It has been a long week for Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, the presumptive GOP candidate for Governor of Virginia.
Cuccinelli, his campaign and the Office of Attorney General have spent the last several days answering questions about his relationship to the company Star Scientific and it's CEO Jonnie R Williams, Sr.
Williams' company filed a lawsuit against the Commonwealth of Virginia in July of 2011 to challenge a sales and use tax assessment. The Attorney General's Office was in charge of responding to the claim, despite the fact that Cuccinelli had accepted numerous donations from Williams and owned stock in the company.
Cuccinelli has never been personally involved in the Star Scientific lawsuit, but last week recused himself and his office from the lawsuit.
Among the donations that were revealed after Cuccinelli revised his statement of economic interest was a $3,254 trip to Kentucky. While the trip itself has been reported, the purpose or timing of the trip remained a mystery.
NBC12 has confirmed that Williams help to fund Cuccinelli's trip to Kentucky to campaign for the GOP candidate for Attorney General Todd P'Pool. Cuccinelli appeared with P'Pool, who was unsuccessful in his bid to unseat incumbent Democrat Jack Conway at an event and fundraiser on September 29th.
(Photo from thenewsenterprise.com/Ben Sheroan)
The timing of the Kentucky trip falls right around the same time that the lawsuit was filed by Star Scientific. The event was in September of 2011. The lawsuit was filed just three months earlier in July.
There does not appear to be any direct connection between P'Pool and Williams.
Cuccinelli's office and campaign have vigorously denied any connection the Star Scientific case and the Attorney General himself or the in kind donations he has received from the CEO.
Cuccinelli's spokesman Brian Gottstein pointed out in a statement that the Attorney General's Office has responded timely to all the requests in the case and offered the company no preferential treatment. He also has repeatedly said that Cuccinelli had no direct involvement in the case.
In response to the repeated inquires on the topic, Cuccinelli appointed the outside counsel of Former Attorney General of Virginia Stephen D. Rosenthal, a Democrat, and former Solicitor General of Virginia William H. Hurd, a Republican.
The two lawyers work for Troutman Sanders and have agreed to represent the state pro bono.
Governor Bob McDonnell has also been forced to answer questions about his connection to Star Scientific. The Times Dispatch reported about the gifts McDonnell's family had received that were not legally required to be reported.
Olympia Meola questioned the governor about the connection after McDonnell's education press event today. That video can been seen below: