Thursday, September 11, 2014

Statement of RPV Chairman Pat Mullins on the 13th Anniversary of 9-11

RPV Chairman Pat Mullins issued the following statement:

"It seems like so very long ago that we all woke up on a beautiful, clear September morning and watched our world change forever. No one who saw that day with their own eyes was ever the same.

"And yet the scars, physical for some, mental for many, and emotional for us all, remain fresh and unchanging. I watched as classmates from Columbia vanished in a flash of tragedy, huddled with an assistant and dear friend as we waited to learn if her husband's meeting at the Pentagon had left her a widow."

"The windows rattled at our Annandale church as the day reached its awful climax, as a memorial service for one of our fallen veterans yielded to the day's events - a funeral on hold as we all waited to see how many more funerals this horror would create."

"Time has passed. Broken buildings have been repaired, and memorials now mark what became hallowed ground, a pilgrimage made by many of us more than once. But the pain of that day will never completely heal, even as the memories of those we lost will never truly be absent. We remember those who left for work but never came home, and those who ran toward the sound of danger, hoping to save lives, only to lose their own. We remember a day when uncommon heroism was common, with thankful hearts and tearful eyes."

"Those who would do us harm sought to destroy the fabric that knits us together as a nation -- what Lincoln called the 'mystic chords of memory.' They sought to hurt us, wound us, and make us weaker. And while they did hurt us, they failed utterly. They made us stronger. For the first time in many of our lives, all differences were set aside. We were neighbors, even if we'd never met before. "

"When the call went out for help, we responded as one. In attempting to destroy us, they reminded us of who we are. They showed us that underneath all of our differences, we are one people, who were and remain ready to answer the calls of our country, our Commonwealth, and our neighbors."

"We are all Americans. And we will always remember. "

Thursday, September 4, 2014

The McDonnell Verdict

Well it is a sad day for Virginia. For the first time in history a Virginia Governor has been convicted of a crime. Of course we still will need to get several more Governors’ convicted to catch up to Maryland, New Jersey and Illinois..

But all jokes aside, it is sad.

No matter your party affiliation, as Virginians we must acknowledge that it is a dark day for our great commonwealth. Our state has been free of corruption since our first settlement in Jamestown.

In addition it is a tragedy for the McDonnell family. I have had the pleasure of talking to Bob and Maureen McDonnell on a number of occasions. I chatted with the Governor a couple times at the Governors mansion, and the first lady even did an interview on my blog. I will admit I have tremendous respect for him. As a public servant he was first rate. As a Governor he was one of the best.

I am sure for years people will second guess the defense strategy of blaming it all on the wife, and will question McDonnell’s decision not to take a plea deal, which reportedly would have had him plead guilty to one felony charge, with his wife not being indicted, and no trial.

The jury has spoken, but I must say I was a little shocked by the decision. It was a weak case based on one witness, who, received immunity from the prosecution on another case. Williams got nothing from McDonnell. McDonnell did nothing for Williams.

But in the wake of their decision I have two concerns. First, will this decision emboldened the Department of Justice to go after other Governors and state officials they don’t like on “corruption” charges? Probably.

It is easy to at least get an indictment. Just look at Rick Perry in Texas. It seems that the Governor vetoed an appropriation that he didn’t like. Hardly an abuse of power, but in this day and age of the public hating politicians almost any grounds to indict or even convict will work.

The second concern I have. Virginia Governors, for that matter all Governors, are supposed to promote their state’s businesses and industries. Well, now might future Virginia Governors avoid any promotion of a Virginia business for fear of a possible indictment from an over zealous federal prosecutor?

My guess is it will always be easy for a prosecutor to find some spurious connection between a business and a Governor who has in the past said a few nice things about the company. Perhaps a cousin worked for the company, a contributor; maybe an executive gave money to the Governors campaign.etc

When you think about it, getting an indictment or even a conviction isn’t that hard. Especially when a politician is the defendant. Juries have no sympathy for politicians.

The McDonnell’s will no doubt appeal. Perhaps justice will prevail after all. And the fact that neither of the McDonnells have criminal records should mean little jail time.

Statement of House Speaker William J. Howell on the trial of former Governor Bob McDonnell

Virginia House of Delegates Speaker William J. Howell issued the following statement Thursday on the trial of former Governor Bob McDonnell:

“This is a sad day for Virginia. I have known Bob McDonnell for a long time and consider him a very good friend of mine. He spent 38 years in public service and his record as Governor speaks for itself. I believe in the justice system and I am not going second guess the jury. The jury rendered its verdict and the McDonnells have an opportunity to appeal. That’s the way the system works. I am proud to call Bob McDonnell my friend and I pray for him and his family during this difficult time.”