Virginia is sinking as scandals envelop it. We all know about former Governor Bob McDonnell and his wife, convicted of corruption.
Lesser known outside the state is the story about how one Democratic state senator resigned at a crucial time. It was during debate in the legislature about expanding Medicaid. Republicans, who hold a majority in the House of Delegates, were opposed, but a one-vote Democratic majority in the Senate (the crucial lieutenant governor’s tie breaker) provided a pathway to approve the expansion.
Then a Democratic senator, Phil Puckett, abruptly resigned, flipping control of the Senate to the GOP. It was soon revealed that the Republicans in the House had offered him a plush state government position and were prepared to release a hold they had maintained on approval of a judicial appointment for the senator’s daughter. Federal officials are investigating whether these offers constituted corruption.
Yesterday, it was revealed an aide to the Democratic governor had then counter-offered the senator a different job for the daughter. Even some Republicans thought things had gone too far.
“This is the danger of criminalizing ordinary politics,” said Sen. Richard H. Black (R-Loudoun).
Criminalizing ordinary politics. Many of us thought we already had, and if we hadn’t formally, ordinary politics today does seem criminal.