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Ken Cuccinelli

Ken Cuccinelli

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Kenneth Thomas 'Ken' Cuccinelli II (born July 30, 1968) is a U.S. politician and the Attorney General of Virginia
Attorney General of Virginia
The Attorney General of Virginia is an executive office in the Government of Virginia. Attorneys General are elected for a four-year term in the year following a presidential election . There are no term limits restricting the number of terms someone can serve as Attorney General...

. From 2002 until January 16, 2010 he was a Republican
Republican Party of Virginia
The Republican Party of Virginia is the Virginia chapter of the Republican Party. It is based in the Richard D. Obenshain Center in Richmond in the Commonwealth of Virginia.- Organization and candidate selection :The State Party Plan...

 member of the Senate of Virginia
Senate of Virginia
The Senate of Virginia is the upper house of the Virginia General Assembly. The Senate is composed of 40 Senators representing an equal number of single-member constituent districts. The Senate is presided over by the Lieutenant Governor of Virginia...

, representing the 37th district in Fairfax County
Fairfax County, Virginia
Fairfax County is a county in Virginia, in the United States. Per the 2010 Census, the population of the county is 1,081,726, making it the most populous jurisdiction in the Commonwealth of Virginia, with 13.5% of Virginia's population...

. A Republican convention selected him over two other candidates to run against Democrat Steve Shannon
Steve Shannon
Stephen C. Shannon is an American politician. From 2004 to 2009, Shannon represented Virginia’s 35th District in the Virginia House of Delegates. He was the 2009 Democratic nominee for Attorney General of Virginia...

 for Attorney General, and he won the November 2009 general election. He took office as Virginia's Attorney General in January 2010.

Personal life; career outside politics


Cuccinelli was born in Edison, New Jersey
Edison, New Jersey
Edison Township is a township in Middlesex County, New Jersey. What is now Edison Township was originally incorporated as Raritan Township by an Act of the New Jersey Legislature on March 17, 1870, from portions of both Piscataway Township and Woodbridge Township...

. He graduated from Gonzaga College High School
Gonzaga College High School
Gonzaga College High School is a Jesuit high school for boys located in Washington, D.C. The school is named in honor of St. Aloysius Gonzaga, an Italian saint from the 16th century...

 in 1986, and received his B.S.
Bachelor of Science
A Bachelor of Science is an undergraduate academic degree awarded for completed courses that generally last three to five years .-Australia:In Australia, the BSc is a 3 year degree, offered from 1st year on...

 in Mechanical Engineering
Mechanical engineering
Mechanical engineering is a discipline of engineering that applies the principles of physics and materials science for analysis, design, manufacturing, and maintenance of mechanical systems. It is the branch of engineering that involves the production and usage of heat and mechanical power for the...

 from the University of Virginia
University of Virginia
The University of Virginia is a public research university located in Charlottesville, Virginia, United States, founded by Thomas Jefferson...

, a J.D.
Juris Doctor
Juris Doctor is a professional doctorate and first professional graduate degree in law.The degree was first awarded by Harvard University in the United States in the late 19th century and was created as a modern version of the old European doctor of law degree Juris Doctor (see etymology and...

 degree from George Mason University School of Law
George Mason University School of Law
George Mason University School of Law is the law school of George Mason University, a state university in Virginia, United States...

, and an M.A.
Master of Arts (postgraduate)
A Master of Arts from the Latin Magister Artium, is a type of Master's degree awarded by universities in many countries. The M.A. is usually contrasted with the M.S. or M.Sc. degrees...

 in International Commerce and Policy from George Mason University
George Mason University
George Mason University is a public university based in unincorporated Fairfax County, Virginia, United States, south of and adjacent to the city of Fairfax. Additional campuses are located nearby in Arlington County, Prince William County, and Loudoun County...

.

Cuccinelli has served on a number of state commissions, including:
  • 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.

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 Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control
Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control
The Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control is a state public safety agency providing control, service, revenue and a wide range of services to residents and localities throughout the Commonwealth...

 Board. 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.

In the Senate Cuccinelli sat on the Courts of Justice, Local Government, Rehabilitation and Social Services, and Transportation Committees. During his time in the Senate Cuccinelli took conservative positions on issues including abortion
Abortion
Abortion is defined as the termination of pregnancy by the removal or expulsion from the uterus of a fetus or embryo prior to viability. An abortion can occur spontaneously, in which case it is usually called a miscarriage, or it can be purposely induced...

, gay marriage, illegal immigration
Illegal immigration
Illegal immigration is the migration into a nation in violation of the immigration laws of that jurisdiction. Illegal immigration raises many political, economical and social issues and has become a source of major controversy in developed countries and the more successful developing countries.In...

, taxes, government spending
Government spending
Government spending includes all government consumption, investment but excludes transfer payments made by a state. Government acquisition of goods and services for current use to directly satisfy individual or collective needs of the members of the community is classed as government final...

, property rights
Eminent domain
Eminent domain , compulsory purchase , resumption/compulsory acquisition , or expropriation is an action of the state to seize a citizen's private property, expropriate property, or seize a citizen's rights in property with due monetary compensation, but without the owner's consent...

, and the second amendment
Second Amendment to the United States Constitution
The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution is the part of the United States Bill of Rights that protects the right of the people to keep and bear arms. It was adopted on December 15, 1791, along with the rest of the Bill of Rights.In 2008 and 2010, the Supreme Court issued two Second...

, while advocating on behalf of law enforcement and increased care for the mentally disabled.

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. In the November 2009 general election, Cuccinelli obtained 58% of the vote (1,123,816 votes) to Steve Shannon
Steve Shannon
Stephen C. Shannon is an American politician. From 2004 to 2009, Shannon represented Virginia’s 35th District in the Virginia House of Delegates. He was the 2009 Democratic nominee for Attorney General of Virginia...

'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
Mike Huckabee
Michael "Mike" Dale Huckabee is an American politician who served as the 44th Governor of Arkansas from 1996 to 2007. He was a candidate in the 2008 United States Republican presidential primaries, finishing second in delegate count and third in both popular vote and number of states won . He won...

, Ron Paul
Ron Paul
Ronald Ernest "Ron" Paul is an American physician, author and United States Congressman who is seeking to be the Republican Party candidate in the 2012 presidential election. Paul represents Texas's 14th congressional district, which covers an area south and southwest of Houston that includes...

, Fred Thompson, Morton Blackwell
Morton Blackwell
Morton C. Blackwell is an American Republican Party activist. He is president and founder of the Leadership Institute , a 5013 non-profit educational foundation that teaches political technology....

, William A. Zimmerman, Virginia Citizens Defense League PAC, Virginia Shooting Sports Association, Eagle Forum PAC, Congressman Rob Wittman
Rob Wittman
Robert J. Wittman is the U.S. Representative for , serving since a special election in 2007. He is a member of the Republican Party. The district stretches from the fringes of the Washington suburbs to the Hampton Roads area...

, the Republican Liberty Caucus of Virginia, the Lincoln, Douglass & Washington Society, the National Federation of Independent Business
National Federation of Independent Business
The National Federation of Independent Business is a lobbying organization with its headquarters in Nashville, Tennessee and offices in Washington, D.C. USA, and in all 50 state capitals...

, the Virginia Farm Bureau, and the Virginia Fraternal Order of Police.

Cuccinelli received editorial board endorsements from the Richmond Times-Dispatch
Richmond Times-Dispatch
The Richmond Times-Dispatch is the primary daily newspaper in Richmond the capital of Virginia, United States, and is commonly considered the "newspaper of record" for events occurring in much of the state...

, The Daily Progress
The Daily Progress
The Daily Progress is the sole daily newspaper in the vicinity of Charlottesville, Virginia. It has been published continuously since 1892. According to the newspaper history published in the 75th anniversary edition in September, 1967, the paper was founded by James Lindsay...

, and Culpeper Star-Exponent. 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.” 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"

Attorney General of Virginia


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

On April 15, 2010, he attempted to speak at a Tea Party
Tea Party movement
The Tea Party movement is an American populist political movement that is generally recognized as conservative and libertarian, and has sponsored protests and supported political candidates since 2009...

 rally on the party's behalf, however he was denied.

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.

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. 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
Taxing and Spending Clause
Article I, Section 8, Clause 1 of the United States Constitution, is known as the Taxing and Spending Clause. It is the clause that gives the federal government of the United States its power of taxation...

 of the Constitution. On June 7, 2010 Virginia responded to the federal government’s motion to dismiss the state’s lawsuit.

On July 1, 2010, Federal district court judge Henry E. Hudson
Henry E. Hudson
Henry E. Hudson is a United States federal judge on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.-Early life and education:...

 heard arguments on the motion to dismiss the suit. On August 2, Judge Hudson ruled that the case can go forward and a two-hour summary judgment hearing was held on October 18, 2010, at 9:00 a.m. to on the constitutional claims. The hearing focused on whether the entire law must be invalidated if the requirement that individuals purchase insurance is held unconstitutional and whether the requirement to purchase insurance is a "tax" or a "penalty." On December 13, 2010, Judge Hudson ruled that the individual mandate portion of the health care bill was unconstitutional, but did not enjoin the implementation of the law.

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.

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. In November 2010, Cuccinelli rendered a legal opinion requested by Delegate Scott Lingamfelter (R-Prince William) regarding a legislative proposal from Prince William County Board of Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart to expand an anti-immigration county ordinance into a state-wide law. Cuccinelli opined that some provisions would be redundant with existing laws and others would be unconstitutional.

Gay rights


On March 4, 2010, one month after Governor Bob McDonnell
Bob McDonnell
Robert Francis "Bob" McDonnell is an American politician who has been the 71st Governor of Virginia since January 2010. A former lieutenant colonel in the United States Army, McDonnell served in the Virginia House of Delegates from 1993 to 2006 and served as Attorney General of Virginia from 2006...

 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," He then advised that the schools should "take appropriate actions to bring their policies in conformance with the law and public policy of Virginia." According to the Washington Post, "leaders of academia attacked the state directive on several fronts" including criticisms from the American Association of University Professors
American Association of University Professors
The American Association of University Professors is an organization of professors and other academics in the United States. AAUP membership is about 47,000, with over 500 local campus chapters and 39 state organizations...

 and Cuccinelli's own alma mater, the University of Virginia.

On March 10, 2010, McDonnell issued Executive Directive One (a statement of executive policy) to all state agency heads directing them not to fire employees based on sexual orientation. Despite the controversy, Cuccinelli stood by his letter, saying state universities are governed by the Dillon rule and had inadvertently circumvented state law. In a letter written to the University of Virginia
University of Virginia
The University of Virginia is a public research university located in Charlottesville, Virginia, United States, founded by Thomas Jefferson...

 community (Cuccinelli's alma mater), state senators Creigh Deeds
Creigh Deeds
Robert Creigh Deeds is an American politician who was the Democratic nominee for Governor of Virginia in 2009. He also ran in the 2005 race for Attorney General of Virginia. He was defeated in both of the above races by Bob McDonnell. Deeds lost by just 323 votes in 2005, but was defeated by a...

, Mark Herring
Mark Herring
Mark R. Herring is an American politician. A Democrat, he was elected to the Senate of Virginia, in a special election on January 31, 2006, winning against Republican candidate Mick Staton...

 and Ralph Northam
Ralph Northam
Ralph S. Northam is an American politician and physician from Virginia. A Democrat, he currently serves in the Senate of Virginia, representing the 6th district. He was first elected in November 2007....

 pointed out that McDonnell's directive was only a directive and did not "carry any weight of law" and would still prevent students or employees "who are discriminated against because of their sexual orientation" from seeking "a course of action". They further added, "the University of Virginia is more than capable of deciding what policies advance its mission, and should do so without meddling from Attorney General Cuccinelli." The Washington Post also noted that the Directive was not "legally-binding" and that McDonnell "supported the legal reasoning of Cuccinelli's letter". Despite Cuccinelli's lack of support on college campuses, support came to him through other groups: the Family Foundation emailed supporters with the subject reading "AG Follows Law, Gets Ripped" opposed any push to have the legislature address the issue.

Environmental policies


On February 16, 2010, Cuccinelli filed a request with the United States Environmental Protection Agency
United States Environmental Protection Agency
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is an agency of the federal government of the United States charged with protecting human health and the environment, by writing and enforcing regulations based on laws passed by Congress...

 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”. 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.

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
Clean Air Act
A Clean Air Act is one of a number of pieces of legislation relating to the reduction of airborne contaminants, smog and air pollution in general. The use by governments to enforce clean air standards has contributed to an improvement in human health and longer life spans...

. 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.

Litigation with University of Virginia


In April 2010, Cuccinelli served a civil investigative demand on the University of Virginia
University of Virginia
The University of Virginia is a public research university located in Charlottesville, Virginia, United States, founded by Thomas Jefferson...

 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. 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. While climate change skeptics have challenged Mann's work, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences
United States National Academy of Sciences
The National Academy of Sciences is a corporation in the United States whose members serve pro bono as "advisers to the nation on science, engineering, and medicine." As a national academy, new members of the organization are elected annually by current members, based on their distinguished and...

 and a Penn State investigation cleared Mann of charges that he falsified or suppressed data The Washington Post quotes Rachel Levinson, senior counsel with the American Association of University Professors
American Association of University Professors
The American Association of University Professors is an organization of professors and other academics in the United States. AAUP membership is about 47,000, with over 500 local campus chapters and 39 state organizations...

 (AAUP) as saying Cuccinelli's request had "echoes of McCarthyism
McCarthyism
McCarthyism is the practice of making accusations of disloyalty, subversion, or treason without proper regard for evidence. The term has its origins in the period in the United States known as the Second Red Scare, lasting roughly from the late 1940s to the late 1950s and characterized by...

." A. Barton Hinkle of the Richmond Times-Dispatch
Richmond Times-Dispatch
The Richmond Times-Dispatch is the primary daily newspaper in Richmond the capital of Virginia, United States, and is commonly considered the "newspaper of record" for events occurring in much of the state...

criticized Cuccinelli for "employing a very expansive reading of Virginia’s Fraud Against Taxpayers Act," writing:


This is not a maneuver gracefully executed by an Attorney General who is arguing, in the ObamaCare case, against Washington’s overly expansive reading of the Commerce Clause. How does Cuccinelli explain adopting the narrowest possible interpretation of the relevant language in that case, and the broadest possible interpretation of the relevant language in the Mann case? ... . Nothing about the Mann case evokes a sense of modesty or restraint. If Cuccinelli wants to rein in government power, then he could start at home.


Among the groups urging the University of Virginia to resist producing the data are: a letter published in Science
Science (journal)
Science is the academic journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and is one of the world's top scientific journals....

signed by 255 members of the United States National Academy of Sciences
United States National Academy of Sciences
The National Academy of Sciences is a corporation in the United States whose members serve pro bono as "advisers to the nation on science, engineering, and medicine." As a national academy, new members of the organization are elected annually by current members, based on their distinguished and...

, the American Civil Liberties Union
American Civil Liberties Union
The American Civil Liberties Union is a U.S. non-profit organization whose stated mission is "to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States." It works through litigation, legislation, and...

 and the AAUP. 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."
In 2011 in response to the escalating attacks form the Virginia AG's office, the Union of Concerned Scientists
Union of Concerned Scientists
The Union of Concerned Scientists is a nonprofit science advocacy group based in the United States. The UCS membership includes many private citizens in addition to professional scientists. James J...

 published a defense of scientific integrity and "Timeline: Legal Harassment of Climate Scientist Michael Mann".

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.

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. 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, “… 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. Cuccinelli has filed a notice of appeal of the judge's ruling.

On September 29, 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. Mann has been previously investigated by those who, like Cuccinelli, do argue that the science behind global warming is sound. The Washington Post described Cuccinelli's actions as an "anti-climate science crusade" 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 controversy


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
United States Navy Veterans Association
The United States Navy Veterans Association is a tax-exempt Veterans Organization that claims to have a national headquarters in Washington, D.C. It claimed that its purpose was to support the U.S. Navy, and to assist veterans and members of the U.S. Armed Forces, and their families.The...

. Thompson was Cuccinelli's second-largest campaign donor. After receiving the contribution, Cuccinelli met with Samuel F. Wright
Samuel F. Wright
Samuel F. Wright is a Washington DC-based attorney active in veterans issues. Wright lives in Arlington, Virginia.-Military career:While a law student, Wright was commissioned on November 1973, as an Ensign in the Naval Reserve, via the Navy’s Judge Advocate General’s Corps Student Program...

, 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.

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
Bob McDonnell
Robert Francis "Bob" McDonnell is an American politician who has been the 71st Governor of Virginia since January 2010. A former lieutenant colonel in the United States Army, McDonnell served in the Virginia House of Delegates from 1993 to 2006 and served as Attorney General of Virginia from 2006...

, have given the contributions from Thompson to other veterans' organizations. At that time, Cuccinelli refused to do so, despite calls from Virginia Democrats
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

. Cuccinelli's spokesman said "if Mr. Thompson was convicted
Conviction
In law, a conviction is the verdict that results when a court of law finds a defendant guilty of a crime.The opposite of a conviction is an acquittal . In Scotland and in the Netherlands, there can also be a verdict of "not proven", which counts as an acquittal...

 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." Sen. Don McEachin asserted that the standard for donations should be "much higher than that." 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. 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. 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.”

Female breast on Virginia seal


Cuccinelli caused a small controversy when he used an altered version of the historical state seal
Seal of Virginia
The seals of the Commonwealth of Virginia are the official symbols of the United States Commonwealth of Virginia.-History:In May 1776 the Virginia colony declared its independence from Great Britain. On July 1, 1776, a committee of four was appointed to make a proper seal for the Commonwealth of...

 which shows Virtus, the Roman goddess
Roman mythology
Roman mythology is the body of traditional stories pertaining to ancient Rome's legendary origins and religious system, as represented in the literature and visual arts of the Romans...

 of bravery and military strength, carrying a breastplate
Breastplate
A breastplate is a device worn over the torso to protect it from injury, as an item of religious significance, or as an item of status. A breastplate is sometimes worn by mythological beings as a distinctive item of clothing.- Armour :...

 to cover her left breast
Breast
The breast is the upper ventral region of the torso of a primate, in left and right sides, which in a female contains the mammary gland that secretes milk used to feed infants.Both men and women develop breasts from the same embryological tissues...

 on lapel pins he provided as gifts to his office staff. The current official seal shows Virtus holding a spear and her left breast is exposed. The original state seal was designed by George Wythe
George Wythe
George Wythe was an American lawyer, a judge, a prominent law professor and "Virginia's foremost classical scholar." He was a teacher and mentor of Thomas Jefferson. Wythe's signature is positioned at the head of the list of seven Virginia signatories on the United States Declaration of Independence...

, a signer of the Declaration of Independence
Declaration of independence
A declaration of independence is an assertion of the independence of an aspiring state or states. Such places are usually declared from part or all of the territory of another nation or failed nation, or are breakaway territories from within the larger state...

, and adopted in 1776. 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 American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

. Cuccinelli's spokesman
Spokesman
A spokesperson or spokesman or spokeswoman is someone engaged or elected to speak on behalf of others.In the present media-sensitive world, many organizations are increasingly likely to employ professionals who have received formal training in journalism, communications, public relations and...

, Brian Gottstein, said lapel pin
Lapel pin
A lapel pin is a small pin often worn on the lapel of a dress jacket. Lapel pins can be purely ornamental or can indicate the wearer's affiliation with an organization or cause; for example, American Flag lapel pins became very popular in the United States, especially among politicians, following...

s with the breast covered were paid for by Cuccinelli’s political action committee
Political action committee
In the United States, a political action committee, or PAC, is the name commonly given to a private group, regardless of size, organized to elect political candidates or to advance the outcome of a political issue or legislation. Legally, what constitutes a "PAC" for purposes of regulation is a...

, not with taxpayer funds
Government spending
Government spending includes all government consumption, investment but excludes transfer payments made by a state. Government acquisition of goods and services for current use to directly satisfy individual or collective needs of the members of the community is classed as government final...

. On May 3, following media coverage, Cuccinelli announced that he was dropping his "family friendly" version of the seal. He stated, "I cannot believe that joking with my staff about Virtue being a little more ‘virtuous’ in this antique version has become news."

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. 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.

The Attorney General's Office filed two separate lawsuits against two Virginia Beach-based mortgage modification
Mortgage modification
Mortgage modification is a process where the terms of a mortgage are modified outside the original terms of the contract agreed to by the lender and borrower . In general, any loan can be modified.-Background:...

 companies for charging customers up to $1,200 in illegal advance fees in exchange for allegedly helping to prevent foreclosure
Foreclosure
Foreclosure is the legal process by which a mortgage lender , or other lien holder, obtains a termination of a mortgage borrower 's equitable right of redemption, either by court order or by operation of law...

.

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.

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
Traumatic brain injury
Traumatic brain injury , also known as intracranial injury, occurs when an external force traumatically injures the brain. TBI can be classified based on severity, mechanism , or other features...

 issues affect veterans.

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.

Extradition 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
Buckingham Correctional Center
Buckingham Correctional Center is a state prison located on 968 acres outside the town of Dillwyn in Buckingham County, Virginia, USA. This facility is a Security Level 3 and has assignment criteria of Single, Multiple and Life...

 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
Bob McDonnell
Robert Francis "Bob" McDonnell is an American politician who has been the 71st Governor of Virginia since January 2010. A former lieutenant colonel in the United States Army, McDonnell served in the Virginia House of Delegates from 1993 to 2006 and served as Attorney General of Virginia from 2006...

, 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
Eric Holder
Eric Himpton Holder, Jr. is the 82nd and current Attorney General of the United States and the first African American to hold the position, serving under President Barack Obama....

 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.

Education Policy


On November 24 2010, Cuccinelli issued a legal opinion with regards to the searching of students' cell phones by police, school administrators, and teachers. He opined that such authorities could search students' cell phone on the basis of reasonable suspicions in order to deter cyberbullying and sexting. However, the ACLU and the Rutherford Institute
Rutherford Institute
The Rutherford Institute is a non-profit group based in Charlottesville, Virginia dedicated to the defense of civil liberties, human rights, and religious liberty. It was founded in 1982 by John W. Whitehead...

 stated that Cuccinelli's opinion was in error, lacking a legal foundation.

On January 28, 2011, Cuccinelli issued a legal opinion saying that school systems could not charge students the $75 testing fee when students take Advance Placement (AP) tests. Typically, AP courses are offered to academically advanced high school students to teach college-level materials. At the end of the course, students take a nationally-administered AP test, and can receive college credit if the test score meets a specified level. Cuccinelli claimed that public schools are required to provide a free education, so schools can not charge the exam fee on students taking the AP class.

Abortion


Cuccinelli is opposed to abortion, and is endorsed by the Republican National Coalition for Life
Republican National Coalition for Life
Republican National Coalition for Life is an organization formed to maintain the commitment of the Republican Party of the United States to pro-life principles...

. In November 2008 he was named the Family Foundation “Legislator of the Year.” Cuccinelli has sponsored a number of bills to discourage abortions, including requiring doctors to anesthetize fetuses undergoing late term abortions, altering the licensing and regulation of abortion clinics, requiring that a doctor save the fetal tissue when performing an abortion on a woman under age 15 for forensic use.

Immigration


During his Senate career, Cuccinelli introduced bills urging the United States Congress to amend the 14th Amendment
Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution
The Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was adopted on July 9, 1868, as one of the Reconstruction Amendments.Its Citizenship Clause provides a broad definition of citizenship that overruled the Dred Scott v...

 of the U.S. Constitution to revoke citizenship rights for children of illegal immigrants who are born in the U.S., to allow businesses to sue others that hire undocumented immigrants, and to establish inability to speak English in the workplace as cause for disqualification to receive unemployment benefits.

Second Amendment/gun control


Cuccinelli’s support of the Second Amendment brought him an endorsement by the National Rifle Association
National Rifle Association
The National Rifle Association of America is an American non-profit 501 civil rights organization which advocates for the protection of the Second Amendment of the United States Bill of Rights and the promotion of firearm ownership rights as well as marksmanship, firearm safety, and the protection...

 (NRA). He has sponsored legislation to repeal the prohibition on carrying a concealed handgun in a restaurant or club, for Virginia to recognize concealed handgun permits from other states, to shield concealed handgun permit application data from Freedom of Information Act requests, 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.
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.

Taxes


Cuccinelli is an anti-tax conservative. He helped lead an unsuccessful campaign to stop Mark Warner
Mark Warner
Mark Robert Warner is an American politician and businessman, currently serving in the United States Senate as the junior senator from the Commonwealth of Virginia. He is a member of the Democratic Party. Warner was the 69th governor of Virginia from 2002 to 2006 and is the honorary chairman of...

’s 2004 budget. 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.

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. 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.

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.

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.".

In 2005 Cuccinelli condemned a "Sextravaganza" event at George Mason University
George Mason University
George Mason University is a public university based in unincorporated Fairfax County, Virginia, United States, south of and adjacent to the city of Fairfax. Additional campuses are located nearby in Arlington County, Prince William County, and Loudoun County...

. 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.”

Sexual orientation


In 2004, Cuccinelli stated "homosexuality is wrong" 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." More directly, Cuccinelli said that “homosexual acts are wrong” and that “in a natural law
Natural law
Natural law, or the law of nature , is any system of law which is purportedly determined by nature, and thus universal. Classically, natural law refers to the use of reason to analyze human nature and deduce binding rules of moral behavior. Natural law is contrasted with the positive law Natural...

 based country it’s appropriate to have policies that reflect that.”

Obama presidency


Cuccinelli stated in a hypothetical that if President Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

 was born in Kenya, then 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.

Political future


Cuccinelli has been speculated as both a candidate for governor in the 2013 election
Virginia gubernatorial election, 2013
The Virginia gubernatorial election of 2013 will take place on November 5, 2013. The incumbent governor, Republican Bob McDonnell, will not be eligible to run due to term limits established by the Virginia Constitution...

 and a candidate for the United States Senate
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 in 2014. Cuccinelli himself stated that he was considering running for the Senate, but two days later, one of his aides said, "We haven't ruled out anything. He's not actively considering a run for any particular office at the moment. Ken is operating under the assumption that he will run for reelection [in 2013]. He hasn't ruled out any option besides running for president, which he has no desire to do."

External links