July 2006

Tulloch the Tool, Staton the Savior?

By Loudoun Insider

Bruce Tulloch continues to get hammered in the press for his apparent waffling on growth issues and conniving as discussed here in Leesburg Today and also today at the WaPo (I’m not linking to the WaPo with all their ridiculous sign in rules). It’s very interesting that the WaPo switched its file photos for Tulloch in its last two articles. The first looked like a mug shot while the last is much more appealing (as appealing as he may be)! If anyone can uplink them in the comments for an A/B it would be quite fascinating for the readers.

Now Mick Staton comes in asking for a special meeting of the Board of Supervisors to take action within the next week on the rural zoning matter delayed by the Planning Commission as discussed here in Leesburg Today. Even though Staton disagrees with the rural zoning plan, he wants to get the vote over and move on to other pressing county business. Bravo!Â

Let’s See What Happens

By Too Conservative

I’m not sure why I find the maneuverings at the Prince William GOP Committee so interesting. I sit here in Fairfax, where almost nothing interesting happens, so maybe this is my way of living vicariously.Â

Virginia Virtucon is reporting that Tom Kopko has a legal opinion in hand from RPV counsel that clears the way for a convention on the 19th of August to pick a candidate for the race to succeed Sean Connaughton. According to Mr. Riley, this opinion will be unveiled tomorrow. Charles and a few others (including me) have asked why the rush. No one knows when Connaughton will be confirmed and sworn in, and no one really knows when Connaughton will formalize his resignation. A couple of commentators have asked why RPV, as opposed to some unit of the Commonwealth’s electoral board, would make the decision. In an extreme hypothetical, something could go wrong with the Connaughton nomination and his run in 2007 for a third term will require a primary (Connaughton’s weapon of choice) while the GOP 2006 nominee becomes a “real nowhere man.” A candidate without and election. How messy.

I find it a little hard to believe RPV would be very excited about pre-vacancy nominating conventions. It seems like a lot could go blooey with something like that. I’m far from expert on the intricacies of Virginia election law, but tracing through the statutes generously posted by Virtucon and others, it seems clear that, at least in Prince William, the vacancy is the catalyst that starts a process of a court-appointed election date, from which a filing deadline is constructed.  Without a vacancy, nothing happens. When the vacancy falls within 60 days of a regularly scheduled general election, the Code contemplates that the general election date will coincide with the date of the special election.Â

Because 25 August is the filing deadline for the upcoming November 2006 general election, the rationale from the PW GOP Committee seems to be that there must be a nomination prior to that date or the GOP (and presuambly the Dems, also)will be without a candidate. The statute seems to anticipate that problem by giving the electoral board the authority to designate a filing deadline (presumably distinct from that which governs the regularly-scheduled general election) .

At first I naively pooh-poohed the notion that the PW GOP Chairman would have any partisan position in what essentially is a intra-party process. It seems he himself has shown me to have ridiculously over-estimated his judiciousness in his first outing of managing an important event for the Party. He has a candidate and must feel this quick response convention is a good thing for his guy. But, quite aside from that sort of tactical maneuvering, why would RPV want conventions to take place before vacancies? Would RPV’s counsel opine on such a thing without close consultation with governing elements of RPV? I have no doubt Virtucon was told by Kopko or someone close to Kopko that they have an opinion in hand, but I’m very curious about the fine points of the “opinion”, and its level of formality. I’d also be interested in the content of the input that led to the opinon (assuming that there is an opinion).  Lawyers sometimes offer opinions thinking they understand the underlying facts, only to discover that some critical element has been omitted or misstated by the requesters. After getting burned a few times, one learns how to smoke that out or qualify it away. But if RPV counsel has issued an opinion clearing the way for a pre-vacancy nomination, it will be a hum-dinger and we all ought to give it a careful read. It will have to be finely wrought indeed or the PW GOP may be about to get an omelette facial. And then we come to the next question of who decides. Is an RPV opinion the end of the story, or is the matter subject to guidance from local or state election authorities?Â

This will no doubt be made clear in the fullness of time, starting tomorrow evening. My reservations may be entirely misplaced, but I have a feeling that even the kind of primitive brainstorming that I’ve been doing here has not taken place among whomever is making decisions at the PW GOP. What do you think?

More on Black

By Too Conservative

Sources from Loudoun have informed me that Dick Black may want to run for his old house seat again.

Thoughts?

Black is Back?

By Loudoun Insider

An interested reader sent me the link to this article in the Loudoun Connection newspaper. Dick Black’s camapign war chest of over 100k is impressive, but I don’t think that any amount will get him re-elected. His re-entry onto the Loudoun political scene would put the final nail in the LCRC coffin in my opinion.

After months of rumors and actions that suggested the current Republican supervisors were working with the LCRC leadership to oust Lori Waters, the latest buzz is that the LCRC is looking for candidates to replace all supervisors except Lori Waters in an acknowldegement that the growth issue is killing the local party. A recent poll conducted by the LCRC suggested that development and traffic are hot button issues with the electorate. A Black is Back (cue the AC/DC soundtrack) effort would point towards the former strategy still holding sway.

Update: After writing this post I checked my TC email account and found an interesting email from a reader suggesting that the 32nd and 33rd Districts are winnable with a centrist Republican candidate. I agree wholeheartedly, but I am not certain that the local Republican leadership agrees. To anyone with private thoughts or leads on new stories, feel free to email me at loudouninsider@tooconservative.com. You can be assured that your privacy will be maintained.

Connaughton Confirmation Hearing Photos

By Too Conservative

By way of our friend, NoVA Scout:

Great stuff, NoVA!

Tom Davis and the Washington Post

By Too Conservative

The Washington Post today ran a puzzling article about Tom Davis that leads on the front page and covers approximately two entire back pages with, well, I’m not really sure what. I suppose if you spread ink thin enough, it can go a long way, but I kept trying to find the core of the story and concluded that there was very little there there.

The article (“Wife, Friend Tie Congressman to Consulting Firm”) relates that Congressman Davis has a close and long-standing relationship with Donald Upson, an executive with ICG Government. ICG provides consulting services to goverment contractors. Beyond the personal relationship between Davis and Upson, a relationship that pre-dates Davis’s Congressional service, ICG also employs Jeannemarie Devolites, the Congressman’s wife.

The article’s thrust is that ICG uses the Upson/Davis relationship to assist its clients when they encounter problems with the federal government procurement system. Jeannemarie, according to the Post,  makes a high 5-figure salary for approximately half-time work on behalf of ICG.

What is glaringly absent from the Post article is even an allegation, let alone a provable fact, that either Mr. or Mrs. Davis have in any way acted unethically or improperly. The anecdotes related are fairly commonplace examples of Members trying to be alert to constituent needs. To the extent the article implies that something is amiss (and that implication permeates the article) it never puts its journalistic finger on precisely what the problem is. Â

Maybe I’ve become jaded from too much time in Northern Virginia, but I kept looking, with no success, for where the story was going. If the story is that Davis is an influential Congressman who has friends of long-standing who have access to him on issues involving government contracts (Davis is Chairman of the House Government Reform Committee),  I’m left yawning. There is no allegation that Davis has ever used his office to do harm to the public interest on behalf of others. The story recites that Mrs. Davis does not lobby Mr. Davis on matters that are related to her employment at ICG. Unless the Post plants a 24/7 monitor on the couple, I guess we can never know for sure, but there is no recitation of any instance that casts doubt on the Davises’ claim that they keep their business and personal dealings separate.

Over the years, I’ve known a lot of Members of Congress and their wives and I know a lot of people who know a lot of MCs and their wives. In my work, I and everyone else in similar circumstances have sometimes relied on these personal relationships to gain information or access on issues that affect clients. At the end of the day, the best I get from this is access. I still have to make a cogent argument that what is concerning me or my clients should concern the Member of Congress in his or her official capacity. Nothing in the article even hints that Tom Davis has ever put his name to something that he does not believe or that would not be within his normal scope of official interest.Â

The congressional spouse issue is one that has come up fairly frequently. It probably is the case that these people sometimes get hired and paid because of whom they married. But putting a halt to that would require a lot of intrusive policing and subjective standards about when particular employment is related to a Member of Congress’s position as opposed to the capabilities and merits of the spouse.

A point that the Post fails to pursue, having apparently exhausted themselves with a lot of breathless prose about very little of substance, is employment relationships of members of the General Assembly (Jeannemarie Devolites Davis is, of course, a Virginia State Senator). I would love to see the Post or the RTD do a thorough survey of what our part-time legislators do for what they get paid and by whom.  There may be a story there.  Â

PS: The Post acknowledges that the House Ethics Committee has cleared the Devolites/ICG relationship as long as no personal benefit is received for official acts.

“Remember Today That You are from Old Virginia”

By Too Conservative
It was a very good day today for Virginia in the United State Senate. Two excellent representatives of the Commonwealth, Sean Connaughton and Charles (“Chip”) Nottingham, appeared before the Senate Commerce Committee for confirmation hearings on their appointments to head the United State Maritime Administration and the Surface Transportation Board, respectively.
Senators Warner and Allen were there to praise both men for their service in federal, state and local govenrment. As it relates to Northern Virginia politics, Senator Allen was particularly effusive in his praise for all that Sean Connaughton had done for Prince William county over the past six years. Congressmen Davis and Wolf joined in support of the two nominees. Davis’s testimony made much of the financial management skills of Connaughton in securing Prince William’s AAA bond rating and navigating the complex gorwth issues that have faced the County. Senator Allen praised Connaughton for “sticking to principle” while at the same time bringing together a very diverse community. Senator Trent Lott commended the President for finding nominees with state and local government experience (Nottingham held an executive position in VDOT before going to the Federal Highway Administration).
Both nominees were described by their supporters in the Congress as practical, “can-do” administrators. My sense as a Virginian was that it was a good day for the profile of the Commonwealth on the national stage.
Chairman Ted Stevens indicated that the Committee would endeavor to move the nominations quickly and that confirmation might occur as early as the end of next week.

A Couple Things

By Too Conservative

1) The College Republicans of Virginia have a new website up. Head over here to check it out. Looks like they’re busy.

2) Kilo has some interesting Webb speculation up here. Could it be true!!?

More Thoughts

By Too Conservative

Another quick note on the PWC news from today.

Supervisors Covington, and Nohe would both have been great choices.

Mr.Covington mingles well with politicians on all sides of the spectrum, something rarely seen in NOVA politics anymore.

For those reading who don’t know Supervisor Marty Nohe, he is an incredible man. Although we don’t agree 100% of the time(roughly 98%),I consider Mr.Nohe a mentor, and have been honored to learn so much from him already.

 He is a born leader, who has the ability to insipire youth, as can be seen with his three children.I KNOW Supervisor Nohe has an incredible future ahead of him, and hope he will never back down on his well forged principles. His lovely wife Kris should also be commended for her hard work with the Republican party thus far, as well as always being behind her husband.

Already breaking silence, often out of line PWC Chairman Kopko has already talked against Ms.Caddigan in the newspapers…..a BIG no-no for party Chair’s.

We need to think beyond petty disagreements, as the outcome of this convention will impact hundreds of thousands of lives.

I honestly do not believe anyone can replace Chairman Connaughton, and will be looking for the candidate that best fits his mold.

Â

Supervisor Molleur?

By Loudoun Insider

Oh my God, there are rumors flying around the blogosphere that frequent internet firebomber Robert Molleur is considering a run for the PWC Board of Supervisors, with strong property rights backing. Check out NLS and BVBL, where Greg makes hilarious reference to insects and windshields. Jean-Charles, where are you when we need you?