Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli announced today that his office has reached a settlement with a company that solicited funds from Virginians for the now defunct and fraudulent United States Navy Veterans Association.
USNVA claimed that it assisted disabled and needy war veterans and that it sent care packages to U.S. troops stationed overseas, among other charitable work. However, on March 21, 2010, the St. Petersburg Times began publishing a series of articles regarding USNVA that questioned its legitimacy. By the end of June 2010, USNVA ceased operations and its founding director, Bobby Thompson, disappeared amid allegations that USNVA was a fraud.
"The U.S. Navy Veterans Association defrauded people in the name of veterans, and this fraud diverted needed money from veterans' charities," said Cuccinelli. "This office will continue to work with our law enforcement partners at the state, local, and federal levels to find 'Bobby Thompson' and any other cohorts, to ensure that those responsible are held accountable for what they have done.
So, great job by Cuccinelli, right? Well, uh...not exactly. Why not? First and foremost, because Cuccinelli completely omits his own involvement in this scandal, as if his hands are clean. Well, they most certainly are not. Back in June 2012, NLS and Steve Shannon laid it all out. Here's an excerpt from the sordid scandal (one which the media has done an absolutely horrible job of investigating):
Four days after Thompson gave Cuccinelli's campaign for attorney general $5,000, Cuccinelli publicly announced he would attempt to consolidate the responsibilities of the Office of Consumer Affairs under the Office of the Attorney General should he be elected. He later held a news conference to make the same pronouncement, less than three weeks after accepting another $50,000 from Thompson.
Earlier this year, two Republican legislators introduced bills to do just that - to give the attorney general primary authority for investigating and resolving consumer complaints related to the Virginia Solicitation of Contributions Law, which includes the reporting requirements and exemptions for charitable organizations soliciting in the state. One legislator served on Cuccinelli's transition team, and the other legislator - ironically - was recently appointed the state's new commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Affairs.
Neither bill garnered the necessary support in the state Senate. Had either bill passed as introduced, Cuccinelli's office would have become the primary point of contact for investigating and resolving consumer complaints such as the one against U.S Navy Vets.
The fact is, there's a lot of stench here, even if it's never been fully investigated, and even if Cuccinelli responds with 3rd-grade-level playground taunts aimed at anyone who questions him on this. As NLS' chronology clearly lays out, this was "pay to play" if there ever was such a thing. Yet, apparently, "the Cooch" has escaped scot-free from any legal or political repercussions from his apparent corruption. Again, that's a failure of the media to do its job, but also a failure of Bob McDonnell, Bill Bolling, and other prominent, Virginia Republicans to utter a peep about any of this (what are they, afraid of Coochy Cuckoo?). It's truly appalling.
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