It was a press conference Democrats called a "de-facto" campaign event. Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) gathered reporters Wednesday morning to scold the U.S Treasury Department for holding up $125 million in payments due Virginia law enforcement agencies. Cuccinelli hinted in his remarks that the IRS was either negligent or purposefully holding up the payments as punishment for Virginia's lawsuits against the Federal Government.
Hours after Cuccinelli's remarks, the Treasury Department informed the Attorney General's office that they would release $115 million due Virginia. It gave Cuccinelli the chance to take a triumphant victory lap.
"This money is coming to Virginia because of the hard work and dedicated service of the staff of the Virginia Medicaid Fraud Control Unit," he said. "I want to thank them for their distinguished service to the people of the commonwealth."
Cuccinelli did not mince words earlier in the day when he hammered the IRS response to the case. The lawsuit with Abbot Laboratories was settled in May of 2012 and more than a year later the Attorney General claimed the Federal Government could not explain why Virginia's share of the settlement was being held up.
He pointed to the recent controversies surrounding the IRS as evidence that their actions were perhaps suspect.
"I don't have affirmative proof that they have ulterior motives," he said. "What I have is a singularly unique example of their unwillingness to do the most basic fill out two pages one sheet of paper to move this along."
Cuccinelli, the GOP nominee for Governor is in a position where any action he takes is considered political and today was no different. Democrats pounced on the news of his announcement and worked to tie the event, in his capacity as Attorney General, to the controversy surrounding Star- Scientific.
"There’s no question Virginians should get every dollar that’s coming to them from any delinquent payer," Democratic Party of Virginia spokesman Brian Coy said in a statement. "However it is surprising that Cuccinelli hasn’t been more successful in getting taxpayers’ money out of the IRS, considering all the free time his refusal to pursue a case over Star Scientific’s $1.7 million tax bill."