For Immediate Release
From: Virginians For Clean Government
Date: October 9, 2013
Virginians for Clean Government Request to Know When Cuccinelli Knew About Communications Between Attorney General's Office and CONSOL Energy
Group makes Virginia Public Records Act request to see all communications between Cuccinelli's office and CONSOL from June to September
Wise County, Virginia - Virginians for Clean Government, a group of Virginia residents promoting ethical government in Richmond, called on Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli to release all communications between his staff and CONSOL Energy. The request was based on news reports that Cuccinelli told the Bristol Herald-Courier at campaign stop in Abingdon on Tuesday that his office had only stopped communicating with CONSOL "in the last month or so."
The text of the letter reads:
Dear Mr. Cuccinelli:
As you know, the Attorney General's office is currently under investigation by the Inspector General over its communications with CONSOL, a Pennsylvania-based company engaged in a lawsuit with Southwest Virginia landowners. The investigation was prompted by records showing that Senior Assistant Attorney General Sharon Pigeon exchanged dozens of emails with CONSOL subsidiaries starting in 2010, many of which can be construed as providing legal advice to CONSOL on how to defeat Virginia landowner lawsuits.
We assumed communications between your office and CONSOL had stopped. But we were dismayed to learn yesterday that your office continued communicating with CONSOL even after a federal judge in June 2013 found the level of legal assistance from your senior assistant Attorney General office to CONSOL to be "shocking."
As Virginia residents, we think this is ethically questionable because Pennsylvania-based CONSOL Energy has contributed more than $100,000 to your gubernatorial campaign.
Pursuant to the Virginia Public Records Act, we request copies of all communications from the months of June, July, August and September between any representative of the Attorney General's office and CONSOL Energy and its subsidiaries. Such communications as logs of phone calls, instant messages, texts, scheduled meetings, emails and any other electronic communications are to be included.
Given the time sensitive nature of this issue and the substantial campaign contributions from CONSOL to your gubernatorial campaign, we are requesting that the information be divulged within 7 business days. This is information that Southwest Virginia landowners and statewide voters deserve to have in a timely manner.
We are further concerned to learn that you only recently became aware of the communications between your office and CONSOL Energy. We have been aware of it for months. Your office called Ms. Pigeon's emails "overzealous" in a Bristol Herald-Courier story on June 6, 2013. Have you been completely unaware of this major issue for the past four months? How could you be not know about an issue for which your office is under investigation by the Inspector General? Or have you been too busy on the campaign trail to stand up for the citizens you were elected to protect?
We're also renewing our request that you return the $100,000 in CONSOL campaign contributions or step down as Attorney General.
Valarie Castle Stanley
Linda Skeens Mickels