Va. AG candidates disagree over federal stimulus funds

John O'Brien Apr. 10, 2009, 2:19pm



RICHMOND, Va. (Legal Newsline) - Virginia Del. Steve Shannon, a candidate to become the state's next attorney general, said Thiursday he is disappointed the state's General Assembly denied more than $100 million in funds from the federal government.

Shannon, a Democrat, says lawmakers should have accepted $125 million in federal stimulus money to help thousands who have lost their jobs. Shannon said the GOP-controlled Assembly is playing "partisan games at the expense of Virginia families struggling in this economy."

Shannon is the highest-profile Democrat to declare his candidacy, while John Brownlee, a former U.S. Attorney, and Ken Cuccinelli, a state Senator, are seeking the Republican nomination this year.

"The General Assembly always works best when Democrats and Republicans come together, put partisanship aside and do what's right for Virginia," Shannon said. "(Wednesday's) action is a sad example of what happens when politicians put partisanship ahead of public service."

Republican Bob McDonnell resigned as attorney general earlier this year to concentrate on his campaign for governor. Bill Mims, McDonnell's chief deputy, is serving out the term.

Cuccinelli, meanwhile, was one of those who opposed accepting the money.

"We are being used," Cuccinelli said, according to a report in the Washington Post.

"Actually our constituents . . . who are now unemployed are being used by this administration to hold a gun to the head of this General Assembly with the assistance of the governor to force through a bad bill."

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