Ken Cuccinelli

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Ken Cuccinelli
Ken Cuccinelli by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Cuccinelli at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C. on October 7, 2011
47th Attorney General of Virginia
In office
January 16, 2010 – January 11, 2014
Governor Bob McDonnell
Preceded by Bill Mims
Succeeded by Mark Herring
Member of the Virginia Senate
from the 37th district
In office
August 2002 – January 12, 2010
Preceded by Warren Barry
Succeeded by David Marsden
Personal details
Born Kenneth Thomas Cuccinelli II
(1968-07-30) July 30, 1968 (age 46)
Edison, New Jersey, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Teiro Cuccinelli
Children 5 daughters, 2 sons
Residence Nokesville, Virginia, U.S.
Alma mater University of Virginia
George Mason University
Religion Roman Catholicism
Signature
Website Official website

Kenneth Thomas "Ken" Cuccinelli II (/ˈkɛn ˈkiˈnɛl/ KOO-chi-NEL-lee; born July 30, 1968) is a former Attorney General of Virginia who was the Republican candidate for Governor of Virginia in the 2013 Virginia gubernatorial election. He was elected as Virginia's 47th Attorney General in the November 2009 general election. From 2002 until January 16, 2010 he was a Republican member of the Senate of Virginia, representing the 37th district in Fairfax County. He holds degrees in engineering, law and commercial policy, and co-founded a law firm.

On May 18, 2013, Cuccinelli won the Republican Party’s gubernatorial nomination at the state party convention.[1] In the November 2013 general election, he lost to Democrat Terry McAuliffe by 56,435 votes or 2.5% of the total votes cast.[2]

Early life, education, and early career[edit]

Cuccinelli was born in Edison, New Jersey, the son of Maribeth (née Reilly) and Kenneth Thomas Cuccinelli.[3] His father is of Italian descent and his mother is of Irish ancestry.[4] He graduated from Gonzaga College High School in 1986,[5] and received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Virginia, a J.D. degree from George Mason University School of Law, and an M.A. in International Commerce and Policy from George Mason University.[6]

Cuccinelli served on state commissions including:[7]

  • Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Project
  • Public / Private Partnership Advisory Commission
  • Commission on the Prevention of Human Trafficking
  • Joint Subcommittee to Study Liability Protections for Health Care Providers
  • Virginia Supreme Court Commission on Mental Health in the Justice System

He co-founded a general practice law firm in Fairfax City, Virginia.[8]

While living in a group house in college, Cuccinelli heard a woman shriek when an intruder climbed into her bed. After the incident, Cuccinelli established a peer-to-peer sexual assault prevention group on campus, and became a confidant for survivors of sexual assault.[9] Cuccinelli worked together with feminists on campus to convince the university to create a full-time sexual assault education coordinator position.[9][10]

Virginia Senate[edit]

Elections[edit]

Cuccinelli ran for the state Senate in the 37th District in an August 2002 special election. He defeated Democrat Catherine Belter 55%-45%.[11][12] In 2003, he was re-elected to his first full term, defeating Democrat Jim E. Mitchell III 53%-47%.[13] In 2007, he barely won re-election to his second full term, narrowly defeating Democrat Janet Oleszek by a 0.3-point margin, a difference of just 92 votes out of about 37,000 votes cast.[14][15]

Tenure[edit]

During his time in the Senate Cuccinelli took conservative positions on abortion, gay marriage, illegal immigration, taxes, government spending, property rights, and the Second Amendment, while advocating law enforcement and increased care for the mentally disabled.[16]

Committee assignments[edit]

  • Courts of Justice
  • Local Government
  • Rehabilitation and Social Services
  • Transportation[17]

Attorney General of Virginia[edit]

Cuccinelli was inaugurated on January 16, 2010.[18] He donated $100,000 from his inauguration fundraising effort to a Richmond non-profit that provides medical and mental health services to the homeless, saying inauguration events should be used to shed light on impoverished and underserved citizens.[19][20]

2009 election[edit]

Cuccinelli receiving the "Defender of the Constitution" Award at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference in February 2012, for his work as Attorney General of Virginia.

In 2009 Cuccinelli was selected as the Republican nominee for Attorney General,[21] going on to win 58% of the vote (1,123,816 votes). Republican Bob McDonnell became Governor, and Bill Bolling was re-elected as Lieutenant Governor.

Two weeks after taking office, Cuccinelli drew questions for continuing to represent a private client in a court proceeding, although this was not illegal.[22]

Healthcare[edit]

In 2010 Cuccinelli filed a lawsuit (Virginia v. Sebelius) in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia challenging the constitutionality of the Federal Health Care bill passed on March 21, claiming that it exceeded the Federal government's power under the interstate commerce clause of the Constitution.[23] After a series of court decisions and appeals, on September 8, 2011 the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, in a decision issued by Judge Diana Gribbon Motz, overturned Judge Hudson's decision on the basis that Virginia lacked subject-matter jurisdiction—Virginia could not pass a law to supersede or nullify a federal law.[24] The Supreme Court had previously refused Cuccinelli's request to appeal directly.[25]

Immigration[edit]

On July 14, 2010, Cuccinelli joined eight other states in filing an amicus brief opposing the federal government's lawsuit challenging an Arizona immigration enforcement statute.[26]

On August 2, 2010, Cuccinelli issued a legal opinion authorizing law enforcement officials to investigate the immigration status of anyone that they have stopped; previously this was done only for those arrested. Cuccinelli noted that the authority to investigate the immigration status of a stopped person should not "extend the duration of a stop by any significant degree." Critics note that the opinion circumvents changing the policy by legislation and that bills to make this change have died in the General Assembly.[27] In November 2010, Cuccinelli rendered a legal opinion requested by Delegate Scott Lingamfelter (R-Prince William) regarding a legislative proposal from Prince William County Board of Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart to expand an anti-immigration county ordinance into a state-wide law. Cuccinelli expressed the opinion that some provisions would be redundant, given existing laws, and others would be unconstitutional.[28]

Gay rights nondiscrimination policy[edit]

On March 4, 2010, at the request of several state universities, Cuccinelli issued an official opinion to "Presidents, Rectors, and Visitors of Virginia’s Public Colleges and Universities" that stated, "It is my advice that the law and public policy of the Commonwealth of Virginia prohibit a college or university from including ‘sexual orientation,’ ‘gender identity,’ ‘gender expression,’ or like classification, as a protected class within its nondiscrimination policy, absent specific authorization from the General Assembly.”[29]

Virginia Democratic State Senator John Edwards said that Cuccinelli was "turning back the clock on civil rights in Virginia."[30] The American Association of University Professors and the University of Virginia also criticized the opinion.[31] Cuccinelli defended the legal opinion: "Our role isn't in the political arena on this subject. Our role is to give legal advice, to state what the law is."[32] The Washington Post said previous attorneys general of both parties held that local governments could not enact nondiscrimination policies for the same reason that Cuccinelli cited.[9]

Governor Bob McDonnell supported the legal reasoning in the opinion.[33] However, he issued Executive Directive One to all state agency heads stating that he would not allow them to discriminate based on sexual orientation.[33][34]

Environmental policies[edit]

On February 16, 2010, Cuccinelli filed a request with the United States Environmental Protection Agency to reopen its proceeding regarding EPA's finding that greenhouse gases endanger public health. He also sought judicial review of EPA's finding in Federal court. His press statement explained, "We cannot allow unelected bureaucrats with political agendas to use falsified data to regulate American industry and drive our economy into the ground".[35] On March 19, Cuccinelli announced that at least 15 states supported Virginia’s position.[36]

On April 1, 2010, Cuccinelli announced he would challenge the March 2010 standards for motor vehicle fuel efficiency specified in the Clean Air Act.[37][38][39]

On June 26, 2012, a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit rejected Cuccinelli's arguments, unanimously ruling in Coalition for Responsible Regulation v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that the EPA has the authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions as part of a strategy to address anthropogenic climate change and that the EPA's finding that "greenhouse gases in the atmosphere may reasonably be anticipated both to endanger public health and to endanger public welfare" was well-founded in science and public policy.[40]

Litigation with University of Virginia[edit]

In April 2010, Cuccinelli served a civil investigative demand on the University of Virginia seeking a broad range of documents related to Michael E. Mann, a climate researcher now at Penn State who was an assistant professor at UVA from 1999 to 2005.[41][42] Cuccinelli based his demand on the 2002 Virginia Fraud Against Taxpayers Act, although no evidence of wrongdoing was given to explain the invocation of the law.[43] While climate change skeptics have raised allegations in challenging Mann's work, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and Penn State investigations cleared Mann of any wrongdoing.[44] The Washington Post quotes Rachel Levinson, senior counsel with the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) as saying Cuccinelli's request had "echoes of McCarthyism."[45] A. Barton Hinkle of the Richmond Times-Dispatch criticized Cuccinelli for "employing a very expansive reading of Virginia’s Fraud Against Taxpayers Act."[46]

Among the groups urging the University of Virginia to resist producing the data were: a letter published in Science signed by 255 members of the United States National Academy of Sciences, the American Civil Liberties Union and the AAUP.[42] Also in May 2010, the University of Virginia Faculty Senate Executive Council wrote a letter strongly rebuking Cuccinelli for his civil investigative demand of the Mann records, stating that "[Cuccinelli's] action and the potential threat of legal prosecution of scientific endeavor that has satisfied peer-review standards send a chilling message to scientists engaged in basic research involving Earth’s climate and indeed to scholars in any discipline."[47] In 2011 in response to the escalating attacks from the Virginia AG's office, the Union of Concerned Scientists published a defense of scientific integrity and "Timeline: Legal Harassment of Climate Scientist Michael Mann".[48]

On May 27, 2010, the University of Virginia began legal proceedings challenging Cuccinelli's investigative demand. The school's petition states that Virginia's "Fraud Against Taxpayers Act" (FATA) cited by Cuccinelli is not applicable in this case, as four of the five grants were federal, and that the fifth was an internal University of Virginia grant originally awarded in 2001. The filing also states that FATA was enacted in 2003 and is not retroactive.[49][50]

On August 20, 2010, Albermarle Circuit Court Judge Paul Peatross heard argument on when Cuccinelli should get the requested data.[51] On August 30, 2010, Judge Paul M. Peatross Jr. said that "the nature of the conduct is not stated so that any reasonable person could glean what Dr. Mann did to violate the statute," the judge wrote.[52][53][54]

On September 29, 2010, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli sent a new civil subpoena to the University of Virginia renewing a demand for documents related to the work of Mann. Cuccinelli narrowed his request to documents related to a grant that funded research unrelated to climate change. The demand also sought emails between Mann and 39 other climate change scientists.[55] Cuccinelli filed a notice of appeal of the case to the Virginia Supreme Court, which ruled that Cuccinelli did not have the authority to make these demands. The outcome was hailed as a victory for academic freedom.[56][57]

Campaign contributions[edit]

Cuccinelli received $55,500 in campaign contributions from Bobby Thompson, a director of the U.S. Navy Veterans Association (a veterans group under investigation). Thompson was Cuccinelli's second-largest campaign donor.[58][59] After receiving the contribution, Cuccinelli met with Samuel F. Wright, a USNVA representative on February 15, 2010, to discuss legislation which had passed the State Senate that would exempt the group from having to register with Virginia regulators.[60]

After an investigative report in the St. Petersburg Times in March 2010 raised questions about the Navy Veterans Association and Thompson, all other Virginia politicians, including Gov. Bob McDonnell, donated contributions from Thompson to other veterans' organizations. Cuccinelli refused to do so, despite calls from Virginia Democrats. Cuccinelli's spokesman said "if Mr. Thompson was convicted of wrongdoing relative to the misappropriation of funds, and contributions to our campaign came from money that was supposed to go to active duty military or veterans, we would donate those contributions to military support organizations here in Virginia."[59] Sen. Don McEachin asserted that the standard for donations should be "much higher than that."[61] A month later in June, a Cuccinelli spokesman said $55,500 would be set aside in a restricted account pending the outcome of the investigation into Thompson and USNVA.[62] On July 28, 2010, Cuccinelli announced that he will donate the $55,000 to veterans charities in Virginia. Cuccinelli stated that his decision was prompted by statements from Thompson's lawyers indicating that Thompson can no longer be located.[63]

Virginia seal[edit]

In May 2010 Cuccinelli used a historical state seal which shows Virtus, the Roman goddess of bravery and military strength, carrying a breastplate to cover her left breast on lapel pins he provided as gifts to his office staff.[64][65] The current official seal shows Virtus holding a spear and her left breast is exposed. The original state seal was designed by George Wythe, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and adopted in 1776.[66] Cuccinelli's spokesman, Brian Gottstein, said lapel pins with the breast covered were paid for by Cuccinelli’s political action committee, not with taxpayer funds.[67]

In response to media inquiries, Cuccinelli released a statement including the following explanation:[68]

The seal on my pin is one of many seal variations that were used before a uniform version was created in 1930. I felt it was historic and would be something unique for my staff. My joke about Virtue being a little more virtuous in her more modest clothing was intended to get laughs from my employees -- which it did!

Combating usury[edit]

Since 2007, the Virginia Attorney General's Office has negotiated settlements of almost $8 million representing refunds from eight auto-title lenders.[69][70] The office filed a lawsuit on May 18, 2010 against CNC Financial Services, Inc., doing business as Cash-N-A-Flash, a Hampton-based auto "title lender," for charging interest rates of 300 percent or more on its loans. This rate is alleged to exceed the 12 percent limit in the Virginia’s Consumer Finance Act. However, effective October 1, 2010, Virginia's interest rate limit increased to 264 percent.[69][70][71]

The Attorney General's Office filed two separate lawsuits against two Virginia Beach-based mortgage modification companies for charging customers up to $1,200 in illegal advance fees in exchange for allegedly helping to prevent foreclosure.[72]

Advocacy for veterans[edit]

In 2010, Cuccinelli announced plans to introduce a new level of veterans advocacy to the Attorney General’s office, including training state agencies how to use the law to better advocate for their clients when it comes to obtaining federal veterans benefits. Cuccinelli said that one of the most important things he could do for veterans was to help speed up the process for them to obtain the services they are eligible for from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Other priority issues include ensuring that veterans have opportunities to become and stay employed in Virginia and working with the Virginia judiciary to determine how best to educate judges on how Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury issues affect veterans.[73][74]

Antitrust enforcement[edit]

A $173 million settlement was reached with six international manufacturers of computer chips. The settlement resolved claims that the companies engaged in a price-fixing arrangement that cost government purchasers and consumers millions of dollars in overcharges for their chips. Cuccinelli and 32 other state attorneys general participated in the investigation and the settlement of a court case that was first filed in Court in 2006, before Cuccinelli took office.[75]

Extradition of Jens Soering to Germany[edit]

Jens Soering, 43, the son of a German diplomat and former Jefferson scholar at the University of Virginia, was convicted in 1990 and sentenced to two life terms for the 1985 first-degree stabbing murders of his then-girlfriend's parents, Derek and Nancy Haysom, in their Bedford County home, and held at the Buckingham Correctional Center in Dillwyn, Virginia. Former Gov. Timothy Kaine, on the last day of his administration in January, 2010, approved a request from the German government and asked the Justice Department to transfer Soering back to Germany to complete his sentence. Newly elected Gov. Bob McDonnell, along with Cuccinelli, adamantly opposed the transfer. McDonnell formally notified the Justice Department just three days after taking office that it was imperative that Soering serve his time in Virginia and not in Germany, where a US news report said that he could have applied for parole after two years, although parole is only applicable after a minimum 15 years according to the German penal code.[76] On July 7, 2010, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced that he would not consider transferring Soering to a prison in his home country without the state's "clear and unambiguous" consent.[77][78]

Education policy[edit]

On November 24, 2010, Cuccinelli issued a legal opinion that police, school administrators, and teachers could search students' cell phones on the basis of reasonable suspicions in order to deter cyberbullying and "sexting". The ACLU and the Rutherford Institute said that Cuccinelli's opinion was in error, lacking a legal foundation.[79][80]

On January 28, 2011, Cuccinelli issued a legal opinion saying that school systems could not charge students the $75 testing fee when students take Advance Placement (AP) tests. Typically, AP courses are offered to academically advanced high school students to teach college-level materials. At the end of the course, students take a nationally-administered AP test, and can receive college credit if the test score meets a specified level. Cuccinelli said that public schools were required to provide a free education, so schools could not charge students taking the AP class the exam fee.[81]

Donor Intent[edit]

In February 2012, Cuccinelli filed a brief in the case of seven Anglican parishes that had left the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia as part of the Anglican realignment, including The Falls Church and Truro Church.[82] Cuccinelli took the side of the departing Anglican churches, arguing that they should be entitled to keep personal property amounting to several million dollars that was donated to the parishes between 2003 and 2007 and marked by the donors as for the use of parishes only, not for the diocese. Cuccinelli made this argument on "donor intent" grounds.[83] "That donor intent is paramount," Cuccinelli argued, "and governs the disposition of property, both real and personal, by one entrusted with its management, is a principle beyond dispute and interwoven throughout the law governing charitable trusts." The Fairfax County Circuit Court should not rule, Cuccinelli concluded, “in violation of the clearly expressed intent of the donors."[84]

The court sided with the diocese, ruling that the properties must be handed over.[85]

Star Scientific tax dispute lawsuit[edit]

In March 2013, Cuccinelli's role in a tax dispute case came into question when media reported on a lawsuit between the state of Virginia and Star Scientific, a nutritional supplements company.[86][87] The Washington Post reported that Cuccinelli had failed to disclose investments in Star Scientific for a year; after realizing the oversight, he corrected it and disclosed the holdings.[88] Cuccinelli has disclosed $18,000 in gifts from Star Scientific's chief executive, Jonnie R. Williams.[88] He said he could not return them because they were dinners, vacations, and flights; things that could not be returned.[89] He has sold his stock in the company.[90]

The Washington Post found no evidence that Cuccinelli sought to personally intervene in the lawsuit.[88] In April 2013, Cuccinelli recused himself from the case, hiring private attorneys to defend the state.[91] Cuccinelli subsequently announced that he had discovered the equivalent of $4,500 in additional gifts from Jonnie R. Williams that he had not previously disclosed, including free use of Williams' Smith Mountain Lake vacation lodge in 2010 and 2012.[92] In response, Cuccinelli asked the Commonwealth’s attorney to review his disclosure filings.[93] On July 18, 2013, a state prosecutor announced that he had found no evidence that Cuccinelli had violated the law, saying Cuccinelli did not appear to be attempting to conceal the relationship with Williams and he did not intentionally mischaracterize any gifts.[90]

After Bob McDonnell's ties to Williams came under investigation, Cuccinelli urged McDonnell to call a special session of the General Assembly to re-examine disclosure and campaign finance laws. McDonnell, who as governor has the exclusive power to call a special session, declined Cuccinelli's request.[94]

In September 2013, Cuccinelli donated, from his personal money, an amount equivalent to the value of the gifts he received from Williams to charity.[95]

Sodomy law[edit]

In March 2013, a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals struck down Virginia's anti-sodomy law in a case involving William Scott MacDonald, a 47 year old man who solicited sex from a 17-year-old girl. On June 25, 2013, Cuccinelli filed an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court, asking the Court to uphold the law, saying the appeals court ruling would release MacDonald from probation and "threatens to undo convictions of child predators that were obtained under this law after 2003."[96][97] Cuccinelli said the law is important for prosecutors to be able to "obtain felony charges against adults who commit or solicit this sex act with minors," and noted that the law "is not - and cannot be -- used against consenting adults acting in private."[96][98]

In October 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court denied Cuccinelli's appeal.[99]

Sex trafficking[edit]

Cuccinelli has been a staunch advocate against human trafficking during his time in office, describing it as "one of the most egregious human rights violations".[100] He has slammed popular media for portraying prostitution and other forms of selling sex as "just another career choice".[100] While in the state Senate he created a plan, which he has implemented as attorney general, to crack down on trafficking on the state and served on the Senate Human Trafficking Commission.[101] As attorney general, he has devoted full-time staff in the attorney general's office to prosecute human trafficking,[102] and in May 2013 one of his assistant attorneys general was honored by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children for breaking up and prosecuting a sex trafficking ring in Fairfax County.[103] The advocacy group Polaris Project named Virginia one of the most improved states in cracking down on human trafficking in 2010 under Cuccinelli's leadership.[104] He made human trafficking legislation his priority in his efforts during the 2013 General Assembly session, teaming up with Democratic and Republican lawmakers in support of three anti-human trafficking bills,[105] all of which were passed and signed into law.[106][107][108][109]

Exoneration of Thomas Haynesworth[edit]

Main article: Thomas Haynesworth

Cuccinelli was involved in advocating for the exoneration of Thomas Haynesworth, who had served 27 years in prison until new evidence emerged.[110] As attorney general, Cuccinelli argued in court for Haynesworth's exoneration and Cuccinelli hired Haynesworth to work in his office as a clerk.[110][111][112] Haynesworth said Cuccinelli was "an extraordinary guy", having "put it on the line for me",[111] and continues to work in Cuccinelli's office.[113] Shawn Armbrust of the Innocence Project, who helped bring the Haynesworth case to Cuccinelli's office's attention, said Cuccinelli invited Haynesworth to his office to personally apologize for the 27 years Haynesworth spent in jail.[112] George Mason University political scientist Mark Rozell said, "People perceive Cuccinelli as a hard-right figure on a number of issues. They don’t tend to see him as having a soft side."[111][114]

2013 run for governor[edit]

After his election as Attorney General, it was speculated that Cuccinelli was a potential candidate for governor in the 2013 election[115] or for the United States Senate in 2014. Cuccinelli himself stated that he was considering running for the Senate.[116] Two days later, one of his aides said, "We haven't ruled out anything. He's not actively considering a run for any particular office at the moment. Ken is operating under the assumption that he will run for reelection [in 2013]. He hasn't ruled out any option besides running for president, which he has no desire to do."[117]

On November 30, 2011, The Washington Post reported that Cuccinelli would announce within days that he was running for governor in 2013; the next day, Cuccinelli confirmed that he would run.[118] Cuccinelli said he would continue serving as Attorney General during his run. He is the first Attorney General since 1985 to remain in office while seeking the Governorship, a "custom" that the last six Attorneys General to run for Governor have adhered to.[91]

Cuccinelli lost his gubernatorial election bid to Terry McAuliffe on November 5, 2013, by 56,435 votes, or 2.5% of total ballots cast.[2] The Libertarian Party candidate, Robert Sarvis, received 146,084 votes, or 6.5% of the vote total.[2]

Political views[edit]

Cuccinelli's positions on many topics have been recorded in a political blog he has written for some years called the Cuccinelli Compass. [119]

Abortion[edit]

Cuccinelli supports the right to life from conception to natural death.[120][121] In November 2008 he was named the Family Foundation of Virginia "Legislator of the Year."[122] Cuccinelli sponsored a number of bills to discourage abortions, including requiring doctors to anesthetize fetuses undergoing late term abortions,[123] altering the licensing and regulation of abortion clinics,[124] and requiring that a doctor save the fetal tissue when performing an abortion on a woman under age 15, for forensic use.[125] As a state senator, he advanced legislation to make abortion clinics subject to the same health and safety standards as outpatient surgical hospitals.[120] He supported two "personhood" bills that sought to provide human embryos with legal rights.[121]

Immigration[edit]

During his Senate career, Cuccinelli introduced bills urging the United States Congress to amend the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution to revoke citizenship rights for children of illegal immigrants who are born in the U.S.,[126] to allow businesses to sue others that hire illegal immigrants,[127] and to establish inability to speak English in the workplace as cause for disqualification to receive unemployment benefits.[128]

Second Amendment[edit]

Cuccinelli is a longtime advocate for gun rights.[129] sponsored legislation to repeal the prohibition on carrying a concealed handgun in a restaurant or club,[130] for Virginia to recognize concealed handgun permits from other states,[131] and to shield concealed handgun permit application data from Freedom of Information Act requests.[132] Under Cuccinelli’s proposal a person could only be disqualified for such a permit by a court ruling based on the applicant’s past actions.[133] In the 2009 legislative session, a bill Cuccinelli introduced was passed that, for the purposes of granting a Virginia concealed handgun permit, required the state to accept as proof of "handgun competence" any certificate from an online handgun safety course featuring an NRA-certified instructor.[134]

Cuccinelli believes that mental illness is the root cause of mass shootings, and that they can be better prevented with more access to mental health care.[129] He has pushed for restricting mentally ill persons from obtaining guns.[20]

Taxes[edit]

In his 2013 campaign, Cuccinelli proposed cutting the top individual income rate from 5.75 percent to 5 percent and the corporate income tax rate from 6 percent to 4 percent for a total reduction in tax revenue of about $1.4 billion a year. He has stated that he would offset that lost revenue by slowing the growth of the state’s general fund spending and by eliminating unspecified tax exemptions and loopholes.[135][136] In 2006, Cuccinelli sent out a fundraising letter that criticized the Virginia Senate’s Republican majority for passing a gasoline tax increase. The letter elicited rebuke from fellow Republican Tommy Norment.[137]

Eminent domain[edit]

In the 2005, 2006 and 2007 legislative sessions, Cuccinelli worked to pass eminent domain (compulsory purchase) laws that prevented local and state governments from taking private homes and businesses for developers’ projects.[138] In April 2010, Cuccinelli told the Roanoke Chamber of Commerce that he wanted to improve the protection of property rights in Virginia’s Constitution. “There is no consistency on the application of eminent domain throughout Virginia," he said.[139] In 2012, Cuccinelli championed a constitutional amendment to prohibit eminent domain from being used to take private land for private gain, thus restricting it to being used only for public gain. The amendment was placed on the ballot for a voter referendum in the 2012 general election, and was passed 74%-26%.[140]

Law enforcement[edit]

In 2005, Cuccinelli was the chief patron of SB873,[141] legislation that entitled law enforcement officers to overtime pay from local governments for hours worked while on vacation or other leave.[142]

Sex education[edit]

Cuccinelli has been a strong advocate of the abstinence-only sex education programs with state funding. He stated "The longer you delay the commencement of sexual activity, you have healthier and happier kids and more successful kids.".[143]

Homosexuality[edit]

In 2004, Cuccinelli stated "homosexuality is wrong."[144] During his 2009 campaign for attorney general, he stated "My view is that homosexual acts, not homosexuality, but homosexual acts are wrong. They’re intrinsically wrong. And I think in a natural law based country it’s appropriate to have policies that reflect that. ... They don’t comport with natural law. I happen to think that it represents (to put it politely; I need my thesaurus to be polite) behavior that is not healthy to an individual and in aggregate is not healthy to society."[145]

Electoral history[edit]

Virginia Senate Special Election, August 6, 2002
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Ken Cuccinelli 10,041 55.01%
Democratic Cathy Belter 8,193 44.89%
Independent Write-in candidates 18 0.10%
Totals 18,252 100%
Virginia Senate General Election, November 4, 2003
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Ken Cuccinelli 16,762 53.31%
Democratic Jim Mitchell 14,658 46.62%
Independent Write-in candidates 23 0.07%
Totals 31,443 100%
Virginia Senate General Election, November 6, 2007
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Ken Cuccinelli 18,602 50.02%
Democratic Janet Oleszek 18,510 49.77%
Independent Write-in candidates 73 0.19%
Totals 37,185 100%
Virginia Attorney General Election, November 3, 2009
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Ken Cuccinelli 1,124,137 57.51%
Democratic Steve Shannon 828,687 42.39%
Independent Write-in candidates 1,772 0.09%
Totals 1,954,596 100%
Virginia gubernatorial election, 2013[146]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Terry McAuliffe 1,069,859 47.75% +6.49%
Republican Ken Cuccinelli 1,013,355 45.23% −13.38%
Libertarian Robert Sarvis 146,084 6.52% +6.52%
Write-ins 11,091 0.50%
Plurality 56,594 2.52% −14.86%
Turnout 2,240,379 100.00%
Democratic gain from Republican Swing

Personal life[edit]

Cuccinelli is married to Teiro Davis, whom he met when she moved into his neighborhood in high school. He took her to prom, but they went their separate ways after high school until Cuccinelli called her during college, and they were engaged in their last year of college. They have seven children - two boys and five girls.[112][147] They live in Nokesville, Virginia.[112][148][149]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Virginia AG Cuccinelli wins GOP gov nomination". Washington Times. Retrieved 18 May 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c "Official Results - General Election - November 5, 2013". Virginia State Board of Elections. Retrieved 31 May 2014. 
  3. ^ "Macon Telegraph: Search Results". 2009-06-03. Retrieved 2013-07-29. 
  4. ^ "Ken Cuccinelli - roots and wings". Mommy Life. Retrieved 2013-07-29. 
  5. ^ "Attorney General Cuccinelli". Retrieved 2010-04-03. 
  6. ^ "Virginia Attorney General Biography". 
  7. ^ "Cuccinelli.com". [dead link]
  8. ^ "Cuccinelli & Day, PLC - Attorney Profiles". Retrieved 2014-05-31. 
  9. ^ a b c Montgomery, David (2010-08-01). "Va. Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli: The rise of the confounding conservative". Washingtonpost.com. Retrieved 2013-09-25. 
  10. ^ Juday, Dave (2013-07-12). "In first attack ad, Virginia Democrats go after Ken Cuccinelli's female support". Washingtonexaminer.com. Retrieved 2013-09-25. 
  11. ^ "VA State Senate 37 - Special Race - Aug 06, 2002". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 2013-07-29. 
  12. ^ "Barry quits Senate for Liquor Board post; Va. Legislator Cites Financial, Health-Care Needs". Washington Post. 2002-06-05. p. B.1. 
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  124. ^ "SB 839: Abortion clinics; regulation and licensure". 2005-01-10. 
  125. ^ "SB 315. Abortion; preservation of fetal tissue when performed on child under age 15". 2006-01-10. 
  126. ^ "SJ 131 Birthright citizenship; memorializing Congress to amend Fourteenth Amendment of U.S. Constitution". 2008-01-18. 
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  128. ^ "SB 339 Unemployment compensation; employee's inability to speak English at workplace is misconduct". 2008-01-08. 
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External links[edit]

Senate of Virginia
Preceded by
Warren Barry
State Senate, 37th State Senate District
August 2002 – January 12, 2010
Succeeded by
David Marsden
Legal offices
Preceded by
Bill Mims
Attorney General of Virginia
January 16, 2010 – January 11, 2014
Succeeded by
Mark Herring
Party political offices
Preceded by
Bob McDonnell
Republican nominee for Governor of Virginia
2013
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