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Mark Herring Brings Record $1.15 Billion Lawsuit Against Banks for Defrauding Virginia Taxpayers

by: lowkell

Tue Sep 16, 2014 at 12:14:54 PM EDT

From AG Mark Herring's office; great job as usual, and thank goodness we nominated and elected this guy! 


~ Largest suit ever brought under Virginia Fraud Against Taxpayers Act seeks accountability for banks that fraudulently sold mortgage-backed securities to the Virginia Retirement System ~


RICHMOND (September 16, 2014)--Attorney General Mark R. Herring today announced a historic lawsuit against some of the largest commercial banks in the world for fraud committed against Virginia taxpayers during the height of the real estate bubble. A lawsuit unsealed today in Richmond Circuit Court seeks $1.15 billion in damages against thirteen banks that are each accused of fraudulently misleading the Virginia Retirement System (VRS) during the sale of residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) to the state retirement fund. The VRS was entitled to accurate information about the underlying mortgages when making decisions on how to invest taxpayer money and contributions by employees. Instead, these large banks purposefully included high-risk mortgages in securities and fraudulently misrepresented the quality of those loans to rating agencies and large investors like VRS. The securities were purchased starting around 2004, and before 2010, Virginia was forced to sell the vast majority of these toxic securities built on junk mortgages and lost $383 million.


In 2013, VRS was funded approximately 66% by Virginia taxpayers and 33% by contributions from state employees, with nearly 600,000 members including 145,000 teachers, 105,000 employees of city and county governments, and 78,000 state employees, as well as state troopers, local law enforcement, and court employees.


This is a rare state-level action brought by an Attorney General to hold banks accountable specifically for damages their fraud and recklessness caused state taxpayers through a public retirement system. It is the largest financial fraud action ever brought by the Commonwealth of Virginia and is the largest case ever brought under the Virginia Fraud Against Taxpayers Act. The Commonwealth will also seek civil penalties against each bank in the amount of $5,500-$11,000 for each violation.


"The message today is clear. It doesn't matter if you're a small-time con artist or a multi-billion dollar Wall Street bank. If you try to rip off or defraud Virginia consumers or Virginia taxpayers, you will be caught and you will be held responsible," said Attorney General Herring. "Every Virginian was harmed by the financial crisis. Homes were lost, retirement accounts were devastated, small businesses saw their credit dry up almost overnight, and state and federal budget cuts hurt vulnerable Virginians. It will take many more years to recover the economic strength and stability we lost, but I will not allow Virginians to be left holding the bag for the reckless, fraudulent business practices of a few big banks who thought they were above the law. These banks lied to Virginia, and taxpayers and state employees lost hundreds of millions of dollars as a result."


Each bank is alleged to have bundled risky residential mortgages into securities which were then sold to VRS in various quantities. The named banks are:

  • Barclays Capital Inc.
  • Citigroup Global Markets Inc.
  • Countrywide Securities Corporation
  • Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC
  • Deutsche Bank Securities Inc.
  • Goldman, Sachs & Co.
  • RBS Securities, Inc.
  • HSBC Securities (USA) Inc.
  • Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC
  • UBS Securities LLC
  • WAMU Capital Corp.
  • J.P. Morgan Securities LLC (and as current owner of Bear, Stearns & Co.)
  • Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated(and as current owner of Banc of America Securities LLC)

While the banks offered the securities to VRS as stable, solid investments, an analysis shows that nearly 40% of the 785,000 mortgages backing 220 securities purchased by Virginia's retirement system were fraudulently misrepresented in a way that made them a significantly higher risk for default. These banks knew, or should have known, that claims they made about the quality of the mortgages were false, but they systematically disregarded and hid their own evaluations, and third-party evaluations, that revealed just how risky these securities were. The Commonwealth of Virginia suffered hundreds of millions in losses after receiving and relying on this false information.


The banks misrepresented the underlying mortgages in the following ways:


1.      Misrepresenting the loan-to-value ratio of mortgages-- A higher loan-to-value ratio significantly raises the risk of default. Across all banks, it was claimed that only 23.4% of loans were for more than 80% of the value of the property, when in reality, it was 54%. Additionally, 15% of homes were underwater, with mortgages that exceeded the value of the home.

2.      Misrepresenting the owner occupancy rate of the homes--Borrowers are more likely to default on a home they do not occupy, such as a vacation home or rental property.

3.      Misrepresenting the percentage of homes with a second mortgage--This is a major risk factor for default because borrowers with second loans tend to have fewer assets relative to the amount they have mortgaged.


Hundreds of securities that were offered at AAA or similarly high ratings with a 0.00% mortgage delinquency rate were eventually downgraded significantly as delinquency rates of the mortgages skyrocketed, in some cases as high as 75%.


While the losses to the Virginia Retirement System are estimated at $383 million, the law allows Virginia to seek "treble damages," or three times the actual damage, as compensation and to deter this kind of conduct. It is expected that money recovered as part of this suit will be returned to Virginia taxpayers and that damages suffered by VRS will be redressed.


The fraud was reported to the Commonwealth using a provision of the Virginia Fraud Against Taxpayers Act which incentivizes and allows whistleblowers to report fraud against Virginia taxpayers. After closely examining the evidence collected by the whistleblower and finding it to be accurate and convincing, Attorney General Herring is bringing the case on behalf of Virginia taxpayers. The whistleblower, a financial modeling and analysis firm called Integra REC, LLC, discovered the fraud using extremely sophisticated proprietary methods to match-up the RMBS purchased by VRS with the actual mortgages and properties they contained.


The case is being handled by Attorney General Herring's Civil Litigation Division, including Deputy Attorney General Rhodes Ritenour, and Assistant Attorney General Peter E. Broadbent, III. 

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Tuesday Morning

by: lowkell

Tue Sep 16, 2014 at 06:39:50 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Tuesday, September 16.

*Fixing Climate Change May Add No Costs, Report Says ("A global commission is challenging the belief that efforts to reduce global warming would carry a steep price." Another pathetic excuse for inaction bites the dust.)
*Republicans Unanimously Block Equal Pay Bill (Nope, no "war on women" here, move right along...snark.)
*Senate Update: Democrats Draw Almost Even. Is It The Money? (Maybe it's that Republicans are, uh, waging a war on women? See previous item.)
*Obama will seek phaseout of common chemical coolant ("The White House will announce plans today to phase out a widely used coolant said to be spurring climate change." Good, let's also phase out all other greenhouse gases.)
*U.S. military will lead $750 million Ebola fight (We need to address the root causes of this problem, including deforestation.)
*Report: Adrian Peterson Was Investigated In A Second Child Abuse Case (Why is a repeat child abuser being allowed to play in the NFL, and why isn't he in jail?)
*Giving Up on Goodell ("How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.")
*Kaine: Obama Must Get Congress's Backing for the Fight Against ISIS (Wonderful, except for a few things: a) Congress doesn't WANT to vote on this; b) Congress hasn't declared war since June 4, 1942; and c) Congress is completely dysfunctional, couldn't pass a bill to tie their shoelaces in a timely fashion.)
*Attorney General Mark Herring bolsters re-entry effort for Virginia jails
*Virginians likely to pay more at the pump come January (If you don't like it, blame Bob Goodlatte, who has let the Marketplace Fairness Act rest "unmoved in the House Judiciary Committee" for months and months now.)
*Foust reminds voters of Comstock's vote for 'transvaginal ultrasounds' in new ad
*Ryan Nobles Joins CNN Newsource as National Correspondent (The mass exodus from the Virginia press corps(e) continues...)
*McAuliffe and GOP offer plan for $2.4 billion budget shortfall (A serious plan would also look at the revenues side, not 100% at the expenditures side as this does. Of course, this approach will make Bill "ALEC" Howell happy, but other than that...not so much.)
*Tweet by Arlington Young Dems fuels attacks on Warner (Slow news day apparently! LOL. Seriously, though, this is NOT something a Democratic leader should be putting on social media, especially when it's not even true.)
*U-Va. student from Fairfax missing in Charlottesville
*Most livable cities? Arlington is No. 3
*Mayor's office mum on Marshall departure
*A win away from clinching NL East
*Splendid weather for the rest of week

Discuss :: (7 Comments)

Countdown to #MedicaidCharade: Still No Plan from House Leadership

by: lowkell

Mon Sep 15, 2014 at 10:27:11 AM EDT

From the Democratic Party of Virginia:

With special session only days away, Virginians are still waiting for Speaker Howell and the rest of House Republican leadership to show that they're even willing to consider a plan to expand Medicaid and close the coverage gap. Republican leaders have yet to put forward legislation to ensure that 400,000 Virginians have access to the healthcare they deserve – but they have wasted thousands of taxpayer dollars on political posturing.

Even as conservative Republican governors in Arizona, Pennsylvania, Indiana, and Wyoming have embraced expansion, Virginia House Republicans are willing to squander taxpayer dollars while hundreds of thousands of their constituents go without care. Bringing back lawmakers to Richmond without taking action is an expensive political charade, and Virginians just aren’t buying it.

And as House Republicans stay silent on a plan, editorial boards across the state are calling on them to change their tune.  

There's More... :: (1 Comments, 432 words in story)

Virginia News Headlines: Monday Morning

by: lowkell

Mon Sep 15, 2014 at 06:12:03 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Monday, September 15. Also, I've finally gotten around to reading Thomas Piketty's "Capital in the 21st Century," am finding it fascinating (and highly relevant to political battles in this country over income inequality, fiscal policy, etc.), and thought I'd post this interview with the author a few months ago. Also note that the Roosevelts, who are the subject of a documentary by Ken Burns currently running on PBS, would almost certainly appreciate the data and conclusions of Piketty's book. Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney? Not so much!

*This Is What's Truly At Stake In The Battle For Senate Control ("It's judicial and administrative nominations: who gets to be a lifetime-tenured federal judge, and who gets to run powerful government agencies.")
*Arab states offer air power against Islamic State
*Iraqi Leader Asks World Powers to Pursue ISIS in Syria
*The roughed-up American ("The Great Recession hurled incomes all the way back to the late 1980s and early 1990s. Median family income in 2013 was almost the same as in 1989.")
*Paul Krugman: How to Get It Wrong ("The great majority of policy-oriented economists believe that increasing government spending in a depressed economy creates jobs, and that slashing it destroys jobs - but European leaders and U.S. Republicans decided to believe the handful of economists asserting the opposite.")
*An absurd demand by the Air Force ("The Air Force's unwavering demand that a re-enlisting airman swear an oath "so help me God" is so comically unconstitutional that it should make Americans wonder whether the branch's brass is familiar with the document it's promised to protect.")
*Hillary Clinton goes back to the state that haunts
*In Weddings, Pope Francis Looks Past Tradition
*McAuliffe to release details on budget cut agreement (You know this won't be good.)
*Virginia income tax dependence cited in report ("The S&P report released Monday says Virginia is among the 10 states most reliant on income tax revenues." How about tax carbon -- and of course inherited wealth - and reduce income taxes?)
*Candidate Brat figuring out stance, message
*Was the sale of 815 acres by Fairfax City a fair deal or a raw deal?
*Portsmouth leaders running out of patience with auditor's delays
*Nationals beat New York Mets; magic number down to 4
*Possibly the best weather week of the year

Discuss :: (4 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Saturday Morning

by: lowkell

Sat Sep 13, 2014 at 06:32:54 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Saturday, September 13.

*Some Ukrainians eye war as Kiev pursues peace
*The Ferguson farce ("Justice seems to be rigged already.")
*N.F.L. Stands By Its Leader ("What is far more likely is that Goodell will survive the calls for his ouster and go back to doing the one thing he truly knows how to do: Make money for his overlords, pro football's owners.")
*NFL embroiled in new domestic violence row (The NFL is about two main things: a) making money; and b) violence. Actually, throw in misogyny and make it three things.)
*Court OKs voter ID in Wisconsin (And the need for this is...??? Oh yeah, mythical "voter fraud.")
*Police: Zimmerman accused of threatening driver (Just remember, this guy was/is a hero to many on the right.)
*House candidates take chance to make their case to electorate
*Brat, Trammell to debate on shared home turf in 7th District race
*UVa board hears about sexual-assault prevention, response efforts
*Galanti to step down from state veterans services post
*Cities, counties associations ask McAuliffe to reconsider tax breaks, look at service delivery
*Arlington School Board appoints new board member ("Nancy Van Doren, former PTA president, will replace a board member who resigned last month.")
*Juror excused from McDonnell case could have changed trial's outcome
*Expected insurance cancellations latest fuel in Va. Senate race
*After 12 straight wins at Mets' home, Nationals fall in New York, 4-3
*Some showers travel through today ahead of an awesome Sunday

Discuss :: (3 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Thursday Morning

by: lowkell

Thu Sep 11, 2014 at 06:32:39 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Thursday, September 11. Yes, it was 13 years ago today that America experienced one of the worst days in our history, a day that none of us will ever forget. Last night, President Obama made the case for confronting another terrorist group, similar in ideology albeit not identical to the one that attacked us on 9/11. Sad to say, this isn't likely to end anytime soon.

*'Roll back this terrorist threat' ("Obama outlines battle plan vs. Islamic State")
*Strategy to push back Islamic State depends on far more than missiles ("The need for political compromises. Reliance on European and Arab allies. Iraq's army. As one general put it, battling the Islamic State in Syria will make the fight in Iraq 'seem easy.'")
*President who set out to end wars tries to justify new one
*Dick Cheney, still blind ("The former vice president, so expert on Obama's failings, remains ignorant of his own." Like being a war criminal, for instance?)
*Foreign policy's new era ("The Islamic State has shaken public opinion.")
*'Boehner PAC' to spend $1 million for Comstock in Virginia's 10th (Lovely.)
*McAuliffe says fighting climate change helps people and businesses (Yes, but a natural gas pipeline is NOT the answer!)
*McAuliffe defends pipeline support at climate-change meeting (McAuliffe is wildly wrong; Mike Tidwell of CCAN is correct: "There is no question whatsoever that this gas is coming from fracking and fracking drilling vents an enormous amount of methane into the atmosphere - and that's over 20 years, over 80 times more powerful at trapping heat than carbon dioxide,")
*The game is much the same ("The McDonnell trial is over, but gift-giving is still a gravy train for Virginia officials. How would the one surviving ethics bill from lawmakers have changed things? Not much.")
*Pipeline opponents protest as McAuliffe attends Grimes fundraiser in Charlottesville (Good, more of this!)
*So far, the outside money spent is going to help Warner
*Toscano asks, again, about rules for the House of Delegates Medicaid special session
*Veterans voice VA frustration during town hall in Hampton
*Robert E. Lee descendant supports flag decision, Washington and Lee president says
*Casey: Stench around Kilgore family growing
*NFL, Ravens Missed Chances to See Ray Rice Punch Video: Sources (This league is a cesspool.)
*Strasburg, Nats fall short of sweep against Braves
*There's a good chance for a stormy finish to today's sultry weather

Discuss :: (10 Comments)

Flashback to 2005: The Kilgore Clan

by: lowkell

Wed Sep 10, 2014 at 08:41:30 AM EDT

From the RK archive, thought this was relevant given the recent allegations of corruption directed at Terry Kilgore (tobacco commission favoritism, role in getting Phil Puckett to resign and throw control of the State Senate to the Republicans, etc.).  The more things change...

Gate City: The apple doesn't fall far from the tree?

By: Lowell

Published On: 3/26/2005 2:00:00 AM 

This is a photo of Willie Mae Kilgore, mother of Jerry Kilgore, and voter registrar of Scott County.  She is also involved in an election "controversy" (some might say "scandal") stemming from the May 2004 Mayor's race in Gate City, Jerry Kilgore's home town.  In that election, Charles Dougherty "won" by just 2 votes (357-355) over Mark Jenkins.  In June 2004, the election results were thrown out by a three-judge panel and Jenkins became interim Mayor, pending a special election in May 2005.

However, the "controversy" didn't end there; according to the Roanoke Times, "a Roanoke-area prosecutor [was]...appointed to pursue possible criminal charges stemming from the election."  Also, according to the Roanoke Times, Jenkins claims that the office of registrar Willie Mae Kilgore, was largely responsible.  Jenkins is quoted as saying, "If the registrar's office had been run as a professional office that followed the guidelines, this never would have happened."  Meanwhile,  "A second lawsuit claims that Kilgore is an 'active political partisan' who uses her office to benefit Republican candidates." 

What does this have to do with Jerry Kilgore?  Maybe nothing, maybe something, we don't know yet.  It's certainly possible that there's a connection to the fact that Jerry's mother (Scott County registrar) , father (long-time chairman of the Scott County Republican Party), and extended family essentially run a small-time political machine in that part of Virginia.  It's also possible that the many indications of cronyism, corruption, and arrogance displayed by the Kilgore family over the years have nothing - nothing whatsoever - to do with Jerry or his brother Terry. 

Well, maybe we're a bit cynical, but let's just say we tend to believe there's something to the sayings "where there's smoke there's fire" and "the apple doesn't fall far from the tree."  For now, though, we simply hope to find out more from our own investigations and also through tips from helpful readers. 

The Gate City/Willie Mae Controversy: It's Baaaaack!

By: Lowell
Published On: 4/3/2005 2:00:00 AM

Several of us have been having a lively exchange at my post, Gate City:  the apple doesn't fall far from the tree?".  In that post, I brought up the election "controversy" swirling around Jerry Kilgore's mother, Willie Mae, down in Gate City.  In doing so, I questioned the actions of a public official,  given that Willie Mae Kilgore is the Scott County Registrar of Voters.  I also wrote:


It?s certainly possible that there?s a connection to the fact that Jerry?s mother (Scott County registrar) , father (long-time chairman of the Scott County Republican Party), and extended family essentially run a small-time political machine in that part of Virginia. It?s also possible that the many indications of cronyism, corruption, and arrogance displayed by the Kilgore family over the years have nothing - nothing whatsoever - to do with Jerry or his brother Terry.

Well, maybe we?re a bit cynical, but let?s just say we tend to believe there?s something to the sayings ?where there?s smoke there?s fire? and ?the apple doesn?t fall far from the tree.? For now, though, we simply hope to find out more from our own investigations and also through tips from helpful readers.

The Gate City piece led to a flurry of exchanges between writers here at RaisingKaine, supportive readers, and a couple of anonymous Kilgore supporters (or, who knows, Kilgore family members?) who were outraged at our supposed "attacks" -- in the article and subsequent comments -- on the Kilgores.  One of the outraged readers called himself "Addison."  Later, however, it turned out that he was NOT the "Addison" of Sic Semper Tyrannis fame.  He then wrote an apology under the name "Not Addison."

In response, I have the following to say.

"Not Addison:"  I accept your apology as well.  However, I would like to make a few points as well.  First, Jerry Kilgore, Terry and Willie Mae are all public officials.  As such, they often advocate policies which affect "real people."  Worse than that, they are often harmful to those "real people."  Cuts to education and health care?  Very harmful.  Running a corrupt political machine in Gate City?  Certainly harmful to the residents of that town. Executing minors on flimsy evidence?  Deadly to those whose DNA may or may not later exonerate.  Whoops!!

Second, I would point out that the Kilgore campaign HAS attacked Tim Kaine personally, including most recently the sincerity of his religious beliefs!  They keep calling him a "liberal" as a sort of curse word, even though Kaine is a centrist Democrat.  They have hired Scott Howell, (see the appropriately shadowy photo of Howell at left) one of the nastiest, slimiest political consultants around, as their chief strategist and media advisor.  Remember that Scott Howell, as we have pointed out here numerous times, was the guy who slandered former Georgia Senator Max Cleland, a Vietnam War hero and triple amputee, as a Saddam- and Osama-loving traitor.  Hey, isn't Max Cleland a "real person" too?  Isn't calling someone a traitor a bit nasty?  And isn't it a bit hypocritical for Kilgore supporters to complain about ad hominem attacks against their candidate when Jerry himself has gone and hired the worst of the worst when it comes to ad hominem and even race baiting?

Third, I've got to say I'm a bit surprised that conservative Republicans, who love to pride themselves on being "tough" and "strong" and "not-PC," would all of a sudden be so dang SENSITIVE about peoples' feelings getting hurt.  I wonder what THAT is all about!

Finally, let me just remind eveyone here that this is POLITICS, not tiddlywinks.  It's a rough game, "all's fair" and all that if you choose to run for public office.  If you don't like a bit of rough and tumble action once in a while, perhaps you might want to take up another career?  Regardless, what you've seen on RaisingKaine to date, I would argue, is NOTHING compared to what you've already seen and will CONTINUE to see from the Kilgore campaign.  By the way, I would remind our Republican friends what some members of their own party did to Bill Clinton, for instance, accusing him of being a drug-running murderer, among other things.  RaisingKaine hasn't even gotten within one thousandth of that degree of nastiness, and we never plan to.  When it comes to Jerry Kilgore's record, the truth is bad enough!

To conclude, I think I speak for all of us here at RaisingKaine that we intend to continue poking fun at the Kilgores while also pointing out their heinous and irresponsible policies, exposing their cronyism, corruption and incompetence, and rebutting their attacks on our man, Tim Kaine.

Thanks again for your apology, "Not Addison."


Lowell (also not "Addison")



Jenkins: It's not Just About Willie Mae

By: Lowell
Published On: 8/6/2005 1:00:00 AM

Gate City's current mayor, Mark Jenkins, who initially "lost" the May 4, 2004 election against former mayor Charles Dougherty, Jr. before he was declared the victor after voter fraud was exposed, has some choice comments about the Kilgores - Willie Mae and Jerry, in particular -- in today's Roanoke Times.  The main charge Jenkins makes is that, aside from Dougherty and Willie Mae Kilgore (Scott County Registrar of Voters), Jerry Kilgore himself made inappropriate comments when he was still Attorney General of Virginia that "delayed a criminal investigation into the matter."  According to the Roanoke Times:


A July 2004 article in the Kingsport (Tenn.) Times-News quoted Kilgore as saying that while mistakes were made, "no one appears to have done anything deliberately."

Kilgore also said Gate City needed to "move on." The Republican has since stepped down as attorney general to run for governor.

Jenkins said it was inappropriate for the then-attorney general to publicly downplay a controversy that involved both his hometown and his mother, Willie Mae Kilgore, the longtime voter registrar of Scott County.

No one in the registrar's office has been charged with a crime.

But, Jenkins said, "I still maintain that the wrongdoings that have been brought to light by the indictments ... could not have gone on had the registrar been properly performing her job."

Right, in other words either Willie Mae Kilgore was doing her job as Scott County Registrar of Voters, in which case she was FULLY aware of what was going on.  Or, she wasn't doing her job, in which case she is incompetent.  Defenders of the Kilgores, Chad Dotson and others, please take your pick.  You can't have it both ways.  Oh, and by the way, why do YOU have such a "man-crush" on Jerry and Terry Kilgore, and why are you "drooling" so much over the Kilgore family in general?  Seriously, is this the best the Republican Party of Virginia has to offer?  What gives?  Are we all back in 7th grade here, or what? 

Anyway, I'm hopeful that we'll finally find out a lot more about the growing Gate City voter fraud scandal now that Mark Jenkins is speaking out more freely and forcefully about the Kilgores than he had previously.  Perhaps Jenkins' willingness to speak more freely has to do with the fact that someone (Dougherty) actually has been indicted on 37 felony counts of voter fraud in the case.  Also, perhaps Jenkins has realized that, in order to see justice done in this case, the whole Kilgore machine will need to be exposed.  I don't know. 

However, what Jenkins is saying is clearly important.  For starters, it directly contradicts the (false/contrived) "outrage" of Jerry Kilgore's supporters that a) the hubbub is all coming from a bunch of "desperate" liberals stooping to attacks on Jerry Kigore's mother; and b) the scandal has nothing to do with Jerry Kilgore and does not speak to the ethics (or lack thereof) of the Kilgore family in general.  Both of these claims are categorically false and/or highly questionable at best.  Let's get real:  Willie Mae Kilgore is a public official, Scott County Registrar of Voters both currently and also when the voter fraud took place.  And Jerry Kilgore made comments as Attorney General of Virginia about the case, prejudging it and obviously seeking to delay or dismiss any potential investigation of his mother.  This is serious stuff, whether you guys like it or not.  Some of you are attorneys and even state officials, so you should certainly understand this.

Sure, on one level this is still a "small-town scandal involving a candidate's mother," as "one political observer" says in the article. But as Bob Denton of Virginia Tech points out, it's also "a problem for the [Jerry Killgore] campaign...relat[ing] more to the image and the character issue."  Denton adds that:


As attorney general, "it is a risky thing to comment about something in your hometown that involves your relatives," Denton said. "You are the chief cop in the commonwealth of Virginia, so to speak, and to make any statement, good or bad, is risky indeed."

By the way, for those who claim this is all a "partisan attack on Jerry Kilgore's mother, blah blah blah," I would point out once again that Mark Jenkins is a REPUBLICAN.  In other words, this is not about partisanship, it's about exposing CORRUPTION by the Kilgore family and its allies and about seeing justice be done.  And, according to "Jenkins and other critics:"


...the registrar's office has become an arm of a powerful Kilgore family that controls the political machinery of Scott County, a solidly Republican portion of far Southwest Virginia.

Willie Mae Kilgore's husband has been the chairman of the county Republican Party for years, Jenkins said. Her other twin son, Terry Kilgore, has represented Scott County as a delegate in the General Assembly for more than a decade. A third son, John, heads the county's economic development authority.

So, when the Chad Dotsons of the world dismiss the concerns of Republicans, Democrats, and independent political observers about this case, I'm forced to wonder what THEIR agenda is.  I mean, besides winning the governor's mansion at all costs, what's with their "jones" for the Kilgores anyway?  Are the Kilgores just SOOOO likeable and impressive as human beings and representatives for the Republican Party or what?  Is there something else here, like the fact that the Kilgores are powerful in the same part of the state as most of the "defenders" happen to come from?  If not, why would they be so eager to argue that the Scott County Registrar of Voters, who happens to be the mother of Jerry and Terry Kilgore, had absolutely nothing to do with the Gate City Mayoral voter fraud case, the investigation into which continues, by the way?  [UPDATE 10:15 AM: Or, could it be that both Jerry and Terry endorsed your run for Commonwealth's Attorney in Wise County? Not to mention "Taliban Bob" McDonnell.]

I begin to think that they "doth protest a bit too much."  Also, I note their tendency to resort to the first and last refuge of those with nothing to say:  attack the person ("ad hominem") making the argument.  For instance, we here at RaisingKaine apparently have an unhealthy, bizarre infatuation going with Rex McCarty, even though most of us (myself included) have never even met the man.  What next, are you guys going to argue that Mark Jenkins isn't REALLY a Republican?  Whoops, shouldn't give you any ideas!

In other words, how much more silliness, evasion and obfuscation are we going to have to put up with before the grownups take over?  Luckily, there ARE grownups moving along with their investigation into the scandal, including into the role of Willie Mae Kilgore.  Perhaps they should also look into the role of Jerry Kilgore and his inappropriate comments on the case (ever hear of "recusal," Jerry?) when he was Attorney General.

One last point:  if you Republicans think that the Gate City scandal does NOT relate to the Kilgores, I want to smoke what you're smoking.  And, if you think that this is the ONLY reason we Democrats don't like Kilgore/Bolling/McDonnnell (not to mention Marshall, Albo, Craddock, etc.), you're highly mistaken.  We find their ethics troubling, no doubt about that.  But we also oppose their right-wing, irresponsible policies in many, many areas.  And we strongly, unequivocally believe that Tim Kaine will make a far, FAR superior Governor than Jerry Kilgore.  Now, why don't you all try to make a counterargument without resorting to ad hominemn attacks?  It might be an interesting intellectual exercise for you guys.  Hey, give it a shot, what do you have to lose?  On second thought... Heh.


Willie Mae Kilgore: Registrar for All the People or Just Some of Them?

By: Tabitha
Published On: 10/8/2005 1:00:00 AM

For months, Raising Kaine bloggers have written about how Willie Mae Kilgore's actions in the May 4, 2004 Gate City Mayoral election, if not illegal, reeked of impropriety. Today, the Roanoke Times published an article detailing the ways in which Willie Mae has walked a "fine line" in her position as Scott County Registrar of Voters.

The article asks the following questions:


But what if the mother who contributes thousands of dollars to the campaigns of her two sons, plus some money to the party they represent, is also a local election official responsible for registering voters, handling absentee ballots and overseeing the operations of elections?

Is that a conflict of interest?

Sure seems like it.

Let's be clear: the problem isn't that Willie Mae Kilgore has made more than $8,000 in political contributions since 1996.  It is not illegal for a registrar of voters to contribute to a campaign or a party in Virginia, although a manual for registrars published by the state Board of Elections advises against the practice.  Nor is it illegal that Willie Mae gave nearly all of those contributions to her son Jerry, with $300 also going to Jerry's twin brother Terry, who represents the very county (Scott) where Willie Mae is Registrar of Voters.  However, the manual clearly states:


While the law does not imply that a registrar must be apolitical, it strongly implies that the registrar should do nothing -- other than voting -- that presents the public appearance of favoring one candidate over another.

In other words, Willie Mae is more than willing to risk the appearance of favoritism.  Why would she do that?  Obviously, because it is more important for her to contribute money to her sons' campaigns than it is to appear impartial in her officially neutral position as Scott County Registrar of Voters.  The problem is, all this makes one wonder what else Willie Mae Kilgore might be willing to do to get her sons elected. 

Meanwhile, according to the Times:


Last month, a report issued by the Commission on Federal Election Reform was critical of the widespread practice of having election officials with party ties or candidate loyalties in charge of a process it called "the heart of democracy."

Even worse, according to the Times, "Willie Mae Kilgore is one of just two registrars -- out of 134 statewide -- who contributed $100 or more to a campaign over the past nine years."  In other words, most Voter Registrars in Virginia concur that such contributions are not proper.  Fairfax County Registrar Jackie Harris, former president of the Voter Registrars Association of Virginia, is quoted by the Times, "We tend to avoid things like that like the plague."

Supporting a family member is one thing.  However,  as the Times points out, "the $120 Kilgore gave to the Republican Party is another matter."  As Mark Rozell, public policy professor at George Mason University explains:


It's not the amount.  It's the fact that person has crossed over the line and publicly become associated with the interests of one political party over the other. That's the rub.

The article points out another bit of intrigue:


As attorney general in 2003, [Jerry] Kilgore was asked to clarify the extent to which election officials can participate in political activities. 

In an opinion requested by an Albermarle County Electoral Board member, Kilgore wrote that electoral board members and registrars should act in a nonpartisan fashion while performing their official duties.


Unfortunately, as Rex McCarty (running against incumbent Terry Kilgore) correctly points out, "[Willie Mae Kilgore] has shown time and time again that she is a Republican and not a neutral player in the game."  The problem is, a Registrar of Voters supposed to represent ALL the people, not just the Republicans.

Of course, the Kilgores and their supporters will dismiss all these questions and concerns as whining by a bunch of liberals.  That's what they always do when they don't have the facts on their side - ad hominem attacks.  However, I would point out that, when questions about the Scott County registrar's office first surfaced last year during a disputed Gate City town election, the Kilgores similarly dismissed the complaints as partisan potshots.  And guess what?  Since that time, 37 felony count indictments have been handed down against former Gate City Mayor Charles Dougherty, Jr.

And the investigation obviously isn't finished yet, considering that some of those indictments were for conspiracy.  Lawrence Haake, president of the Voter Registrars Association of Virginia, points out that, legally, conspiracy cannot take place unless more than one person is involved.  It seems that Mr. Haake may have unintentionally hinted at where this case is headed, when he stated:


"But the reality is that she's not operating in a vacuum. ... Willie Mae Kilgore couldn't throw the election to her sons if she wanted to unless everyone in the process joined her in that conspiracy."

What an interesting suggestion.  Thank you Mr. Haake, for mentioning it. 

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Wednesday Morning

by: lowkell

Wed Sep 10, 2014 at 06:26:46 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Wednesday, September 10. Also check out the video of yet another appalling example of how horrible Faux "News" is.
*Obama prepared to act against militants in Syria ("The president does not believe he needs Congress's approval for expanded airstrikes against the Islamic State on either side of the Iraq-Syria border, according to foreign-policy experts.")
*War weariness hardens into resolve for military action
*CO2 levels in atmosphere rising at dramatically faster rate, U.N. report warns (Now THIS - global warming - is something we should be declaring war on!)
*Georgia GOPer Complains About Early Voting, Excessive Black Voting (Don't you love it when a Republican says out loud what so many of them really think?)
*2014 New York primary election: Andrew Cuomo, running mate prevail in New York (I was hoping at least Timothy Wu would defeat conservadem Kathy Hochul for LG. Still, both Zephyr Teachout and Wu did well, given their lack of name ID, money, etc.)
*Liberal Dems Are Divided Over How Obama Should Respond to ISIS ("Some progressive lawmakers say ramping up military action could enmesh the US in a prolonged and costly conflict; others are cutting Obama slack.")
*10 Times Fox Host Brian Kilmeade Degraded Women On Air (An appalling human being on an appalling TV network. Perfect match - heh.)
*Warner maintains 22-point lead over Gillespie in Senate race, poll shows ("According to a survey released Wednesday by the Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University, Warner holds a 22-point lead over Gillespie with voters split 53 percent to 31 percent - numbers that are nearly unchanged from a poll taken in January.")
*Va. GOP bemoans the cost of Medicaid expansion, but those without insurance pay (The "actual number of Virginians who will be newly covered by health insurance under the Mr. McAuliffe's 10-point plan is just 25,000" not 200,000 as McAuliffe claimed, let alone the 400,000 he had vowed to cover back in June.)
*EDITORIAL: A modest proposal ("In sum, McAuliffe's proposals provide some help. They aren't a grand solution to the larger issue of how-or if-the state should help those people who can't afford insurance but don't qualify for government aid.")
*Lawmaker impedes state businesses (Our pal Bob BADlatte - one of the worst members of Congress, and that's saying something - strikes again.
*Bitter debate ensues over Foust's campaign ad filmed in a government building ("In what are becoming heated exchanges over ethics in Virginia's 10th Congressional District race, Republicans on Tuesday attacked Fairfax County Supervisor John W. Foust for filming a commercial inside the county government center.")
*Danville to host a Senate debate this fall
*McAuliffe pulls out checkbook when gifts exceed $100 limit (This whole story is cringe inducing and pathetic.)
*HRT: Cost to bring light rail to Town Center is $327M
*Democratic senator calls Arlington a 'soulless suburb' in new book (I love Ben Tribbett's comment on this: "Pretty clear @SenGillibrand has never been to Fairfax if she thinks Arlington is soulless." LOL)
*Cities unite to protect the Intracoastal Waterway
*NFL commissioner under fire for his handling of the Ray Rice investigation (Goodell is horrible, as is the entire NFL. I'm sticking with baseball!)
*Bullpen choices bring needed relief as Nats hold on for win against Braves
*One more surge of summer heat before cooler air moves in for a spell
Discuss :: (11 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Tuesday Morning

by: lowkell

Tue Sep 09, 2014 at 06:24:09 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Tuesday, September 9.

*Support widens for U.S. strikes on Islamic State ("A new Post-ABC News poll finds that Americans overwhelmingly view Islamic State terrorists as a serious threat and widely support airstrikes in Iraq and Syria.")
*The U.S. is right to set out to destroy the Islamic State (No argument here.)
*Carbon dioxide levels are rising at a record-shattering pace, U.N. warns (Humans are utterly failing on protecting our home. A flaw in evolution, perhaps, wherein humans can't seem to react to crises they can't see staring them in the face with bared fangs, etc? Regardless, we need to get our act together immediately or we and many other species are screwed.)
*As Obama Makes Case, Congress Is Divided on Campaign Against Militants (Thanks mostly to the Teapublicans, Congress is utterly dysfunctional, which is why in practice the president can't wait around for it to try and micromanage foreign policy.)
*Leadership wants to avoid ISIS vote? (Using the word "leadership" very loosely, I see.)
*Ray Rice shows what domestic violence looks like (Also demonstrates a really dark side - actually multiple dark sides - to professional football.)
*Someone Is Lying About Whether The NFL Saw The Ray Rice Tape (The NFL appears to coddle, protect, and/or turn a blind eye to domestic violence. Reason #5 gazillion why I prefer baseball.)
*Ben Carson Defends Ray Rice: Don't Start 'Demonizing This Guy' (More evidence that right-wing hero Ben Carson is demented.)
*These Women Are the NRA's Worst Nightmare ("Can Moms Demand Action do to gun extremists what MADD did to drunk drivers?" Let's hope.)
*Dear Dan Snyder: Terry McAuliffe Shows Bob McDonnell How to Take Gifts (If you want to vomit, read the fawning letter McAuliffe wrote to Snyder.)
*Study finds VITA's accountability unclear
*Our view: Va.'s uninsured: making do ("Lawmakers will hold a special session later this month to debate Medicaid expansion, while a neutralized McAuliffe is forced into the role of bystander.")
*Warner, Gillespie talk tech at candidate forum ("Monday's forum delved into nitty-gritty details about cybersecurity policy, immigration visas for skilled workers and other issues important to the tech community, and the candidates generally expressed similar views on those issues.")
*With Medicaid expansion blocked, McAuliffe unveils modest plan to insure more Virginians
*Rebuilding trust, our pledge to Virginia (We'll definitely be watching closely to see how strong and broad ethics reform turns out to be.)
*Surge in heroin deaths prompts call for action in Virginia
*Utility's proposed fee targets users of solar panels ("Appalachian Power Co.'s plans to add a fee to the bills of some solar panel-equipped households drew criticism Monday in the town that just finished a first-in-Virginia solar power drive.")
*Virginia Beach man being sued for defamation over YouTube video ("Michael Wilson posted a video of a delivery woman he claimed urinated in his driveway. The Suffolk company she worked for has filed a lawsuit." WTF?)
*Hampton Roads soaked with 4 to 8 inches of rain
*Flood warning in effect for parts of Peninsula through Tuesday morning, flooding reported on roads
*Man indicted on murder charges in 3 Alexandria deaths over 11 years
*Fister, Nationals quiet Atlanta, push their division lead to eight games
*Another day of clouds and drizzle before sun and warmth return

Discuss :: (7 Comments)

"Governor McAuliffe Announces Measures to Expand Healthcare Services to Over 200,000 Virginians"

by: lowkell

Mon Sep 08, 2014 at 10:52:20 AM EDT

From Gov. McAuliffe's office...not sure what to make of this exactly.  Also see  "A Healthy Virginia" for more. Meanwhile, the Washington Post is reporting that the plan will "insure an additional 25,000 Virginians, a measure that falls far short of his vow to defy the Republican-controlled legislature and find a way to expand coverage to 400,000." I'm confused, is it 200,000 or 25,000 or what? Oh, and the Richmond Times Dispatch say sthe plan "would provide coverage to only about 20,000." Sounds like the key word is "touches" (e.g., "touches oer 200,000 Virginians") and how you define that word. Regardless, the bottom line is that Virginia Republicans - unlike their brethren in an increasing number of states around the country - have been fiscally irresponsible, not to mention cold-hearted, in refusing time and again to expand Medicaid in Virginia. It's truly outrageous, and we should all remember it in November 2015!

Launches 10-step plan that will reach Virginia’s most vulnerable citizens


Today Governor McAuliffe launched A Healthy Virginiaa 10-step plan to expand healthcare services to over 200,000 Virginians. This plan is an unprecedented action by any governor in Virginia history and includes authorizations of four emergency regulations, one executive order, and innovative and creative solutions to expand healthcare to Virginia veterans, children, and families.  


“As governor, there is no greater responsibility than ensuring the health and safety of the citizens you serve. That is why I am so proud to stand here today and unveil A Healthy Virginia – a plan that will improve the lives of more than 200,000 citizens throughout the Commonwealth,” said Governor McAuliffe. “Through my plan, I am taking action by authorizing 4 emergency regulations and issuing 1 executive order that will address urgent health needs and put us on a pathway toward Building a New Virginia Economy. However, these steps are just the beginning, and we must continue to press forward together to achieve better health for all of our citizens.”

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Virginia News Headlines: Monday Morning

by: lowkell

Mon Sep 08, 2014 at 06:28:07 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Monday, September 8.

*When moderates fight back (Moderate - and progressive, if there are any left! - Republicans across the country need to fight to take back their party from the John Birch Society and other extremists/crazies. It's good to see that this might be happening in Kansas and Alaska, at least.)
*Obama Outperforms Reagan on Jobs, Growth and Investing (Reagan also presided over the Marine barracks bombing in Beirut, which was orders of magnitude worse than "Benghazi," then "cut and ran" from Lebanon after saying he wouldn't do that, then got himself involved in the Iran-Contra scandal, then...)
*Hill aims to avoid shutdown drama
*Romney: 'No question' I would've been a better president than Obama (Substitute "disastrous" for "better" and you've got it! LOL)
*Bill McKibben: How Methane Wrecked Obama's Fracking Gambit ("New science shows that in climate terms, natural gas may be no better than coal-and possibly worse." Same thing with the proposed gas pipeline through Virginia.)
*Police intel network targets cash seizures (How on earth is this legal? constitutional?)
*Republican groups show little interest in Gillespie's Senate run in Virginia (Bummer for ol' "Enron Ed." LOL)
*Standard operating procedure exposed ("... with legislative elections looming next year and the Republican brand tarnished thanks to the party's wayward former governor, the political climate may at last be ripe for a reform that is long overdue.")
*Virginia's ethical vaccuum (It's weird, the Post editorial board - Lee Hockstader, that is - is as great on ethics issues as he is horrible on energy/enviro issues and on Democratic primary endorsements.)
*Misuse of Tobacco Commission millions (Talk about corruption!)
*Rand Paul to headline GOP fundraiser in swing state of Virginia (That says it all.)
*Virginia man's claim on African land is unlikely to pass test (This is one of the most ridiculous stories I've ever heard.)
*Portsmouth's revived recycling program crushes expectations (Nice!)
*Nats turn back Philadelphia Phillies ("Gio Gonzalez threw six-plus strong innings and Drew Storen worked a flawless ninth.")
*A cloudy and damp start to the week

Discuss :: (2 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Sunday Morning

by: lowkell

Sun Sep 07, 2014 at 06:58:51 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Sunday, September 7.

*U.S. expands airstrikes against militants in Iraq ("The attacks marked a sharp escalation of the U.S. military campaign as Islamic State fighters threatened to seize a dam that generates electricity for much of Iraq.")
*Obama Delays Immigration Action, Yielding to Democratic Concerns (Ugh.)
*Immigration delay provokes raw anger among activists (I can't blame them.)
*Ukraine's fragile cease-fire is in jeopardy as new fighting reported
*Foreign Powers Buy Influence at Washington Think Tanks
*Schapiro: Conviction alters Virginia's sense of self ("Politics always was a smelly kitchen. The McDonnell verdict is the broadest reminder of just how pungent the odor can be.")
*Where the U.S. Senate candidates stand on 10 key issues
*Va. gas tax hike likely as Internet tax bill stalls ("U.S. Rep. Bob Goodlatte, a Roanoke Republican, is opposed to the Marketplace Fairness Act, which is in front of a committee he controls and would stop the state's gas tax from rising.")
*How the federal corruption case against the McDonnells came together
*Bob McDonnell's self-delusion and arrogance led to downfall in corruption trial (And greed, and stupidity, and hypocrisy, and...)
*McDonnell verdicts spur pledges of reform (We'll see...)
*Quiet GOP grumbles about political prosecution in McDonnell case
*The tarnished 'Virginia Way' ("Convictions of Gov. McDonnell and his wife demand we strengthen commonwealth's ethics laws")
*Whatever Happened to Ken Cuccinelli? ("Like McDonnell, he didn't initially report Williams' presents on state disclosure forms and was later cleared by a state prosecutor of any wrong doing.")
*Full plate for Virginia Beach
*A memorial honors slaves who escaped the South for refuge in Alexandria, Va.
*Former Sen. John Warner meets submarine namesake
*The unaccountable death of John Geer (Unaccountable and unacceptable!)
*Hockey at the ballpark: Winter Classic to take place at Nationals Park
*Phillies continue to own Nats (Weird.)
*D.C. area forecast: Delightfully cooler and drier today; Monday showers?

Discuss :: (2 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Saturday Morning

by: lowkell

Sat Sep 06, 2014 at 06:58:52 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Saturday, September 6. Also, see this week's White House address, in which VP Biden "discusses our continued economic recovery, with 10 million private sector jobs created over the past 54 months, and the work to be done to continue to bolster our economy."

*In Iraq, U.S. gets help where it can ("In the fight against the Islamic State, the Obama administration has had discussions with Iran and faces other uncomfortable facts on the ground that are likely to cause problems in the future.")
*Ukraine cease-fire begins, amid doubts that it will go the distance
*The Obamacare train keeps not wrecking
*U.S. airstrike kills Islamic Al Shabab terrorist leader in Somalia ("The U.S. Department of State had a $7 million bounty on Ahmed Abdi Godane's head and considered him one of the world's most wanted men.")
*Three-year battle 'to degrade and destroy Isil' ("United States asks David Cameron to join air strikes against Isil as John Kerry warns military action against extremists in Iraq and Syria could last three years")
*Bob McDonnell's 'family values' fall short ("McDonnell could have chosen to be a crook without being a cad. Instead, he ends up being both.")
*McDonnell verdict will test Va.'s political self-image, and perhaps change ethics laws (Dick Saslaw still doesn't get it and probably never will.)
*Decisive McDonnell verdict could spur similar prosecutions elsewhere
*McDonnells' marriage defense may have backfired, experts say (Ya think?)
*Law firm bills for staff in McDonnell case topped $900,000 ("Virginia hired a private law firm to represent staff who could have been called in corruption case.")
*Next for the McDonnells: Probation interviews, sentencing ("After sentencing, it's unlikely they'll be allowed to stay free on bond while pursuing appeals")
*Hamilton weighs in on McDonnell convictions
*Barbara J. Comstock, Va. GOP candidate for U.S. House, failed to report $85,000
*A smart natural gas pipeline in Virginia (Lee Hockstader, aka the "Washington Post editorial board for Virginia," demonstrates no understanding of energy, the environment or economics in this bizarre piece.)
*Our view: Republican pill pushers ("After Gillespie introduced his proposal last month, Planned Parenthood officials countered that over-the-counter pills would actually cost women more money - because then they wouldn't be covered under health care plans.")
*Blacksburg, Roanoke in running for $5 million energy conservation prize
*Nats bumble away big lead, let Phillies escape with extra-inning victory (Hopefully they'll bounce back from this debacle - leading by 5 runs late in the game, you're not supposed to lose.)
*One more humid, hot one before cooler air makes its arrival

Discuss :: (13 Comments)

Winners and Losers: McDonnells' Conviction Edition

by: lowkell

Fri Sep 05, 2014 at 10:13:05 AM EDT

Here are a few winners and losers from the the McDonnells' trial and conviction that I believe are worth highlighting. As always, this list isn't meant to be comprehensive - just a few that jumped out at me - so please add winners and losers of your own in the comments section. Thanks.

1. Sen. Chap Petersen: In early July 2013, Petersen called for Bob McDonnell to "come clean" regarding Star Scientific, Jonnie Williams, etc. Petersen added, "If you are unable to explain (or deny) these reports or return the items, then I humbly suggest  that you should step down as Governor..." Bingo, Chap nailed it, at a time when almost nobody else was willing to go that far, and when high-ranking Democrats were angry at him for saying this. Good for Chap for standing his ground!

2. Del. Scott Surovell: In mid-July 2013, Del. Surovell also called for McDonnell to step down, stating that "silence implies acquiescence, and I cannot continue to stand silently." Exactly right: evil flourishes while good people do nothing!

3. Sen. Barbara Favola: Also in mid-July 2013, Sen. Favola said that she saw "no point" in McDonnell remaining as governor given the reports of his dealings with Jonnie Williams.

4. Mark Herring: In April 2013, Herring called for "U.S. Department of Justice Thursday to launch an investigation into ties between a food supplement company that is suing the state and Gov. Bob McDonnell and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli." Nice.

5. Washington Post reporter Rosalind Helderman: Her reporting on the sordid case of Bob McDonnell, Jonnie Williams, "Anatabloc," Star Scientific, Todd Schneider, etc. played a huge role in leading to what happened yesterday. Nice job exposing corruption, malfeasance, etc., although obviously with a HUGE assist from former Governor's Mansion Chef Todd Schneider, who clearly helped "feed" (pun intended) them the story.

6. U.S. Justice Department Public Integrity section/Prosecution: Great job all around -- very tight case, thorough presentation, well-conceived prosecution, and an overwhelming win (in just 2+ days of deliberation).

7. The jury; common sense, American system of justice: The jury did a great job, used common sense, didn't buy the McDonnells' b.s. claims about a "broken marriage" and a "crazy wife," and simply looked at the overwhelming evidence of quid pro quo corruption. Nice job. Also a winner is the American system of justice, which did a great job here, even with very powerful people, in making sure they didn't "get away with it."

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Virginia News Headlines: Friday Morning

by: lowkell

Fri Sep 05, 2014 at 06:35:35 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Friday, September 5.

*BP, Cast as Reckless, Could Pay Up to $18 Billion for Spill (Good!)
*Holder announces Ferguson probe, review of St. Louis County police practices
*Bad news for Obamacare haters: Long-shot legal challenge suffers setback ("Conservatives put everything they had into an exotic court challenge to the ACA, and it's not faring too well")
*Our Senate model is moving in Democrats' direction all of a sudden. Why?
*National G.O.P. Moves to Take Over Campaign of a Kansas Senator (Chris "LaSwiftBoata" to the rescue! LOL)
*Why Do Newspapers Keep Publishing Op-Eds by John McCain? ("Looking back at the Arizona senator's track record, it's hard to see why anyone still treats him as a source of insight into what will happen next in geopolitics.")
*Congressional Progressive Caucus Denounces Erick Erickson's "Degrading Remarks" About Minimum Wage Workers
*Joan Rivers dead in New York at 81 (Definitely not my cup of tea, but RIP regardless.)
*Chuck Todd snags Obama for first 'Meet the Press'
*Rep. Frank Wolf to introduce bill authorizing use of military force against anyone, forever (Yep, that's Frank Wolf.)
*McDonnell, wife convicted of corruption ("Robert McDonnell was found guilty of 11 counts related to his time as Virginia governor, while his wife, Maureen McDonnell, was convicted of nine.")
*'It was a tough decision, but it was not a hard decision' ("Jurors said their verdict in the McDonnell case was based on 'overwhelming' evidence presented by the prosecution.")
*Flayed, demeaned . . . and still silent ("Maureen McDonnell took the role of long-suffering political wife to a new level. It didn't save either of them.")
*The pathetic and predictable end for Bob McDonnell
*Maximum sentences for McDonnells unlikely, but the drama isn't over
*Bob McDonnell's downfall ("The former governor's disgrace is also Virginia's.")
*Guilty: Bad choices lead to tragic fall ("A year ago, as revelations about his family's financial ties with a generous businessman spilled into view, then-Gov. Bob McDonnell's credibility evaporated.")
*Reactions from around Virginia to McDonnell verdict
*Jurors sent resounding message but McDonnells have substantial grounds for appeal
*Our view: What the jury said
*Guilty ("It is incumbent upon state leaders and the citizens who vote them into office to make sure that the future never again contains such a circus of ridiculous excess.")
*Sen. Warner stops at Virginia Western to talk college affordability ("A statewide tour calling attention to student loan debt brought U.S. Sen. Mark Warner to Roanoke on Thursday to a college focused on affordability.")
*Gov. McAuliffe announces changes to hurricane plan
*Independent candidate to challenge Griffith for 9th District seat
*Kilgore proud of projects with Tobacco Commission (This guy definitely should be in a courtroom sometime soon.)
*Fairfax schools chief proposes later high school start times
*For the first time, Nats look like they belong on the World Series stage
*September sauna lasts through a stormy Saturday, then nicer

Discuss :: (2 Comments)

How long will the jury be out?

by: va_lady2008

Thu Sep 04, 2014 at 08:39:59 AM EDT

( - promoted by lowkell)

They (including all of us) also serve who sit and wait. That would include the intrepid reporters from all media who have covered this thing like hawks, and are now sitting.  This likely will take a while.  I think the first Blago jury spent close to two weeks before being hung.  Close to that amount of time before they convicted him.  

Others have other views and opinions, including my husband of 42 years, who once was sequestered in Alexandria on a drug case, because persons operating, apparently, on behalf of the "defendant" had called up another juror and made threats.  Sadly, they didn't sequester the family left behind:  I got a couple of creepy "heavy-breather" and "hang up" calls.

My point is that jurors, even in simple cases, make sacrifices.  In long, complicated cases, the sacrifices are much greater, both for them, and their families. The McDonnell case is long, complex, with considerable conflicting testimony spread out over five weeks, much of it on points of law that no person who isn't an attorney, a crook or grifting politician in the Old Dominion has any knowledge of.

This could take a while.  They had to listen, get the instructions, retire to the jury room, get to know one another, at least a little, so they could pick a foreperson, whose main jobs are to send out messages, referee, call for votes, and I believe, sign off on the verdicts.

None of this is easy.  

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Virginia News Headlines: Thursday Morning

by: lowkell

Thu Sep 04, 2014 at 06:23:06 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Thursday, September 4. Also, check out the "ad" for Exxon. You can substitute the name of another fossil fuel company if you want -- it still works fine.

*Louisiana Judge Breaks Marriage Equality's Unbroken Winning Streak In Federal Court (This ruling is an outlier, and for good reason - it makes zero sense.)
*Justice Dept. to probe Ferguson police force (Badly needed!)
*Rise of Islamic State tests GOP anti-interventionists (In embracing stronger military action, Republicans are undercutting the party's recent swing toward isolationism.")
*No sin in being careful ("Obama's foreign policy is better than it sounds")
*NATO Urges Russian 'Genuine' Effort to End Ukraine Crisis
*U.S., allies to stage exercises in West Ukraine as battles rage in East
*Va. congressmen pushing for stronger U.S. military response
*The Terrible Theology Phil Robertson Would Use To Combat ISIS (Seems like Barbara Comstock's BFF Sean Hannity agrees with the bigoted "Duck Dynasty" extremist.)
*Ex-mansion chef: 'I had to save myself, just like the governor is doing now'
*Day 2 of McDonnell deliberations ends, no verdict
*How long is the McDonnell verdict going to take? No one knows ("One formula that's been discussed among the media pool is that juries often deliberate one day for every week of evidence. In the McDonnell trial, that would mean at least five days of deliberations.")
*Drilling in Virginia's coastal plain could be years away, officials say (Let's try "never.")
*Comstock, Foust Focus On Extremes In First Debate (This headline is a classic example of "both sides," "false equivalence" journalism. Gack.)
*Comstock, Foust continue main themes at Herndon forum (This headline, in contrast, is far more accurate.)
*Sen. John McCain backs GOP Senate challenger Ed Gillespie in Norfolk (John "Keating Five" McCrazy backs "Enron Ed," how appropriate.)
*Pipeline is safest way to deliver natural gas (This is laughable. First off, of course you deliver natural gas via pipeline, it's not like there's another alternative. Second, they admit "fracking fouls groundwater and pollutes the air." Third, it IS debatable whether gas is better than coal or not. Fourth, gas will actually SLOW the transition to clean energy. Virginian Pilot #completefail and #utterignoranceofenergyissues)
*Mayor's Comments on Schools Spark Outrage ("As Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones proposes a reduction in the real estate tax, school leaders are worried it means growing facility needs won't be met.")
*Native American coalition urging broadcasters not to use R**skins name
*In the longest game in their history, Nationals pull off a win over Dodgers
*Lingering summer heat should come to a thunderous end this weekend

Discuss :: (2 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Wednesday Morning

by: lowkell

Wed Sep 03, 2014 at 06:15:00 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Wednesday, September 3. Oh, and for anyone who thinks natural gas "fracking" is a good idea, check out the movie "Gasland," or just do some reading about this destructive, dangerous practice.

*Video purports to show beheading of 2nd American (ISIL/ISIS is pure evil.)
*Post names Frederick J. Ryan Jr. as new publisher (The Post continues its move to the right, as well as its downhill spiral...)
*Senate control 'on knife's edge'
*After Steven Sotloff Murder, Congress Demands a Vote on Obama's ISIS War
*The Man Behind the Nairobi Mall Massacre May Have Just Been Killed in a US Airstrike (Another horrendous, evil group, as bad as ISIL from what I've read.)
*"Either Convert Them Or Kill Them": Hannity Turns To Duck Dynasty's Phil Robertson On Islamic State's Beheadings (Just remember, this extremist nutjob Hannity is a huge Barbara Comstock supporter...)
*Russia, Ukraine agree to a 'lasting cease-fire' in east ("The surprise decision comes as rebels in eastern Ukraine have made rapid strides to retake territory after apparently receiving an infusion of Russian support.")
*Russian bank hires two former U.S. senators (Trent Lott and John Breaux? Why am I not surprised?)
*McAuliffe backs 550-mile natural gas pipeline, disappointing environmentalists
*Pipeline: pro and con (If you understand fracking and energy economics, there's minimal if any "pro" here and a lot of "con" - a tiny handful of long-term jobs, environmental destruction, waste of money on sub-optimal solutions. In sum, this is really, really dumb.)
*Today's top opinion: Medicaid - McAuliffe's turn (We're all ears!)
*McDonnell jury begins deliberations
*Schapiro: For McDonnell jury, it's back to the basics

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Gov. McAuliffe's 9/1 Deadline for Medicaid Expansion Plan Has Come; Now What?

by: lowkell

Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 10:00:00 AM EDT

Do you feel like this summer went by fast? If so, can you imagine how quickly it must have flown by for Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe? As Gov. McAuliffe's summer began (ust 73 days ago, on June 20), recall that he held a fiery press conference in which he blasted Virginia Republicans' "unconscionable" refusal to expand Medicaid. Recall that he also vowed that, in spite of Republican obstructionism, we was "moving forward," and specifically that Virginia Secretary of Health and Human Resources Bill Hazel would "have a plan on my desk no later than September 1 of this year" to "move forward with healthcare."

Well, September 1st has come and gone, and presumably Gov. McAuliffe has that plan on his desk now. So, should we expect a big, exciting announcement sometime soon (this week or next week perhaps)? Or, will the confident vows made as the summer began be quietly forgotten now that kids are going back to school, days are getting shorter, and tempers - if not temperatures - have cooled off a bit?  More to the point, were those vows ever realistic in the first place? Was there anything Gov. McAuliffe really could do unilaterally, with the Republican-controlled Virginia General Assembly firmly opposed? According to an excellent article by Dave Ress of the Daily Press, it sure isn't looking promising. A few key points:

*"With an overwhelming majority in the House of Delegates resolutely opposed to Medicaid expansion -- or anything that looks like it and that clears the way for Affordable Care Act dollars to flow through state coffers -- the governor doesn't have a lot of choices."

*"[T]he policy wonks and state government grunts who he'd normally ask for ideas aren't hearing many requests...'The screaming silence has been deafening.'"

*"[S]ignals emerging from the governor's office point to a fairly modest proposal to whittle down the number of low-income Virginians who don't have insurance."

There's More... :: (3 Comments, 229 words in story)

Virginia News Headlines: Monday Morning (Labor Day)

by: lowkell

Mon Sep 01, 2014 at 06:55:00 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Monday, September 1 (Labor Day 2014). Also, check out that photo of how things used to be in this country, before progressives and unions changed it with much tougher regulations -- you know, those pesky things that Republicans always say we need to roll back because they're "job killing?" Yep, THOSE regulations, like ones prohibiting kids from work in dangerous, dirty sweatshops for 12 hours a day or whatever.

*The Medicare Miracle ("Covering the uninsured was supposed to be unaffordable; Medicare as we know it was supposed to be unsustainable. But it turns out that incremental steps to improve incentives and reduce costs can achieve a lot, and covering the uninsured isn't hard at all.")
*Workers are at the mercy of markets
*Putin suggests 'statehood' for eastern Ukraine
*Feinstein says Obama may be 'too cautious'
*Israel Claims Nearly 1,000 Acres of West Bank Land Near Bethlehem ("The land appropriation has quickly turned attention back to the Israeli-occupied West Bank and exposed the contradictory visions in the Israeli government that hamper the prospects of any broader Israeli-Palestinian peace process.")
*For Gov. Terry McAuliffe, question is whether to be bold or cautious on Medicaid expansion
*Warner: Obama's 'no strategy' remark was 'a very unfortunate choice of words'
*In Virginia, U.S. Senate race unusually low key
*Medicaid expansion holdouts are ideological
*Dorm deportment ("Common sense may be in short supply when hormones are raging, but it shouldn't be too much to require one human being to respect the wishes of another when intimate relations are in the offing. And there must be serious consequences when that most basic decency is absent.")
*GRTC studies Northern Va. rapid transit model ("New system sheds light on Richmond's future for bus service")
*Pr. William announces $5.9 million shortfall for fiscal 2014
*Nationals' power surge continues, but they drop series finale vs. Seattle, 5-3
*Scattered strong storms possible through this evening

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