McDonnell vs Cuccinelli: Governor’s new ABC plan illegal in Virginia?


    ( – promoted by lowkell)

    by Paul Goldman

    “Go ahead, make my day” Ken “Dirty Harry” Cuccinelli is daring the Governor this morning. But to be fair, it isn’t a fight the AG is trying to promote, in part because our “Have Brief, Will Travel” paladin of a chief legal officer is rather busy suing just about everyone else for just about everything not tied down. So it is possible the Attorney General’s legal dance card is full and he will not have time to sue Governor McDonnell should this latest ABC idea become law.  But if it were President Obama, or a Democratic Governor promising to do what Mr. McDonnell’s aides say he is going to reveal later today, then Mr. Cuccinelli would already be giving an interview to some TV station in Virginia, pointing his legal gun  and saying: “Now, I know what you are thinking. Did I fire off all the briefs in this gun or do I have one more left? So it comes down to whether you feel lucky, sucker.”

    Of course, as Tina Turner would say, “What does luck have to do with it?” Or was it love, always forget that one. Luck, Love, lose-lose is still lose-lose by any name. Ironically, Mr. Cuccinelli has kept his powder dry on the McDonnell ABC follies. So the AG has to be wondering what the Governor is thinking now although that makes an assumption in and of itself.

    The latest from ABC wonderland: The McDonnell Administration is expected to announce a plan where the state will lend money to certain entities and individuals so they can afford to buy one of his newly created 1000 special liquor licenses, paying the loan back over 2-4 years.

    Democratic Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw said it was the “nuttier” idea of all those peanut ideas to date, properly leaving open room for a future peanutty idea. However, there is nothing peannuty in the tens of millions if not way more  the Governor’s people are now promising to give FOBs – friends of Bob – to get more special interest lobbying groups to back their ABC giveaway. That’s clams, not peanuts: as in real money, your money.  

    Still, Mr. Saslaw has a point: This is the kind of thing the late Charles Schulz, the creator of the Peanuts comic strip, would have had so much fun with. Play Charlie Brown for a moment: For the last year, Governor McDonnell has been complaining about how he wants the state out of the liquor business. So what does he propose now? For the state to loan money so people can afford one of these special licenses, only the Governor concedes they can’t afford what he has created, so McDonnell is going to have the state take your money, the people’s money, and lend it Friends of Bob so they can buy what you can’t afford, and then take back a lien on that money, which makes the state the legal owner of what the Governor says he doesn’t want the state to own which is why he is creating these special licenses.

    Is that clear? “Crystal” as Tom Cruise said to Jack Nicholson in there courtroom scene from the movie “A Few Good Men.”

    That’s right: Since the state is going to lend the money, it has to protect itself should one of those FOBS who happen to be awarded a license by the FOBs appointed to the ABC Commission by the Governor default on his or her obligation.

    Take your house: If you have a mortgage, who has title to the house, you or the bank?

    Which brings us to Mr. Cuccinelli, who knows a nutty idea when he sees one, or perhaps not, perhaps only when he proposes one. But either way, the Attorney General has been railing across the country about politicians like McDonnell who do this precise thing.

    First, they create a special system of government protected licenses which are handed out by their political appointees serving at their pleasure.  These licenses create an anti-competitive market place geared to help FOBS make money other honest business folks can not, indeed take money away from some of them.

    Then, the politicians running the government decide to give public money at cheap interest rates to these same FOBS can pay for these special license can afford to get these special licenses which have been priced so high to make it impossible for ordinary citizens to buy.

    Moreover, all of this is done in the name of getting the government out of the liquor business because Republicans believe in that and Democrats don’t!

    Let me ask Mr. Cuccinelli: When in the history of Virginia has state government ever done anything like this, and moreover, if it has, when have you have endorsed it?

    The answer: Never! How do I know? Well, I just followed his logic from his law suit brief attacking the new national health care law, applied to the Constitution of Virginia, and couldn’t find where the people had granted state government the right to allow a purely political appointee, serving at the pleasure of the Governor, to spend state money to enable certain individuals to acquire state property in what amounts to a special deal for specially created licenses handed out at the discretion of said political appointees.

    I know Mr. Cuccinelli reads the Constitution the same way or at least he claims too, this is not something the people authorized the politicians to do.

    All power flows form the people, right Mr. Cuccinelli?

    And if you need a plaintiff, you got one baby.


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