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Posts tagged ‘Bob McDonnell’

Indicted McDonnell: I Only Did What Obama Did.

Image: Indicted McDonnell: I Only Did What Obama Did

By Lisa Barron

Former Gov. Bob McDonnell’s lawyers have filed motions challenging the federal indictment against him on charges of wire fraud, bank fraud, extortion and conspiracy.

The Virginia Republican’s legal team argued Tuesday that what he did was no different than President Barack Obama trading official appointments for political gifts, reports Politico.

“The President routinely participates in corporate events which lend credibility to his major benefactors, invites benefactors to events at the White House, allows his photo to be taken with benefactors, and includes benefactors in policy discussions with senior administration officials,” McDonnell lawyers John Brownlee and Henry Asbill wrote in the motion, filed shortly after the indictment.

“Politics is replete with examples of major benefactors receiving more substantial government benefits than anything suggested here,” they added.

The motion also points out that Obama has appointed some top Democratic fundraisers to key ambassadorships and has made appearances at the offices of major donors, including DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg.

It goes on to argue that previous Virginia governors have done what McDonnell is alleged to have done but never faced criminal charges.

“Governor McDonnell’s predecessors engaged in indistinguishable conduct, further negating any inference that Governor McDonnell acted with corrupt intent. Virginia law does not limit the amount of gifts that a political official can receive and, in fact, it expressly exempts from criminal prosecution the receipt of gifts with a frequency that gives rise to an appearance of misuse of office,” his lawyers wrote.

“It is consequently routine for Virginia politicians to accept large gifts and donations, and the mere acceptance of such gifts cannot support an inference of corrupt intent,” they said.

The Washington Post’s Editorial Board had its own take on that argument, writing in the newspaper Tuesday, “The ‘Virginia way’ needs some urgent updating; Mr. McDonnell himself said as much before he left office by acknowledging the need for ethics reforms.

Democrat Terry McAuliffe, recently sworn in as governor, has also promised to push for tighter laws. But a bipartisan bill drafted in response to Mr. McDonnell’s troubles is full of half measures and anemic reforms.”

The Post editors concluded, “That’s not good enough. For starters, Virginia needs a muscular ethics commission endowed with the resources and legal authority to pursue real investigations. Virginia needs much stricter limits not just on gifts to politicians and their families but also on campaign contributions.”

“If anything good can come from the ignominy of Mr. McDonnell’s governorship, it should be a state ethics regime second to none,” they added.

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Former Va. Gov. Bob McDonnell, Wife Indicted.

Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife have been indicted on federal corruption charges

Peter Carr, a spokesman for the U.S. Justice Department, says McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, were indicted Tuesday. The 14-count indictment includes conspiracy, wire fraud, and other charges.

McDonnell left office earlier this month after four years in the governor’s office. Virginia law limits governors to a single term.

A federal investigation overshadowed the final months in office for this once-rising star of the Republican Party, with authorities looking into gifts he and his family received from a political donor.

In July, McDonnell apologized and said he had returned more than $120,000 in loans and other gifts from Johnnie Williams, the CEO of pharmaceutical company Star Scientific.

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Va. State Sen. Deeds: ‘Some Wounds Won’t Heal’.

Virginia state Sen. Creigh Deeds, who was stabbed in his home Tuesday, tweeted his first words since  the attack after being released from a Virginia hospital, Politico reports.

“I am alive so must live. Some wounds won’t heal,” the Democrat, a former candidate for governor, tweeted. Deeds had been in intensive care following the stabbing, when he suffered wounds to his head and torso. Police believe his son was responsible; the youth turned a rifle on himself in an apparent suicide.

Deeds finished saying: “Your prayers and your friendship are important to me.”

Authorities are still investigating what happened between Creigh Deeds and his son, 24-year-old Gus, who had suffered from mental illness.

Fox News reports that an emergency custody order was issued for Gus but that there were no psychiatric beds were available.

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

WSJ: GOP May Lose Va. Governor’s Race Over Obamacare Debacle.

Image: WSJ: GOP May Lose Va. Governor's Race Over Obamacare Debacle

Virginia gubernatorial candidates Democrat Terry McAuliffe, left, and Republican Ken Cuccinelli talk before a Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce debate on Sept. 25.

By Todd Beamon

The GOP’s failed effort to defund Obamacare in exchange for shutting down the federal government and risking the nation’s borrowing authority may cause the party to lose the governor’s race in Virginia, according to The Wall Street Journal.

“The blowback from furloughs of local workers has landed on conservative gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli, dragging him down in his fight against Democrat Terry McAuliffe,” the newspaper said on Thursday in an op-ed piece.

The Journal called the Republican effort “Defund Obamacare.”

Cuccinelli, the Republican attorney general, is facing McAuliffe, the former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, in an acrimonious race to succeed GOP Gov. Bob McDonnell.

McAuliffe has consistently led Cuccinelli in the polls, with a recent Quinnipiac University  survey showing the Democrat with an 8-point lead over Cuccinelli, with McAuliffe being favored among women voters.

The vote is set for Nov. 5.

So far, Democrats have spent an estimated $7.5 million more in the race than the GOP, the Journal said on Thursday.

Further, the conservative Heritage Foundation think tank has spent money on ads attacking Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell over defunding Obamacare “rather than playing for keeps in states (like Virginia) that will play crucial roles in upcoming federal elections.

“Democrats are, as a result, well poised in a few weeks to seize back Virginia — giving them another gloating point,” the Journal said.

Further, those legislators who supported defunding President Barack Obama’s signature domestic achievement “managed one thing: to turn the Republican Party upon itself,” the Journal said.

“Millions of frustrated conservatives who were told this fight was winnable are now furious at Republicans for not doing the impossible.”

If Republicans had not spent time battling Obamacare, the Journal contended, the negative publicity surrounding the program’s rollout would have given Republicans leverage in future negotiations.

“The rollout of the Obamacare exchanges has been a failure. Not ‘glitchy.’ Not ‘troubled.’ Failure,” the Journal said.

“Had the GOP not been mired in shutdown headlines, had it spent 24/7 highlighting the enrollment disasters, the flood of premium hikes and canceled policies, the layoffs and cut hours, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius might at this moment be facing forced resignation.

“The GOP might be issuing its own terms for some form of Obamacare surrender,” the Journal said.

“But none of that changes the fact that Defund Obamacare was the wrong fight, at the wrong time, facing impossible odds, and conducted by generals who lacked an endgame,” the newspaper concluded. “Being right isn’t always enough.”

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


Virginia Republicans Break Ranks, Call for End to Shutdown.

Four House Republicans from Virginia have broken ranks to try to end the government shutdown and blunt its expected political fallout on Virginia’s tight gubernatorial race, The New York Times reported Wednesday.

U.S. Reps. J. Randy Forbes, Scott Rigell, Frank Wolf and Rob Wittman have called for a government funding bill with no policy strings attached, which, if approved, would end the shutdown.

The Virginia governor’s race pitting Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli against Democrat Terry McAuliffe may wind up focusing on which party will take the blame for the shutdown, strategists told The Times.

Swing-state Virginia is being closely watched for an indication of which way congressional midterms will go, too. It’s one of only two states to hold statewide elections a year after a presidential vote.

New Jersey is the other, where incumbent Gov. Chris Christie is expected to easily win.

“This will clearly knock out the Republicans in northern Virginia,” Tom Davis, a former Republican member of the House from the region, told The Times, referring to the shutdown.

“You’ll have a lot of angry voters looking for some way to express discontent. They don’t get a shot at Congress until next year.”

Added John Feehery, a former aide to a previous Republican House speaker, J. Dennis Hastert: “If I were Ken Cuccinelli, I’d be calling my friends in the tea party and saying knock this off.”

But Danny Diaz, a senior campaign adviser, said voters know the difference between Washington lawmakers and statewide gubernatorial candidates.

“I think these are voters who are going to understand, OK, this is the federal government, and these are guys running for state office, and I’ve heard from them and I’m going to weigh that,” he told The Times.

Cuccinelli himself drew the distinction during a televised debate last week, declaring: “We’ve got to make compromises to get the budget going.”

But he’s also been an ardent critic of the new law; he filed a lawsuit minutes after the president signed it in March 2010 — drawing support from the tea party as a result, The Times noted.

He’ll be a fundraiser on Saturday in Richmond for a family-values group with Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, who conducted a marathon speech on the floor of the Senate to argue for defunding Obamacare.

The perception is crucial, as polls show the race tightening.

Independent analysts, however, told The Times the longer the shutdown lasted, the more it would play to McAuliffe’s advantage.

“He’s looking for a motivator to get out the Democratic vote,” Larry Sabato, a political scientist at the University of Virginia, told The Times. “When people are mad, they tend to vote.”

Though Cuccinelli has weathered damage from Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell‘s scandal over accepting gifts from a political patron — Cuccinelli took gifts, and then paid them back, from the same donor — the shutdown could upset those gains.

“He is behind and would like to change the narrative,” Jack Lechelt, a political scientist at Northern Virginia Community College, told The Times.

“But this massive story is sucking oxygen out of a limited attention arena. It was tough for him to break through before. It’s only getting harder now.

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Obama Tells Republicans to ‘Reopen the Government’

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Cathy Burke

Ryan, Cantor, and Martinez Address Koch Brothers Summit.

Former GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, and New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez were among the featured speakers at a semi-annual summit organized by the billionaire Koch brothers.

Citing a source who attended the invitation-only event just outside Albuquerque, N.M.Politico reports that participants discussed the upcoming Republican Senate primary challenges to incumbent Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Sen. Mike Enzi of Wyoming.

Editor’s Note: Should ObamaCare Be Repealed? Vote in Urgent National Poll 

But the source also told the publication that no consensus emerged with respect to the challenges — in Enzi’s case by Liz Cheney, daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney.

Politico reported that Cantor and Ryan appeared to have been well received by the largely wealthy audience of Republican donors.

Charles and David Koch’s twice-yearly summits have featured past attendees such as Supreme Court justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, media celebrities Rush Limbaugh and  Glenn Beck, and the late Andrew Breitbart, who died March 1, 2012.

In addition, Govs. Chris Christie of New Jersey, Bob McDonnell of Virginia, and Rick Perry of Texas have attended the Koch’s summits.

An Albuquerque TV station reported the most recent conference appears to have taken place at the Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort in Bernalillo, N.M., which was completely booked. Its entrances were blocked to traffic, the station said.

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Paul Scicchitano

Local Governments Slash Worker Hours to Comply With Obamacare.

While private companies have come under fire by proponents of Obamacare for cutting workers’ hours to avoid complying with aspects of the law, many local governments are finding it is the only way to make ends meet.

Under the Affordable Care Act, full-time workers are defined as anyone who works more than 30 hours a week in a given month. A provision in the act that goes into effect next year requires employers with 50 or more full-time workers to provide healthcare coverage for employees or pay a $2,000 penalty for each full-time worker above the threshold.

As a result, municipalities across the country are cutting workers’ hours to avoid the mandate, and are openly criticizing the law as they do so, reports Investor’s Business Daily.

In Virginia, for instance, thousands of state workers are seeing their hours reduced so that they put in no more than 29 hours a week.

“The Commonwealth of Virginia is grappling with the same issues that many businesses in the private sector are as they struggle to deal with the costs imposed by the Affordable Care Act,” said Paul Logan, a spokesman for Gov. Bob McDonnell.

In Long Beach, Calif., the city is going to cut hours for 200 part-time workers so it doesn’t have to pay $2 million to provide health benefits.

“We are in the same boat as many employers,” said Tom Modica, Long Beach’s director of government affairs. 

“The Affordable Care Act has added so much complexity and administrative burden that there is nothing affordable about it,” said Jared Pope, who is consulting with Texas municipal governments on Obamacare. The City of Plano, Texas, for one, is cutting thousands of hours to avoid $1 million in new costs.

“If we had to provide healthcare and other benefits to all of our employees, the burden on the city would be tremendous,” said Dearborn, Mich., Mayor John O’Reilly, on why the city is cutting more than 700 part-time and seasonal workers down to 28 hours a week.

Healthcare is one of the largest budget items that increases annually due to the rising cost from insurance providers,” O’Reilly said.

Elsewhere in the state, starting this spring, the majority of new seasonal employees in Birmingham are being limited to a work week of 28 hours or less because failure to comply with the new law could result in penalties of up to $400,000 for the city.

“It’s hard to believe our friends in Washington, our professional politicians, didn’t exempt municipalities from this,” said Commissioner Gordon Rinschler. “It pains me to have to increase the cost of our operations to our taxpayers under the Affordable Care Act,” he said. “We simply can’t afford the Affordable Care Act.”

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Lisa Barron

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