Dem lawmakers call on Cuccinelli to give up AG post while running for governor

A dozen Democratic lawmakers on Friday sent a letter to Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli asking him to resign his office because he is running for governor.
The letter signed by four state senators and eighth members of the House of Delegates, argues that Virginia deserves a full-time attorney general and notes that the previous six attorneys general resigned before their terms expired in recognition that running for governor creates too many demands on fulfilling the duties of the office.

The letter even quotes current governor and former attorney general Bob McDonnell’s remarks in 2009 at the time of his resignation: “The office is a very difficult job. It demands a full-time attorney general to do the hard work that’s required.”

Of course, in most cases, attorneys general typically slide into a comfortable  jobs at politically connected major law firms — where they are given time to pursue their political ambitions while making salaries that far exceed their public service wages.

When he was elected in 2009, and later, in 2011, when he announced his intention to run for the executive mansion in 2013, Cuccinelli said he would serve his full term.

In a brief interview Friday, the Republican gubernatorial nomineehe said he intended to keep his word and downplayed the difficulty in public service and political multi-tasking.

“I’m sure they’ll send me the attachment of the similar letter they sent to the president when he decided to run for the presidency as president,” Cuccinelli quipped.

“It’s not  a tradition that I think ever should have developed in Virginia,” he added, referring to the practice of resigning. “I made a promise when I ran four years ago… and I’m going to do it.” 

A copy of the letter appears below:
Virginia Democratic House Caucus 
1710 E Franklin St.
Richmond, VA, 23223
The Honorable Ken Cuccinelli
Office of the Attorney General
900 East Main Street
Richmond, VA 23219

Dear Attorney General Cuccinelli,

 As people who, like you, were elected to serve the families of this great Commonwealth to the best of our ability, we write to you today to convey a pressing concern about your stated plan to remain in your office even as the demands of your campaign for Governor of Virginia increase over the course of this year.

 As you well know, nearly every attorney general over the past several decades (including each of the last six), have faced the same choice you face now and determined that running for governor is not compatible with honoring his or her commitment to the people of Virginia to faithfully execute the duties of the office you now hold.

 As he announced his resignation, former Governor and Attorney General Jim Gilmore said, “I have concluded an office of this importance should have no part-time campaigners.”

 Another Republican Attorney General Jerry Kilgore said of his similar decision, “Virginia needs an attorney general who can fully focus on this office, it’s the right thing to do.”

 Finally, before his resignation, our current Governor Robert McDonnell said, “The office is a very difficult job. It demands a full-time attorney general to do the hard work that’s required.”

 The hard work that’s required of the attorney general to keep Virginians safe, protect consumers and small businesses, and offer sound legal counsel and representation to state government demands more than a part-time commitment. That is why we write to you today to ask respectfully that you resign your office in order to ensure that Virginians will have an attorney general who is focused full-time on putting their best interests first.

 At the heart of our request is what’s right for the people we all serve. If running the state’s law firm were not a position that required full-time attention, the people of Virginia would not be asked to proffer the resources to allow you and your staff to work full time without other income. Seeing however that they do pay the Attorney General a full-time salary, they deserve a full-time commitment to the affairs they hired you to conduct.

 None of the undersigned would begrudge you the right to seek the governor’s office this year. Nor would they disagree that your interests are best served by running a vigorous campaign that includes an aggressive travel schedule, hours devoted to meeting Virginians and raising money and any other activity that you deem necessary to achieve your goal. Many Virginians, included we who write you today, would however object to you performing those activities at the expense of the position with which the taxpayers have entrusted you.

 It is our hope that you will consider our earnest request to follow the example of your predecessors of both parties and turn the responsibilities of your office over to someone who can give them his or her undivided attention. The role of the Attorney General is too significant, and the challenges we face together as a Commonwealth are too great to allow the demands of your campaign for Governor to overrun the needs of the Virginians we all serve.

 Thank you for your consideration of this urgent matter.



Senator Louise Lucas

 Senator Mamie Locke

 Senator Ralph Northam 

 Senator Adam Ebbin

 David J. Toscano

House Democratic Leader

 Mark Sickles

House Democratic Caucus Chair 

 Delegate Ken Plum

 Delegate Robert Brink

 Delegate Jennifer McClellan

 Delegate Charniele Herring

 Delegate Scott Surovell

 Delegate Patrick Hope