Virginia's Inspector General waded into delicate political waters today when he released the findings of a lengthy investigation into the Attorney General's Office's actions related to a heated battle over gas royalties in Southwest Virginia.
The report- released today by Michael Morehart, just a three weeks from election day, determined that Ken Cuccinelli's assistant Attorney General Sharon Pigeon "inappropriately used commonwealth resources in support" of the out of state energy company CONSOL. However the report also says that Cuccinelli himself had no prior knowledge of Ms. Pigeon's contact with the company.
Democrats contend that the report shows Cuccinelli's negligence related the case. They claim that he repeatedly defended Ms. Pigeon as the stories began to emerge about her role.
They are demanding Cuccinelli return the more than $100,000 in donations he received in campaign donations from CONSOL and its affiliated companies.
"The Virginia Inspector General confirmed today what Virginians have found troubling for months--that Ken Cuccinelli's office had stepped over the line and improperly used taxpayer funds to advise out-of-state energy companies trying to avoid paying Southwest Virginia landowners mining royalties that are rightfully theirs," said McAuliffe spokesperson Josh Schwerin.
However the Attorney General's office and the Cuccinelli campaign vigorously defended his role in the case. They point out that the report shows there is no evidence that he himself did anything wrong.
Cuccinelli's office has maintained from the beginning that he did not authorize the e-mails and they took "immediate action" when they learned what was going on.
His campaign criticized the McAuliffe campaign's view of the report.
is desperately saying and doing anything to cover up the fact he can’t
explain various aspects of his failed business record starting with the
two federal investigations involving GreenTech Automotive, or the
revelations that he profited from the
death of terminally ill people,” said Cuccinelli spokesperson Ana Nix.