Home Virginia Politics Another Democrat Moves to Rein in Out-of-Control Cuccinelli

Another Democrat Moves to Rein in Out-of-Control Cuccinelli

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Earlier this week, several Virginia Democrats (Senators McEachin and Petersen, Delegate Toscano) took on Attorney General Cuccinelli for his outrageous assault on academic freedom. Today, another Democrat weighs in with his own legislation. See the “flip” for Del. Adam Ebbin’s press release on legislation he’s introduced to “curb the ability of the Attorney General to file civil actions without the request or authorization of the Governor or General Assembly.” According to Del. Ebbin, AG Cuccinelli has “abandoned the tradition of good and responsible government set by his predecessors, and instead used his position as a platform to unilaterally pursue political-motivated ends.”  And, Del. Ebbin adds, that’s completely unacceptable: “This bill sends a clear message from the people of Virginia: not in our name, and not with our money.”

Good for Del. Ebbin, and also to every Democrat who’ standing up to our far-right-wing ideologue of an Attorney General.

Ebbin Introduces Legislation to Hold Attorney General Accountable to the People of Virginia

Richmond, VA — Delegate Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria) introduced legislation Thursday which will curb the ability of the Attorney General to file civil actions without the request or authorization of the Governor or General Assembly, arguing that Ken Cuccinelli has abandoned the tradition of good and responsible government set by his predecessors, and instead used his position as a platform to unilaterally pursue political-motivated ends.

“Instead of focusing on enforcing consumer protection laws and making sure Virginia is the safest state in the country to raise a family, the Attorney General is devoting taxpayer dollars and scarce government resources to pursue symbolic lawsuits and other civil actions that serve only to promote his own agenda and political career,” said Ebbin. “This bill sends a clear message from the people of Virginia: not in our name, and not with our money.”

The bill also specifies that the Attorney General may not file amicus curiae briefs on behalf of the Commonwealth or represent the state in matters before the federal government unless requested or authorized to do so by the Governor or legislature.

“The Attorney General doesn’t act alone — he acts on our behalf and in our name,” said Ebbin, “and like any employee of the state, Ken Cuccinelli must be accountable to the taxpayers. My bill allows the Governor to oversee the Attorney General’s expenditures and protects the Commonwealth’s budget by ensuring that the people’s money is spent doing the people’s work.”

Ebbin’s legislation comes on the heels of bills introduced by Sens. J.  Chapman Petersen (D-Fairfax) and Donald McEachin (D-Henrico) aimed at restricting the ability of the Attorney General to issue civil subpoenas under the Virginia Fraud Against Taxpayers Act.

While Cuccinelli is likely to object to the legislation, he won’t be able to do so on constitutional grounds. The Constitution of Virginia explicitly limits the duties of the Attorney General to that which are given to him by the legislature.

  • 2011 Session

    HOUSE BILL NO. ______

    Offered January ___, 2011

    A BILL to amend and reenact §§2.2-11 and 2.2-513 and to amend the Code of Virginia by adding a section numbered §2.2-511.1, relating to the powers and duties of the Attorney General.  

    Patron:  ___________________________________

    Referred:  _________________________________

    Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia:

    1. That §§ 2.2-111 and 2.2-513 of the Code of Virginia are amended and reenacted and that the Code of Virginia is amended by adding a section numbered §2.2-511.1 as follows:

    § 2.2-111. Suits, actions, etc., by Governor.

    A. In order to protect or preserve the interests or legal rights of the Commonwealth and its citizens, the Governor may, by and with the advice of the Attorney General, institute any action, suit, motion or other proceeding, in the name of the Commonwealth, in the Supreme Court of the United States or any other court or tribunal in which such action, suit, motion or other proceeding may be properly commenced and prosecuted.

    B. In accordance with subsection A and pursuant to his duty to protect or preserve the general welfare of the citizens of the Commonwealth, the Governor may institute any action, suit, motion or other proceeding on behalf of its citizens, in the name of the Commonwealth acting in its capacity as parens patriae, where he has determined that existing legal procedures fail to adequately protect existing legal rights and interests of such citizens.

    C. If requested or authorized by the Governor to do so, the Attorney General may institute actions pursuant to subsection A or B in the name of the Commonwealth or on behalf of its citizens.

    §2.2-511.1 Civil Cases

    Unless specifically requested or authorized by the Governor pursuant to §2.1-111 or by resolution passed by a majority of both houses of the General Assembly, the Attorney General may not institute any civil action, suit, motion or other proceeding or participate in a proceeding as amicus curiae in the name of the Commonwealth in the Supreme Court of the United States or any other court or tribunal.

    §2.2-513. Counsel for Commonwealth in federal matters.

    As requested or authorized by the Governor or the General Assembly, The Attorney General shall represent the interests of the Commonwealth, its departments, boards, institutions and commissions in matters before or controversies with the officers and several departments of the government of the United States.

  • kindler

    Any time a member of the government abuses his powers, going beyond the Constitution, another part of the government has a responsibility to check and balance him or her.  That’s how James Madison and others designed the system to work — see Federalist Paper #10.  Thanks for doing your part to kick this mechanism in place against the tyrannical overreach of Cooch.