Because Ken Cuccinelli failed to report his ownership of stock in Star Scientific in a timely way and also failed to report thousands of dollars worth of gifts he received from Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams, people have raised questions about whether he followed the conflict of interest rules of professional conduct set forth by the Virginia State Bar, which states, “[a] lawyer shall not accept employment if the exercise of his professional judgment on behalf of his client may be affected by his own financial, business, property, or personal interests, except with the consent of his client after full and adequate disclosure under the circumstances.”
Cuccinelli is the elected lawyer representing the State of Virginia. The question becomes, “Can Cuccinelli represent his client (Virginia) while he owns stock in Star Scientific, the company being sued by his client (Virginia) for failure to pay taxes owed by Star Scientific, when he failed to disclose his ownership stake in Star Scientific in a timely fashion?”
The whole scandal is made even worse because the attorney general’s office is the vehicle that would give Virginia’s consent to his representing it. In other words, until he recused his office from the tax case because of public pressure, he was able to give himself consent to stay on the case! It’s the potential for blatant corruption like this that caused even ethically-devoid Bob McDonnell to resign as attorney general when he accepted the Republican nomination to run for governor. We don’t yet know exactly what the FBI may be investigating concerning Star Scientific, Bob McDonnell, and Ken Cuccinelli. However, this we know. No matter how his actions get white-washed or played down, Cuccinelli has shown himself to be a man without professional ethics.
Heck, even if someone accepts his version of the part he has played in the” Jonnie-gate” gift scandal, his incomplete memory of recent events means he doesn’t have the mental capacity required to hold public office. I certainly know that I would remember all $18,000 I got as loot from someone trying to curry favor with me. I wouldn’t “forget” over $5,000 worth. I also wouldn’t take almost a year to refer a reported gift scandal involving the governor’s mansion to a prosecutor, especially if I owned stock in the company being accused of buying gubernatorial access…not if I wanted to ever run for office again. Cuccinelli can’t separate himself from the McDonnell-Williams corruption. He’s part and parcel of it.