Ken Cuccinell's Slippery Slope of Corruption: Oil and Gas Edition

From Attorney General of Virginia Ken Cuccinelli's quid pro quo with the phony "U.S. Navy Veterans Association" run by "Bobby Thompson" — or is it fugitive Harvard lawyer John Donald Cody? — to the Star Scientific scandal, the Republican candidate for Governor's corruption knows few bounds. The latest scandal? Check this out.

A Southwest Virginia legislator Monday called for a state Inspector General investigation into Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's office after a federal judge rebuked a lawyer on his staff for assisting two energy companies as they defend against lawsuits from citizens over natural gas royalties.

State Sen. Phillip Puckett, D-Russell County, publicly made that request after the Associated Press last week reported on the shock U.S. Magistrate Judge Pamela Meade Sargent conveyed in a recent court document upon learning one of Cuccineli's staff attorneys had offered advice to the corporate litigants.

E-mails provided to the court show that assistant attorney general Sharon Pigeon gave advice to attorneys for the companies: EQT Production Co. and CNX Gas Co., both from the Pittsburgh area.

As part of her duties, Pigeon represents the Virginia Gas and Oil Board, which has an interest in the case but isn't a party to the long-running dispute between the energy companies and private landowners over compensation for gas harvested from their properties.

"With this much at stake, it was positively outrageous to learn last week that Ken Cuccinelli’s office has been acting not as a neutral observer in this case, but as an active adviser to the companies who are seeking to avoid paying Virginians millions in royalties," Puckett said on on a conference call organized by Virginia Democrats.

Serious stuff, and it's unlikely there's any good answer. The "I forgot" excuse probably won't work here, as it didn't work when Cuccinelli tried it in the Star Scientific scandal case. So now, Del. Terry Kilgore — the brother of Ken Cuccinelli's attorney, Jerry Kilgore — is desperately trying to defend Cuccinelli, at least politically. According to Terry Kilgore, "Any suggestion that Attorney General Cuccinelli or his office was involved in any impropriety should be dismissed for the Democrat talking points they so clearly are." Uh huh. So it's all a made up, partisan witch hunt. Why is everyone always picking on poor, poor Ken Cuccinelli, anyway?  In reality, of course, Cuccinelli has been sloshing around in contributions and gifts from the very companies his office has been improperly advising and otherwise "assisting." As has his pal Terry Kilgore. A few examples of the oil and gas companies' favors to Kilgore include:

* $250 in Pennsylvania Football tickets from Consol
* $200 in Football tickets from Consol
* $250 in Race tickets from EQT
* $14,500 in Contributions from Consol
* $10,300 in Contributions from EQT
* $3000 in Contributions from CNX (Consol Subsidiary)

So . . . $700 in gifts and over $27,000 in campaign cash to Terry Kilgore. And lots LOTS more to Ken Cuccinelli ($111k from Consol alone). In a total coincidence, I'm sure, Cuccinelli's office "gave advice to attorneys for the companies" which just happen to be "seeking to avoid paying Virginians millions in royalties." Sure, happens all the time, right? Nothing to see here, move right along. At least, that's what Ken Cuccinelli and Company would like us to believe. Last I checked, Virginians were not as gullible as the cynical, smarmy Cuccinelli (and his cynical, smarmy defenders like the Kilgore brothers) likes to think we are.

For more on all this, see Cuccinelli, Penguins and Natural Gas by Peter Galuszka.

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