My View | Holding the attorney general accountable


Normal attorneys can only act with the authorization of their client; to do otherwise would be legal malpractice. Yet Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, the top lawyer in the state, has routinely acted on behalf of his client the people of Virginia without authorization, and in ways that promote his own interests, not ours.

Since he took office, Mr. Cuccinelli has devoted taxpayer dollars and limited government resources to pursuing symbolic lawsuits and a politically-motivated investigation of climate change research. He has involved the Commonwealth in a wide range of matters that are none of our business or concern, just to score political points and make headlines.

The attorney general seems to have forgotten that when he inserts himself into national political debates that dont directly involve the commonwealth, he doesnt act alone he acts on behalf of the people of Virginia.

Thats why Ive introduced HB 2468, legislation that specifies that the attorney general cannot file a civil action or briefs on behalf of the commonwealth, or represent the commonwealth in matters before the federal government, without the consent of the governor or General Assembly.

When Mr. Cuccinelli backed Proposition 8 in California, which denied equal rights to gay and lesbian couples, he didnt speak for me. When he filed an amicus brief in support of Arizonas extreme immigration law, which encourages racial profiling by law enforcement, he certainly didnt speak for my constituents in the 49th District, many of whom are immigrants themselves. And when he sued the federal government to challenge the scientific consensus on climate change, he did not speak for all the citizens of the commonwealth.

Like any employee of the state, Mr. Cuccinelli must be held accountable to the taxpayers. My bill ensures that the peoples money is spent doing the peoples work.

It will send a clear message to the attorney general from the people of Virginia: not with our money, and not in our name. Virginians deserve better than an attorney general whos more interested in making a name for himself than carrying out the duties of his office.

Its time that Ken Cuccinelli started doing the job he was elected to do. 

The writer represents Alexandrias 49th District in Virginias General Assembly.