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Ken Cuccinelli

Incumbent
Assumed office 
January 16, 2010
Preceded by Bill Mims

Member of the Virginia Senate
from the 37th district
In office
August 2002 – January 12, 2010
Preceded by Warren Barry
Succeeded by David W. Marsden

Born July 30, 1968 (1968-07-30) (age 41)
Edison, New Jersey
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Alice Monteiro 'Teiro' Cuccinelli
Residence Fairfax County, Virginia
Alma mater University of Virginia
George Mason University
George Mason University School of Law
Profession Litigation & Business Attorney
Religion Roman Catholic
Website www.cuccinelli.com

Kenneth T. 'Ken' Cuccinelli II (born July 30, 1968) is a U.S. politician and the Attorney General of Virginia.[1] From 2002 until January 16, 2010 he was a Republican member of the Senate of Virginia, representing the 37th district in Fairfax County.[2] [3] He was the 2009 Republican candidate for Attorney General,[4] won the election in November 2009[5] against Democrat Steve Shannon, and took office as Virginia's Attorney General in January 2010.

Contents

Personal life; career outside politics

Cuccinelli was born in Edison, New Jersey. He graduated from Gonzaga College High School in 1986, and received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Virginia, a J.D. degree from George Mason University School of Law, and an M.A. in International Commerce and Policy from George Mason University.[6]

Cuccinelli has served on a number of state commissions, including:[7]

  • Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Project
  • Public / Private Partnership Advisory Commission
  • Commission on the Prevention of Human Trafficking
  • Joint Subcommittee to Study Liability Protections for Health Care Providers
  • Virginia Supreme Court Commission on Mental Health in the Justice System

Political career

While a 4th year student during the 1989-1990 academic year at the University of Virginia, Cuccinelli served on the University's Judiciary Committee.

Cuccinelli was elected to the Senate in an August 2002 special election after his predecessor, Republican Warren Barry, resigned to take a seat on the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Board.[8] Cuccinelli was reelected in 2003 and 2007, with the latter race being close enough to require a recount. Cuccinelli would go on to win by a margin of 98 votes out of about 37,000 cast.[9]

In the Senate Cuccinelli sat on the Courts of Justice, Local Government, Rehabilitation and Social Services, and Transportation Committees.[2] During his time in the Senate Cuccinelli took conservative positions on issues including abortion, gay marriage, illegal immigration, taxes, government spending, property rights, and the second amendment, while advocating on behalf of law enforcement and increased care for the mentally disabled.[10]

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Pro-Life/Abortion

Cuccinelli is pro-life, endorsed by the Republican National Coalition for Life. [11] In November 2008 he was named the Family Foundation “Legislator of the Year.”[12] Cuccinelli has sponsored a number of bills to discourage abortions, including requiring doctors to anesthetize fetuses, [13] altering the licensing and regulation of abortion clinics, [14] requiring that a doctor save the fetal tissue when performing an abortion on a woman under age 15 for forensic use. [15]

Immigration

During his Senate career, Cuccinelli introduced bills to amend the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution to revoke citizenship rights for children of undocumented immigrants who are born in the U.S., [16] to allow businesses to sue others that hire undocumented immigrants, [17] and to establish inability to speak English in the workplace as cause for disqualification to receive unemployment benefits. [18]

Second Amendment/gun rights

Cuccinelli’s support of the Second Amendment brought him an endorsement by the NRA.[19] He has sponsored legislation to repeal the prohibition on carrying a concealed handgun in a restaurant or club, [20] for Virginia to recognize concealed handgun permits from other states, [21] to shield concealed handgun permit application data from Freedom of Information Act requests, [22] and to prevent disqualification for a handgun permit based on a sworn, written statement from a law enforcement official that the applicant is likely to use a weapon unlawfully to endanger others. Under Cuccinelli’s proposal a person could only be disqualified for such a permit by a court ruling based on the applicant’s past actions. [23] In the 2009 legislative session, Cuccinelli introduced and won passage of bill that, for the purposes of granting a Virginia concealed handgun permit, requires the state to accept as proof of "handgun competence" any certificate from an online handgun safety course featuring an NRA-certified instructor. [24] One effect of the bill is that it allows someone who has never touched a handgun before to obtain a concealed carry permit.

Taxes

Cuccinelli is an anti-tax conservative. He helped lead an unsuccessful campaign to stop Mark Warner’s 2004 budget.[25] In 2006 Cuccinelli sent out a fundraising letter that criticized the Virginia Senate’s Republican majority for passing a gas tax. The letter elicited rebuke from fellow Republican Tommy Norment. [26]

Eminent domain

In the 2005, 2006 and 2007 Legislative Sessions, Cuccinelli worked to pass eminent domain laws that now prevent local and state governments from taking private homes and businesses for developers’ projects. [27]

Law enforcement

In 2005 Cuccinelli helped pass legislation that provided law enforcement officers are entitled to overtime pay from local governments for hours worked while on vacation or any other form of leave.[28].

Sex education

In 2005 Cuccinelli claimed a George Mason University event which explored issues of safe sex, date rape and sexual health was “designed to push sex and sexual libertine behavior as far, fast and furiously as possible” and promote “every type of sexual promiscuity you can imagine.” [29]

Gay rights

In 2004, Cuccinelli stated "homosexuality is wrong"[30] and during his 2009 campaign for attorney general opposed a nondiscrimination policy against gays and lesbians and stated about homosexual acts: "I happen to think that it represents (to put it politely; I need my thesaurus to be polite) behavior that is not healthy to an individual and in aggregate is not healthy to society."[31] More directly, Cuccinelli said that “homosexual acts are wrong” and that “in a natural law based country it’s appropriate to have policies that reflect that.” [32]

On March 4, 2010, one month after Governor Bob McDonnell issued an Executive Order which did not include protections for gays and lesbians employed by the Commonwealth, Cuccinelli issued a letter to Virginia's public colleges and universities that said, in part, “It is my advice that the law and public policy of the Commonwealth of Virginia prohibit a college or university from including 'sexual orientation,' 'gender identity,' 'gender expression,' or like classification as a protected class within its non-discrimination policy absent specific authorization from the General Assembly,”

And he advised the schools should “take appropriate actions to bring their policies in conformance with the law and public policy of Virginia.” [33]

After the University of Virginia and Virginia Commonwealth University, on March 10, 2010, McDonnell issued a directive, which merely carries force of office, not law, to all state agency heads that protects gays and lesbians from being fired for their sexual orientation.[34][35]

2009 Attorney General Election

On May 30th, 2009 delegates at a state convention, rather than voters in a primary, selected Cuccinelli over two other candidates to become the Republican nominee for Attorney General. [36] In the November 2009 general election, Cuccinelli obtained 58% of the vote (1,123,816 votes) to Steve Shannon's 42% (828,221 votes).

Endorsements

In addition to the NRA and Republican National Coalition for Life, Cuccinelli was endorsed by Mike Huckabee, Ron Paul, Fred Thompson, Morton Blackwell, William A. Zimmerman, Virginia Citizens Defense League PAC, Virginia Shooting Sports Association, Eagle Forum PAC, Congressman Rob Wittman, the Republican Liberty Caucus of Virginia, the Lincoln, Douglass & Washington Society, the National Federation of Independent Business, the Virginia Farm Bureau, and the Virginia Fraternal Order of Police. [11]

Cuccinelli received editorial board endorsements from the Richmond Times-Dispatch, [37] The Daily Progress, [38] and Culpeper Star-Exponent. [39] The Daily Progress based their endorsement on Cuccinelli’s “mature, considered, and well-balanced approach,” while the Star-Exponent gave a “slight edge to Cuccinelli for his proactive solutions, legal expertise, fighting disposition and strong conservative moorings.”

However, many of the papers who chose not to endorse Cuccinelli were extremely critical of his right-wing views, particularly his refusal to commit to a non-discrimination policy. According to the Virginian Pilot, “Cuccinelli’s election would bring embarrassment to Virginia, instability to the state’s law firm and untold harm to the long list of people who don’t fit his personal definition of morality.” [32] The Washington Post echoed a similar sentiment, writing, “given his bizarre ideas, he would very likely become an embarrassment for the commonwealth” in an editorial titled "Mr. Cuccinelli's Bigotry" [40]

Attorney General of Virginia

On November 5, 2009 Cuccinelli announced the members and goals of his transition team. Co-Chairing the transition will be Richard Cullen, Pat McSweeney, Andy Miller, and Bernie McNamee. Cullen is former Attorney General of Virginia, former United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and now Chairman of the law firm of McGuireWoods LLP. McSweeney leads the law firm of McSweeney, Crump, Childress and Temple; he has served as Chairman, Republican Party of Virginia; Executive Director of Commission on State Governmental Management; and Acting Assistant Attorney General, U.S. Department of Justice. Miller is former Attorney General of Virginia and is now with the law firm of Hunton & Williams. McNamee will serve as the transition's executive director. He has served three previous Attorneys General, as Chief Deputy to Attorney General Judy Jagdmann, Chief Counsel to Attorney General Jerry Kilgore, Deputy Attorney General to Randolph Beales. Bernie is currently a partner at McGuireWoods.[41]

Two weeks after taking office, Cuccinelli drew cricitism for continuing to represent a private client in a court proceeding.[42]

On February 16, 2010, Cuccinelli filed at the United States Environmental Protection Agency a request to reopen its proceeding regarding EPA's finding that greenhouse gases endanger public health. He also sought judicial review of EPA's finding in federal court. As a result, Virginia joins Alabama and Texas as the only states seeking to attack the EPA's actions. His press statement explained, "We cannot allow unelected bureaucrats with political agendas to use falsified data to regulate American industry and drive our economy into the ground.”[43]

On March 4, 2010, Cuccinelli sent a letter[44] to public colleges and universities in the Commonwealth stating that, in his opinion as Attorney General, Virginia law and public policy prohibit such schools from including sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression in any non-discrimination policy. The letter was condemned by former Republican member of the House of Delegates Vincent F. Callahan, Jr. Callahan, who currently sits on the Board of Visitors for George Mason University, said Cuccinelli's statement was "reprehensible". Despite the controversy, Cuccinelli stood by his letter, correctly citing that state universities are governed by the Dillon rule and inadvertently circumvented state law.[45]

See also

References

  1. ^ "Virginia Attorney General Website". http://www.oag.state.va.us/. 
  2. ^ a b "Senator Ken Cuccinelli, II; Republican - District 37". Senate of Virginia. http://sov.state.va.us/SenatorDB.nsf/23b0c13df27a5ef585256fc7004febb2/4235f3526844517085256bfa00712239?OpenDocument=. Retrieved 2008-11-25. 
  3. ^ "Virginia Attorney General Biography". http://www.oag.state.va.us/Cuccinelli/AG_Bio.html. 
  4. ^ Schapiro, Jeff (2009-05-30). "Va. GOP ticket: McDonnell, Bolling, Cuccinelli". Richmond Times-Dispatch. http://www.timesdispatch.com/rtd/news/state_regional/state_regional_govtpolitics/article/NEWGOPSGATER30_20090530-164405/270884/. 
  5. ^ Virginia State Board of Elections Election Information > Election Results > 2009 > November General Election
  6. ^ "Virginia Attorney General Biography". http://www.oag.state.va.us/Cuccinelli/AG_Bio.html. 
  7. ^ "Cuccinelli.com". http://www.cuccinelli.com/bio_experience.htm. 
  8. ^ "Barry Quits Senate for Liquor Board Post; Va. Legislator Cites Financial, Health-Care Needs". Washington Post: p. B.1. 2002-06-05. 
  9. ^ "November 6, 2007 General Election results". Virginia State Board of Elections. https://www.voterinfo.sbe.virginia.gov/election/DATA/2007/196E44FA-8B19-4240-9A44-737216DAA55D/Unofficial/7_p2_s.shtml. Retrieved 2009-03-17. 
  10. ^ "Cuccinelli.com". http://web.archive.org/web/20071026151924/www.cuccinelli.com/priorities.shtml. 
  11. ^ a b "Ken Cuccinelli, List of Endorsements". http://www.cuccinelli.com/endorsements.htm. Retrieved 2009-08-27. 
  12. ^ "Cuccinelli named Family Foundation Legislator of the Year". http://cuccinelli4ag.wordpress.com/2008/11/22/ken-cuccinelli-named-legislator-of-the-year/. Retrieved 2009-08-27. 
  13. ^ "SB 371, Abortion; procedure if performed after first trimester". 2004-01-04. http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?ses=041&typ=bil&val=sb371. 
  14. ^ "SB 839: Abortion clinics; regulation and licensure". 2005-01-10. http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?ses=051&typ=bil&val=sb839. 
  15. ^ "SB 315. Abortion; preservation of fetal tissue when performed on child under age 15". 2006-01-10. http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?ses=061&typ=bil&val=sb315. 
  16. ^ "SJ 131 Birthright citizenship; memorializing Congress to amend Fourteenth Amendment of U.S. Constitution". 2008-01-18. http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?ses=081&typ=bil&val=Sj131. 
  17. ^ "SB 629 Illegal aliens; employment thereof, cause of action". 2006-01-06. http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?ses=061&typ=bil&val=sb629HB969. 
  18. ^ "SB 339 Unemployment compensation; employee's inability to speak English at workplace is misconduct". 2008-01-08. http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?ses=081&typ=bil&val=sb339. 
  19. ^ "NRA Endorsement Letter to Ken Cuccinelli". http://www.cuccinelli.com/_pdfs/NRA%20PVF%20endorsement%20letter.pdf. Retrieved 2009-08-27. 
  20. ^ "SB 579 Concealed weapons; abolishes prohib. on carrying in a rest. or club, excep. when alcohol consumed". 2005-01-15. http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?ses=041&typ=bil&val=sb579. 
  21. ^ "SB 771 Concealed handgun permits". 2003-01-08. http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?031+sum+SB771. 
  22. ^ "SB 332 Concealed handgun permits; access to personal information of permittees". 2008-01-08. http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?ses=081&typ=bil&val=sb332. 
  23. ^ "SB 1266 Concealed weapons permit; disqualifies person using negligently or unlawfully to endanger others". 2005-01-18. http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?051+sum+SB1266. 
  24. ^ {{cite web | title = SB 1528 Concealed handgun permits; completion of firearms training, etc., may be done electronically| url = http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?ses=091&typ=bil&val=SB1528
  25. ^ "Ken Cuccinelli, Fighting Taxes & Supporting Businesses". http://www.cuccinelli.com/issues_%20taxes.htm. Retrieved 2009-08-27. 
  26. ^ Lessig, Hugh (2006-05-20), "Writings frame bigger General Assembly rift: Two fellow Republicans cause Sen. Norment, R-James City, to say chamber civility is eroding", Daily Press, http://www.accessmylibrary.com/article-1G1-144707161/writings-frame-bigger-general.html, retrieved 2009-08-27 
  27. ^ cite web | title = SB 1271 Local condemnation authority; definition of public uses. | url = http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?ses=051&typ=bil&val=SB1271
  28. ^ Heinatz, Stephanie. “Bill grants officers overtime pay for hours worked while on vacation.” Virginian-Pilot. 23 Feb. 2005: B5
  29. ^ Gowen, Annie (2005-05-22), "Lawmaker Decries GMU Health Fair, 'Moral Depravity'", Washington Post, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A7992-2005Apr21.html, retrieved 2009-08-27 
  30. ^ Ginsberg, Steven; Witte, Griff (June 29, 2003). "In Wake of Sodomy Ruling, Va. Lawmakers Predict Bills on Both Sides". The Washington Post . http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/washingtonpost/access/352879311.html?FMT=ABS. Retrieved January 17, 2010. 
  31. ^ "Steve Shannon for attorney general". The Virginian-Pilot. October 26, 2009. http://hamptonroads.com/2009/10/steve-shannon-attorney-general. Retrieved January 17, 2010. 
  32. ^ a b Virginian Pilot (2009-010-26), "Steve Shannon for attorney general", Virginian Pilot, http://hamptonroads.com/2009/10/steve-shannon-attorney-general/, retrieved 2009-10-30 
  33. ^ Washington Post, March 6, 2010 (copy of letter)[1]
  34. ^ Washington Post, March 11, 2010 [2]
  35. ^ Equality Virginia home page, accessed March 18, 2010[3]
  36. ^ Abruzzese, Sarah (2006-05-20), "Cuccinelli nominated by Virginia GOP for attorney general", Washington Times, http://washingtontimes.com/news/2009/may/30/cuccinelli-nominated-virgina-gop-attorney-general/, retrieved 2009-08-23 
  37. ^ Editorial (2009-010-28), "Election 2009: Down Ticket", Richmond Times-Dispatch, http://www2.timesdispatch.com/rtd/news/opinion/editorials/article/ED-AGLG28_20091027-180804/301904/, retrieved 2009-010-30 
  38. ^ Editorial (2009-010-25), "Cuccinelli has mature view", Daily Progress, http://www2.dailyprogress.com/cdp/news/opinion/op_ed/article/cuccinelli_has_mature_view/48091, retrieved 2009-10-30 
  39. ^ Staff Editorial (2009-010-23), "Endorsement: Cuccinelli for att. general", Star-Exponent, http://www2.starexponent.com/cse/news/opinion/op_ed/article/endorsement_cuccinelli_for_att._general_bolling_for_lt._governor/45802/, retrieved 2009-10-30 
  40. ^ Washington Post (2009-010-30), "Mr. Cuccinelli’s Bigotry", Washington Post, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/10/29/AR2009102904197.html, retrieved 2009-10-30 
  41. ^ "Attorney General-elect Ken Cuccinelli Announces Transistion Goals and Transition Team". Roanoke Conservative Daily. November 5, 2009. http://roanokeconservativedaily.blogspot.com/2009/11/attorney-general-elect-ken-cuccinelli.html. Retrieved March 10, 2010. 
  42. ^ Jackman, Tom (Feb. 1, 2010). "Lawyers question Va. attorney general's role in private case". Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/31/AR2010013101280.html. Retrieved 2010-03-04. 
  43. ^ "Cuccinelli Petitions EPA and Files for Judicial Review". Press release. 2010-02-17. http://www.oag.state.va.us/PRESS_RELEASES/Cuccinelli/21710_Attorney_General%20Petitions%20EPA.html. Retrieved 2010-02-24. 
  44. ^ Cuccinelli, Ken (March 4, 2010). "Letter to Presidents, Rectors, and Visitors of Virginia's Colleges". The Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/metro/Cuccinelli.pdf. Retrieved March 10, 2010. 
  45. ^ Helderman, Rosalind (Mar. 5, 2010). "Cuccinelli asks colleges to rescind policies protecting gay state employees". Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/05/AR2010030501582.html. Retrieved 2010-03-05. 

External links


Ken Cuccinelli

Incumbent
Assumed office 
January 16, 2010
Preceded by Bill Mims

Member of the Virginia Senate
from the 37th district
In office
August 2002 – January 12, 2010
Preceded by Warren Barry
Succeeded by David W. Marsden

Born July 30, 1968 (1968-07-30) (age 42)
Edison, New Jersey
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Alice Monteiro 'Teiro' Cuccinelli
Residence Fairfax County, Virginia
Alma mater University of Virginia
George Mason University
George Mason University School of Law
Profession Litigation & Business Attorney
Religion Roman Catholic
Website www.cuccinelli.com

Kenneth Thomas 'Ken' Cuccinelli II (born July 30, 1968) is a U.S. politician and the Attorney General of Virginia.[1] From 2002 until January 16, 2010 he was a Republican member of the Senate of Virginia, representing the 37th district in Fairfax County.[2][3] A Republican convention selected him over two other candidates to run against Democrat Steve Shannon for Attorney General,[4] and he won the November 2009 general election.[5] He took office as Virginia's Attorney General in January 2010.

Contents

Personal life; career outside politics

Cuccinelli was born in Edison, New Jersey. He graduated from Gonzaga College High School in 1986,[6] and received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Virginia, a J.D. degree from George Mason University School of Law, and an M.A. in International Commerce and Policy from George Mason University.[3]

Cuccinelli has served on a number of state commissions, including:[7]

  • Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Project
  • Public / Private Partnership Advisory Commission
  • Commission on the Prevention of Human Trafficking
  • Joint Subcommittee to Study Liability Protections for Health Care Providers
  • Virginia Supreme Court Commission on Mental Health in the Justice System

Cuccinelli cofounded a small, general practice law firm in Fairfax City, Virginia.[8]

Early political career

While a 4th year student during the 1989-1990 academic year at the University of Virginia, Cuccinelli served on the University's Judiciary Committee.

Cuccinelli was elected to the Senate in an August 2002 special election after his predecessor, Republican Warren Barry, resigned to take a seat on the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Board.[9] Cuccinelli was reelected in 2003 and 2007, with the latter race being close enough to require a recount. Cuccinelli would go on to win by a margin of 98 votes out of about 37,000 cast.[10]

In the Senate Cuccinelli sat on the Courts of Justice, Local Government, Rehabilitation and Social Services, and Transportation Committees.[2] During his time in the Senate Cuccinelli took conservative positions on issues including abortion, gay marriage, illegal immigration, taxes, government spending, property rights, and the second amendment, while advocating on behalf of law enforcement and increased care for the mentally disabled.[11]

2009 Attorney General election

On May 30, 2009, delegates at the Republican Party of Virginia State Convention selected Cuccinelli over two other candidates to become the Republican nominee for Attorney General.[12] In the November 2009 general election, Cuccinelli obtained 58% of the vote (1,123,816 votes) to Steve Shannon's 42% (828,221 votes). In a Republican sweep of Virginia's state-wide offices, Cuccinelli was joined by Bob McDonnell as Governor and Bill Bolling as Lt. Governor.

Endorsements

In addition to the NRA and Republican National Coalition for Life, Cuccinelli was endorsed by Mike Huckabee, Ron Paul, Fred Thompson, Morton Blackwell, William A. Zimmerman, Virginia Citizens Defense League PAC, Virginia Shooting Sports Association, Eagle Forum PAC, Congressman Rob Wittman, the Republican Liberty Caucus of Virginia, the Lincoln, Douglass & Washington Society, the National Federation of Independent Business, the Virginia Farm Bureau, and the Virginia Fraternal Order of Police.[13]

Cuccinelli received editorial board endorsements from the Richmond Times-Dispatch,[14] The Daily Progress,[15] and Culpeper Star-Exponent.[16] The Daily Progress based their endorsement on Cuccinelli’s “mature, considered, and well-balanced approach,” while the Star-Exponent gave a “slight edge to Cuccinelli for his proactive solutions, legal expertise, fighting disposition and strong conservative moorings.”

Several papers who chose not to endorse Cuccinelli wrote editorials critical of his political views. According to the Virginian Pilot, “Cuccinelli’s election would bring embarrassment to Virginia, instability to the state’s law firm and untold harm to the long list of people who don’t fit his personal definition of morality.” [17] The Washington Post echoed a similar sentiment, writing, “given his bizarre ideas, he would very likely become an embarrassment for the commonwealth” in an editorial titled "Mr. Cuccinelli's Bigotry" [18]

Attorney General of Virginia

Cuccinelli's office reviews each bill passed by the General Assembly for Constitutionality and consistency with other existing laws.[19] Two weeks after taking office, Cuccinelli drew cricitism for continuing to represent a private client in a court proceeding.[20]

On April 15, 2010, he attempted to speak at a Tea Party rally on the party's behalf, however he was denied.[21]

On August 23, 2010, Cuccinelli issued a legal opinion concluding that the Virginia Board of Health had the power to require abortion clinics to meet hospital-type standards, even though the General Assembly had rejected legislation to achieve the same result. Under current law, abortion clinics can perform first trimester abortions while second and third trimester abortions are performed in hospitals. From 2002 to 2008, bills were introduced that sought to treat abortion clinics as "ambulatory surgery centers" and require them to meet hospital-type regulations, but the bills did not pass. Pro-choice advocates argue that complying with ambulatory surgery center regulations would make abortions more expensive and force some clinics to close. It does not appear that the Board of Health will regulate abortion clinics based on Cuccinelli's opinion.[22]

Healthcare

On March 23, 2010, Cuccinelli filed a lawsuit in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia challenging the Constitutionality of the federal health care bill passed on March 21, claiming that it exceeded the Federal government's power under the interstate commerce clause of the Constitution.[23] On May 24, 2010, the federal government responded to Virginia’s lawsuit over the recently enacted federal health care law with a motion to dismiss the suit. The federal government argues 1) that as of matter of jurisdiction and procedure, Virginia has no right to bring this case now, 2) that Congress has the authority under the Constitution’s Commerce Clause to order Americans to buy health insurance and 3) that the health insurance mandate is lawful under the Taxing and Spending Clause of the Constitution.[24] On June 7, 2010 Virginia responded to the federal government’s motion to dismiss the state’s lawsuit.[25]

On July 1, 2010, Federal district court judge Henry E. Hudson heard arguments on the motion to dismiss the suit. On August 2, Judge Hudson ruled that the case can go forward[26] and a summary judgment hearing is scheduled for October 18, 2010, at 9:00 a.m. to on the constitutional claims.[27]

Immigration

On July 14, 2010, Cuccinelli joined eight other states in filing an amicus brief opposing the federal government's lawsuit challenging an Arizona immigration enforcement statute.[28]

On August 2, 2010, Cuccinelli issued a legal opinion authorizing law enforcement officials to investigate the immigration status of anyone that they have stopped. Prior to this opinion, law enforcement investigated immigration status of those actually arrested. Cuccinelli noted that the authority to investigate the immigration status of a stopped person should not "extend the duration of a stop by any significant degree." Critics note that the opinion circumvents changing the policy by legislation and that bills to make this change have died in the General Assembly.[29]

Gay rights

On March 4, 2010, one month after Governor Bob McDonnell issued an Executive Order which did not include protections for gays and lesbians employed by the Commonwealth, Cuccinelli issued a letter to Virginia's public colleges and universities that said, in part, "It is my advice that the law and public policy of the Commonwealth of Virginia prohibit a college or university from including 'sexual orientation,' 'gender identity,' 'gender expression,' or like classification as a protected class within its non-discrimination policy absent specific authorization from the General Assembly,"[30] He then advised that the schools should "take appropriate actions to bring their policies in conformance with the law and public policy of Virginia." [31]

On March 10, 2010, McDonnell issued Executive Directive One (which merely carries force of office, not law) to all state agency heads that protects gays and lesbians from being fired for their sexual orientation. Despite the controversy, Cuccinelli stood by his letter, claiming that state universities are governed by the Dillon rule and had inadvertently circumvented state law.[32]

Environmental policies

On February 16, 2010, Cuccinelli filed a request with the United States Environmental Protection Agency to reopen its proceeding regarding EPA's finding that greenhouse gases endanger public health. He also sought judicial review of EPA's finding in federal court. His press statement explained, "We cannot allow unelected bureaucrats with political agendas to use falsified data to regulate American industry and drive our economy into the ground.”[33]. On March 19, Cuccinelli announced that the total number of states supporting Virginia’s position is now at least 15. “While we made the decision to intervene based on what was in the best interests of Virginia and her citizens, it is gratifying to have the support of so many other states,” said Cuccinelli.[34]

On April 1, 2010, Cuccinelli announced he will be challenging the new March 2010 standards for fuel efficiency for cars and trucks finalized by the Obama administration and Environmental Protection Agency under the Clean Air Act.[35][36] The new standards move up goals set in December 2007 when President Bush signed The Energy Independence and Security Act, which passed on a bipartisan vote of 314 to 100, which set the higher fuel economy standards for cars and light trucks by law for the first time in 32 years.[37]

Litigation with University of Virginia

In April 2010, Cuccinelli served a civil investigative demand on the University of Virginia seeking a broad range of documents related to Michael E. Mann, a climate researcher now at Penn State who was an assistant professor at UVA from 1999 to 2005.[38][39] Cuccinelli is investigating Mann's putative violation of the 2002 Virginia Fraud Against Taxpayers Act, although no evidence of wrongdoing was given to explain the invocation of the law.[40] While climate change skeptics have challenged Mann's work, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and a Penn State investigation cleared Mann of charges that he falsified or suppressed data[41] The Washington Post quotes Rachel Levinson, senior counsel with the American Association of University Professors as saying Cuccinelli's request had "echoes of McCarthyism."[42] Among the groups urging the University of Virginia to resist producing the data are: a letter published in Science signed by 255 members of the United States National Academy of Sciences, the American Civil Liberties Union and the AAUP.[39] Also in May 2010, the University of Virginia Faculty Senate Executive Council wrote a letter strongly rebuking Cuccinelli for his civil investigative demand of the Mann records, stating that "[Cuccinelli's] action and the potential threat of legal prosecution of scientific endeavor that has satisfied peer-review standards send a chilling message to scientists engaged in basic research involving Earth’s climate and indeed to scholars in any discipline."[43]

On May 27, 2010, the University of Virginia began legal proceedings by filing a petition to resist Cuccinelli's investigative demand. In addition to challenging the investigative demands on academic freedom grounds, the petition states that Virginia's "Fraud Against Taxpayers Act" (FATA) cited by Cuccinelli is not applicable in this case, as four of the five grants were federal, and that the fifth was an internal University of Virginia grant originally awarded in 2001. The FATA was enacted in 2003, and it is not retroactive.[44][45]

On August 20, 2010, Albermarle Circuit Court Judge Paul Peatross heard argument on when Cuccinelli should get the requested data, including emails between Mann and his research assistants, secretaries and 39 other scientists across the country.[46] On August 30, 2010, the judge ruled that while the Virginia Attorney General could investigate state grants awarded to scientists, Cuccinelli and his staff failed to demonstrate that such an investigation was warranted in this case. “The nature of the conduct is not stated so that any reasonable person could glean what Dr. Mann did to violate the statute,” the judge wrote,[47] “… The Court…understands the controversy regarding Dr. Mann’s work on the issue of global warming. However, it is not clear what he did that was misleading, false or fraudulent in obtaining funds from the Commonwealth of Virginia.” At this point, Cuccinelli can either rewrite the civil investigative demand or appeal the decision.[48][49] Cuccinelli has filed a notice of appeal of the judge's ruling.[50]

On October 4, 2010 Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli sent a new civil subpoena to the University of Virginia renewing a demand for documents related to the work of Mann that was stymied when a judge blocked his previous request. Cuccinelli has narrowed his request, and has now limited the request to documents related to a grant that funded research unrelated to climate change. However, the demand seeks emails between Mann and 39 other climate change scientists.[50] Mann has long been targeted by those who, like Cuccinelli, do not believe that the science behind global warming is sound. The Washington post described Cuccinelli's actions as an "anti-climate science crusade" [51] and expressed fears that it was a "fishing expedition designed to intimidate and suppress honest research and the free exchange of ideas upon which science and academia both depend -- all because he does not like what science says about climate change".

Campaign contributions

Cuccinelli has been criticized for his handling of $55,500 in campaign contributions from Bobby Thompson, who was a director of a veterans group now under investigation, the U.S. Navy Veterans Association. Thompson was Cuccinelli's second-largest campaign donor.[52][53] After receiving the contribution, Cuccinelli met with Samuel F. Wright, a USNVA representative on February 15, 2010, to discuss legislation which had passed the State Senate that would exempt the group from having to register with Virginia regulators.[54]

After an investigative report in the St. Petersberg Times in March 2010 raised questions about the Navy Veterans Association and Thompson, all other Virginia politicians, including Gov. Bob McDonnell, have given the contributions from Thompson to other veterans' organizations. At that time, Cuccinelli refused to do so, despite calls from Virginia Democrats. Cuccinelli's spokesman said "if Mr. Thompson was convicted of wrongdoing relative to the misappropriation of funds, and contributions to our campaign came from money that was supposed to go to active duty military or veterans, we would donate those contributions to military support organizations here in Virginia."[53] Sen. Don McEachin asserted that the standard for donations should be "much higher than that."[55] A month later in June, A Cuccinelli spokesman said $55,500 would be set aside in a restricted account pending the outcome of the investigation into Thompson and USNVA.[56] On July 28, 2010, Cuccinelli announced that he will donate the $55,000 to veterans charities in Virginia. Cuccinelli stated that his decision was prompted by statements from Thompson's lawyers indicating that Thompson can no longer be located.[57] The Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray announced that a nation-wide arrest warrant had issued for Bobby Thompson, who had stolen the identity and Social Security Number of a victim who was not connected to the USNVA. Corday stated, “We know he bilked Ohioans out of at least $1.9 million, and we estimate that nationally he collected at least $20 million.”[58]

Female breast on Virginia seal

Cuccinelli caused a small controversy when he used an altered version of the historical state seal which shows Virtus, the Roman goddess of bravery and military strength, carrying a breastplate to cover her left breast on lapel pins he provided as gifts to his office staff.[59][60] The current official seal shows Virtus holding a spear and her left breast is exposed. The original state seal was designed by George Wythe, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and adopted in 1776.[61] The historic seal on which Cuccinelli's version is based is a Confederate-era seal that appeared on the flag of a Virginia unit in the Civil War.[62] Cuccinelli's spokesman, Brian Gottstein, said lapel pins with the breast covered were paid for by Cuccinelli’s political action committee, not with taxpayer funds. On May 3, following media coverage, Cuccinelli announced that he was dropping his "family friendly" version of the seal.[63][64] His statement misidentified the deity Virtus as "Virtue," stating "I cannot believe that joking with my staff about Virtue being a little more ‘virtuous’ in this antique version has become news."[62]

Usury

Since 2007, the Virginia Attorney General's Office has negotiated settlements with eight auto-title lenders to provide refunds or interest rate reductions of almost $8 million.[65][66] The office filed a lawsuit on May 18, 2010 against CNC Financial Services, Inc., doing business as Cash-N-A-Flash, a Hampton-based auto “title lender,” for charging interest rates of 300 percent or more on its loans. This rate is alleged to exceed the 12 percent limit in the Virginia’s Consumer Finance Act. However, effective October 1, 2010, Virginia's interest rate limit will increase to 264 percent.[65][67][66]

The Attorney General's Office filed two separate lawsuits against two Virginia Beach-based mortgage modification companies for charging customers up to $1,200 in illegal advance fees in exchange for allegedly helping to prevent foreclosure. [68]

Utility regulation

Although Cuccinelli previously worked as an energy industry lobbyist, the Attorney General's Office continues to represent the public interest in rate cases before the State Corporation Commission.[69][70]

Advocacy for veterans

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli announced plans to introduce a new level of veterans advocacy to the attorney general’s office, including training state agencies how to use the law to better advocate for their clients when it comes to obtaining federal veterans benefits. Cuccinelli said that one of the most important things he could do for veterans was to help speed up the process for them to obtain the services they are eligible for from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Other priority issues include ensuring that veterans have opportunities to become and stay employed in Virginia and working with the Virginia judiciary to determine how best to educate judges on how Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury issues affect veterans.[71][72]

Antitrust enforcement

A $173 million settlement was reached with six international manufacturers of computer chips. The settlement resolved claims that the companies engaged in a price-fixing arrangement that cost government purchasers and consumers millions of dollars in overcharges for their chips. Attorney General Cuccinelli and 32 other state attorneys general participated in the investigation and the settlement of a court case that was first filed in Court in 2006, before Cuccinelli took office.[73]

Extradiction of Jens Soering to Germany

Jens Soering, 43, the son of a German diplomat and former Jefferson scholar at the University of Virginia, was convicted in 1990 and sentenced to two life terms for the 1985 first-degree stabbing deaths of his then-girlfriend's parents, Derek and Nancy Haysom, in their Bedford County home. He is currently being held at the Buckingham Correctional Center in Dillwyn, VA. Former Gov. Timothy Kaine, on the last day of his administration in January, 2010, approved a request from the German government and asked the Justice Department to transfer Soering back to Germany to complete his sentence. Newly-elected Gov. Bob McDonnell, along with Cuccinelli, adamantly opposed the transfer. McDonnell formally notified the Justice Department just three days after taking office that it was imperative that Soering serve his time in Virginia and not in Germany, where he could be freed in two years. On July 7, 2010, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced that he will not consider transferring Soering to a prison in his home country without the state's "clear and unambiguous" consent and, thus, Soering will remain in prison in Virginia.[74][75]

Political views

Abortion

Cuccinelli is opposed to abortion, and is endorsed by the Republican National Coalition for Life.[13] In November 2008 he was named the Family Foundation “Legislator of the Year.”[76] Cuccinelli has sponsored a number of bills to discourage abortions, including requiring doctors to anesthetize fetuses undergoing late term abortions,[77] altering the licensing and regulation of abortion clinics,[78] requiring that a doctor save the fetal tissue when performing an abortion on a woman under age 15 for forensic use.[79]

Immigration

During his Senate career, Cuccinelli introduced bills urging the United States Congress to amend the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution to revoke citizenship rights for children of illegal immigrants who are born in the U.S.,[80] to allow businesses to sue others that hire undocumented immigrants,[81] and to establish inability to speak English in the workplace as cause for disqualification to receive unemployment benefits.[82]

Second Amendment/gun control

Cuccinelli’s support of the Second Amendment brought him an endorsement by the National Rifle Association (NRA).[83] He has sponsored legislation to repeal the prohibition on carrying a concealed handgun in a restaurant or club,[84] for Virginia to recognize concealed handgun permits from other states,[85] to shield concealed handgun permit application data from Freedom of Information Act requests,[86] and to prevent disqualification for a handgun permit based on a sworn, written statement from a law enforcement official that the applicant is likely to use a weapon unlawfully to endanger others. Under Cuccinelli’s proposal a person could only be disqualified for such a permit by a court ruling based on the applicant’s past actions.[87] In the 2009 legislative session, Cuccinelli introduced and won passage of bill that, for the purposes of granting a Virginia concealed handgun permit, requires the state to accept as proof of "handgun competence" any certificate from an online handgun safety course featuring an NRA-certified instructor.[88]

Taxes

Cuccinelli is an anti-tax conservative. He helped lead an unsuccessful campaign to stop Mark Warner’s 2004 budget.[89] In 2006 Cuccinelli sent out a fundraising letter that criticized the Virginia Senate’s Republican majority for passing a gasoline tax increase. The letter elicited rebuke from fellow Republican Tommy Norment.[90]

Eminent domain

In the 2005, 2006 and 2007 Legislative Sessions, Cuccinelli worked to pass eminent domain laws that now prevent local and state governments from taking private homes and businesses for developers’ projects.[91] In April 2010, Cuccinelli told the Roanoke Chamber of Commerce that he wants to add stronger property rights protection to Virginia’s Constitution. “There is no consistency on the application of eminent domain throughout Virginia,” he said.[19]

Law enforcement

In 2005 Cuccinelli helped pass legislation that provided law enforcement officers are entitled to overtime pay from local governments for hours worked while on vacation or any other form of leave.[92].

Sex education

Cuccinelli has been a strong advocate of the abstinence-only sex education programs with state funding. He stated "The longer you delay the commencement of sexual activity, you have healthier and happier kids and more successful kids." [93].

In 2005 Cuccinelli condemned a "Sextravaganza" event at George Mason University. The event sponsors, who received GMU Student Activity funds that are not appropriated by the state, said the event merely explored issues of safe sex, date rape and sexual health. However, Cuccinelli stated that the event was “designed to push sex and sexual libertine behavior as far, fast and furiously as possible” and promote “every type of sexual promiscuity you can imagine.” [94]

Sexual orientation

In 2004, Cuccinelli stated "homosexuality is wrong"[95] and during his 2009 campaign for attorney general opposed a nondiscrimination policy against gays and lesbians and stated about homosexual acts: "I happen to think that it represents (to put it politely; I need my thesaurus to be polite) behavior that is not healthy to an individual and in aggregate is not healthy to society."[96] More directly, Cuccinelli said that “homosexual acts are wrong” and that “in a natural law based country it’s appropriate to have policies that reflect that.” [17]

Obama's Presidency

Cuccinelli at first publicly stated that it was possible that President Barack Obama was born in Kenya, and that the validity of any law that he signed could be challenged to raise the question of Obama's citizenship. In response to the controversy surrounding his statements, Cuccinelli on March 15, 2010, issued a statement clarifying that he believes that Obama was born in the United States.[97]

See also

References

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  81. ^ "SB 629 Illegal aliens; employment thereof, cause of action". 2006-01-06. http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?ses=061&typ=bil&val=sb629HB969. 
  82. ^ "SB 339 Unemployment compensation; employee's inability to speak English at workplace is misconduct". 2008-01-08. http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?ses=081&typ=bil&val=sb339. 
  83. ^ "NRA Endorsement Letter to Ken Cuccinelli". http://www.cuccinelli.com/_pdfs/NRA%20PVF%20endorsement%20letter.pdf. Retrieved 2009-08-27. [dead link]
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  85. ^ "SB 771 Concealed handgun permits". 2003-01-08. http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?031+sum+SB771. 
  86. ^ "SB 332 Concealed handgun permits; access to personal information of permittees". 2008-01-08. http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?ses=081&typ=bil&val=sb332. 
  87. ^ "SB 1266 Concealed weapons permit; disqualifies person using negligently or unlawfully to endanger others". 2005-01-18. http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?051+sum+SB1266. Retrieved 2009-08-27. 
  88. ^ "SB 1528 Concealed handgun permits; completion of firearms training, etc., may be done electronically". http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?ses=091&typ=bil&val=SB1528. 
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  91. ^ "SB 1271 Local condemnation authority; definition of public uses.". http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?ses=051&typ=bil&val=SB1271. Retrieved 2010-04-02. 
  92. ^ Heinatz, Stephanie. “Bill grants officers overtime pay for hours worked while on vacation.” Virginian-Pilot. 23 Feb. 2005: B5
  93. ^ "Funding for Abstinence-Only Programs Eliminated". November 13, 2007. http://www.wtop.com/?nid=25&sid=1291460. 
  94. ^ Gowen, Annie (2005-05-22). "Lawmaker Decries GMU Health Fair, 'Moral Depravity'". Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A7992-2005Apr21.html. Retrieved 2009-08-27. 
  95. ^ Ginsberg, Steven; Witte, Griff (June 29, 2003). "In Wake of Sodomy Ruling, Va. Lawmakers Predict Bills on Both Sides". The Washington Post. http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/washingtonpost/access/352879311.html?FMT=ABS. Retrieved January 17, 2010. 
  96. ^ "Steve Shannon for attorney general". The Virginian-Pilot. October 26, 2009. http://hamptonroads.com/2009/10/steve-shannon-attorney-general. Retrieved January 17, 2010. 
  97. ^ "Ken Cuccinelli, Virginia Attorney General, Clarifies Obama Birther Statements". 2010-03-15. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/03/15/ken-cuccinelli-virginia-at_n_499311.html. Retrieved 2010-04-04. 

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