federal authorities.
In order to ensure that the investigation is unencumbered, we further request that you direct the Virginia State Police not to coordinate the investigation with the Office of the Attorney General at this time.
With kindest personal regards, we are
Ward L. Armstrong Kenneth R, Plum
House Minority Leader House Democratic