How Much Is Cuccinelli Costing Taxpayers?


ooner or later, someone is going to have to pay for the dogma-saturated legal forays of Kenneth Cuccinelli, Virginia’s firebrand Attorney General.

It’s a shame because hardly any of Cuccinelli’s high-profile legal actions seem to be worthy cases that protect citizens of the Old Dominion. Instead, his actions are aimed at firing up the hard-right fringes of the Republican Party and maybe dragging some in the center along as congressional elections approach this fall and General Assembly races follow next year.
Meanwhile, “The Cooch’s” legal initiatives are getting some substantial push-back and they are far from litigation slam-dunks.
The Feds have come back hard against Cuccinelli’s politically-motivated lawsuit against the health care reform act just passed that ends such one-sided and harmful practices as denying people health insurance because of a “pre-existing” condition as defined by private sector lawyers and insurance bureaucrats. The next shoe to drop comes in federal court in Richmond in August.
“Cooch” is also getting strong push-back from The University of Virginia as he pursues his fishing trip in the form of “civil investigative demands” to hound a former Hoo professor and global warming researcher Michael Mann.
To fight off the attorney general, the university’s Board of Visitors has hired a tip-top, white shoe law firm, Hogan Lovells. The firm is the newly-merged entity formed by one of Washington’s most prominent law firms and Lovells of London. The new firm has 2,500 lawyers in 47 countries. I am told they can get up to $1,500 an hour , depending upon how many lawyers they throw on a case. They have been defending U.Va. since May and will deal with some 40 pages of legal papers Cuccinelli has filed. The next court hearing is in August.
Irrepressible Cuccinelli has been dancing in other courtrooms, too. He has filed an “amicus” brief supporting Arizona as it defends its racist immigration law against federal lawsuits.
So how much is the busy Cuccinelli going to cost us taxpayers? A spokesman says that in the federal lawsuit case, they paid a $350 filing fee for the lawsuit and than none of the lawyers in the attorney general’s office is being taken off other, routine work. He did not know how much the U.Va. case would cost.
A university spokeswoman told me that the school is not using public money in the Cuccinelli-Mann matter but has been accepting contributions from alumni and others. One individual, worried about academic freedom issues, stroked a check for $5,000.
As the struggle goes forward, holes in the “Cooch’s” global warming case are starting to show. He is using evidence that surfaced in a British controversy over the University of East Anglia that caches global warming research for the United Nations. E-mails by some scientists were claimed to prove that some global warming research is fraudulent.
That claim is red meat for Cuccinelli and he’s trying to pin it to Mann, who left U.Va. for Penn State in 2005 and is involved in some of the East Anglia emails.. A couple of new wrinkles might make that hard. The Union of Concerned Scientists, a lobby group of science researchers, says that some of the emails that Cuccinelli is pursuing have nothing whatsoever to do with Mann. In recent weeks, a British probe has found no evidence of fraud in the East Anglia flap. By the way, Mann was probed and found innocent of any bad science by Penn State.
This, of course, means nothing to the rightist global warming deniers, including the individual who runs this blog and his allies who take their cues from the Cato and American Enterprise Institutes and other conservative think tanks in the area of Washington which they all claim to so despise.
One wonders, however, what the legal bill for all of this really is. And if the cases get tossed out of court, a very real possibility, one wonders if the fraud here is really Cuccinelli’s doing.
Peter Galuszka

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12 responses to “How Much Is Cuccinelli Costing Taxpayers?”

  1. Anonymous Avatar

    The case law and legal precedents set by overturning Cucinelli's flapjacks may be the best thing that could happen for liberals.

  2. Larry G Avatar

    If you were a little known smuck of a lawyer that had little political name recognition ….and had those aspirations .. and you figured out a way to make your name a household word… .

    shouldn't the rest of his admire his skill and accomplishments?

    KUDOS Mr. C.!

  3. Anonymous Avatar

    Peter – this one is over-the-top. We have the most extreme ideological administration in Washington since the nation began and certainly one of the least competent. Depending on on the polls, pluralities or even majorities of Americans oppose health care reform.

    CBS, hardly a bastion of the right, reports that only 13% of polled Americans think Obama's policies have helped them.

    The United States Attorney General is an out and out racist. Professional staff from DoJ have made the allegations. Black Panther voter intimidation. Closing eyes to sanctuary cities and even basic enforcement of the federal immigration law, while going after Arizona, which is under siege from illegal immigration. "You don't have the authority to enforce a federal statute and I sure as all hell will not do it. Amnesty means more Democratic voters. There aren't enough felons (Senator Franken) to keep us on top."

    On the matter of global warming, you are relying on internal probes of faculty or former faculty members. How come most localities have external review boards for claims of police misconduct? Many object to purely internal reviews of doctors, attorneys, accountants, etc. But climate science internal review is perfectly acceptable.

    There are many areas where I don't agree with Cuccinelli, especially on social issues, but I'm very glad he is standing up against the Obama administration on health care reform and the smug and taxpayer-funded climate science community. I suspect I am not alone. The American system works on checks and balances.


  4. Gooze Views Avatar
    Gooze Views

    Didn't Congress pass health care? I don't recall the dogmatic Obama administration ordering it top-down, a la police state.Isn't it the law of the land, having gone through the usual vetting process? I would think that instead of slamming Obama, you might consider that the House and Senate passed it, regardless of whether you like it.
    As for global warming, Cuccinelli is pursuing research going back before 2005. Obama wasn't president then.


  5. Larry G Avatar

    just want to point out that the many of the things that TMT is citing are making the rounds on the right wing blog sites.

    Take one.

    The voter "intimidation" incident happen in 2008…. long before Holder was the AG.

    I'm just not understanding how something that happened two years ago proves that the AG is a racist.

    Or give a cite for the DOJ racist accusation.

    What I'm finding is that some of this stuff gets started on one right wing blog site …goes viral… and when asked, no one can produce evidence of the accusation and instead just reference the other right wing blog sites.

    Can it be explained how this happened in Fall 2008 in Philadelphia and now it proves this administration is racist?

    All I'm looking for is some non-right-wing confirmation of the facts.

    can anyone provide them?

    Did the Bush-appointed Philadelphia United States Attorney file charges and the Obama-appointed United States Attorney dropped them after being ordered by Holder/Obama?

  6. Anonymous Avatar

    Larry, Holder stopped an investigation of the voter intimidation situation. While the event occurred before he became Attorney General, the investigation was occurring on his watch and his Department stopped it. The United States Civil Rights Commission is investigating the DoJ's action.

    What if there had been similar voter intimidation of black, Hispanic, Asian, etc. voters by a white supremacist organization and the DoJ dropped charge? Suppose someone like Ashcroft would have been involved. Might we expect to see charges of racism?

    Peter, state attorneys general challenge federal laws that passed Congress and were signed by the president all the time. The case of Lorillard Tobacco Co. v Reilly, 533 U.S. 525 (2001) involved an argument by the Attorney General of Massachusetts that the Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act did not preempt state law on tobacco advertising and sales.

    The case of Gonzales v. Oregon, 546 U. S. 243 (2006) involved a challenge by the state of Oregon to federal law prohibiting the unauthorized distribution and dispensation of substances that was inconsistent with the Oregon Death With Dignity Act. That state law permitted state-licensed physicians who, in compliance with ODWDA's specific safeguards, to dispense or to prescribe a lethal dose of drugs upon the request of a terminally ill patient.

    Gee, I suspect that those lawsuits cost Massachusetts and Oregon taxpayers money and that not everyone in those two states supported the legal challenges. States and their attorneys general challenge federal laws and regulations all the time.

    But what is the difference? President Obama. No one is permitted to challenge his policies or laws that he signed — apparently. What a load of crap.

    He's the President of the United States, duly elected. But he is not exempt from the rough and tumble of politics any more than all of his predecessors. The Constitution does not exempt the laws he signs from legal challenge.

    A large number, but certainly not all, Virginians are likely happy to see any and all challenges to Health Care Reform in court and on election day.


  7. Groveton Avatar

    Virginia's Attorney General is entrusted to protect the Commonwealth from fraud and to ensure that the right granted the several states in the US Constitution are not being infringed by any Jack boater bureaucrats in Washington, DC. He is fulfilling both of these duties.

    In the case of Dr. Mann, the AG believes that documents uncovered in the East Anglia affair raise serious concerns as to the possible misuse of taxpayer money by Mr. Mann while employed by The University of Virginia. The absurd and self-serving internal review conducted by a peer group in England neither addresses the UVA matter nor does it even address the East Anglia matter.

    In the case of Obamacare, the AG believes that some provisions of the enacted law are unconstitutional. So do I. For various reasons, so do the attorneys general of 20 other states.

    Your claim that Mr. Cuccinelli is simply out on a conservative jihad does not pass the reality test. Mr. Cuccinelli inflamed conwservatwive groups in Virginia when he filed a motion in support of George Mason University's gun ban on campus. However, liberal commentators continue to practice the shop worn practice of ignoring anything that does not support their childish, emotional views.

  8. Groveton Avatar

    The only bad news is that Cuccinelli's lawsuits will likely still be in court on Nov 2 when the Democrats will be immolated in the mid-term election. This electoral meltdown will be a repudiation of socialism in general and Obama in particular. I expect Obamacare to be quickly repealed.

    Eric Holder is a racist – pure and simple. He ignores Black Supremecist voter intimidation since it is his policy not to accuse blacks of racism regadless of the case.

  9. Larry G Avatar

    TMT – done a little research and indeed there are "issues" as they say….

    Looks like at the least that Holder and Obama are tone deaf on things like this.

    If there is even a hint of preferential treatment of minorities in this administration, it will take away the independent voters from Obama and it does look like this is one of those tings that has that potential.

    If Holder did order the case dropped in the way that others in DOJ say he did – he's gone and more damage done to Obama.

    I have no sympathy for stupidity whether it be Bush or Obama.

  10. Anonymous Avatar

    Larry – we need one set of known rules that apply equally whether the Democrats or the Repubicans are in power.


  11. Anonymous Avatar

    Obviously money is not really the issue if you believe we should pay for phony science to avert the disclosure of truth.
    Also, it does seem that there is a large amount of racism involved in dropping the current case of voter intimidation. The fact that the crime occured before the obama administration is irrelevant, the crime was exposed on this watch.

  12. The Logician Avatar
    The Logician

    Cuccinelli is a slugger in the classic baseball sense. Some he'll hit out of the park. Sometimes, he'll strike out. But either way, he's not content to settle for the nickel-and-dime approach.

    Gooze, his lawsuit against the Federal government regarding the Health Care bill has zero to do with pre-existing conditions (PEC's). Most Republicans were on board with health care overhaul, which would have entailed more consumer protection (such as PEC's), combined with torte reform to lower malpractice insurance costs which are then passed onto consumers. The AG's lawsuit centers around the provision compelling citizens to purchase health insurance.

    We can go back and forth all day over whether the Health Care bill is a nice idea, and it's hard to argue with the notion of uninsured children and the like. But the underlying issue is that the Federal government compelling private citizens to be insured is 100% UNCONSTITUTIONAL. The AG is perfectly within his right to litigate when Federal statutes infringe upon the rights of that state's citizens. Yes, the elected Congress passed Health Care Reform. Keep in mind also, though, that the elected General Assembly passed a bill protecting Virginians' rights to live uninsured. The AG is legally obligated to defend the laws passed the the General Assembly. Seems to me that this lawsuit is right up his alley.

    His CID with my alma mater is a strike-out however. It's a fishing expedition, it's wasting the University's money at a time when higher education is already cash strapped. And, as I'm on record in the T-D as saying, it infringes upon the atmosphere of academic freedom that leading universities need to have thriving research.

    Filing an amicus brief is pretty well Standard Operating Procedure for legal organizations in both private and public arenas. Do your research, and you'll find that AG's, Federal Authorities, legal counsels, and private advocacies (such as the ACLU) file amicus briefs on countless topics every year, sometimes in their own jurisdictions, sometimes at the Federal level, and sometimes across the country. If you want to agree or disagree with the position he took in his brief, that's your right. But it's his right, and standard practice, for him to file a brief in a case such as this.

    The issue of the state seal on the lapel pin was just silly.

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