Thursday, August 21, 2014

Chap Petersen Comments on the Perry Indictment

The following post is from state senator Chap Petersen. Chap represents the 34th senate district:

"Strange Doings in Austin (Prosecutors Gone Wild!)

As the Bob McDonnell trial reaches its shambolic denouement, it’s interesting to note a newly hatched parallel proceeding in Austin, Texas, where current Governor Rick Perry (R-Texas) has been indicted by a Travis County jury for “abuse of office.”

In an earlier life, I spent a fair amount of time in Texas. If Fairfax County is a small state, then Texas is basically a medium-sized country. It has regions which are very different culturally and politically — and Austin (Travis County) is the most different of all. It’s as if someone took Arlington County, Virginia, and air-dropped it into Southside.

Which brings us to Governor Perry …

He’s been in the Governor’s office for fourteen years. Before that, he was Lt. Governor to Bush. He’s actually been around so long that he was originally a Democrat (and state chairman of Al Gore’s Presidential campaign in 1988). Until now, he’s been called a lot of names, but never “corrupt.”

Which takes us to the recent indictment. The facts appear to be undisputed: the legislature passed a $7.5 million appropriation for an ethics commission (sounds familiar). The head of that commission, the Travis County District Attorney no less, was arrested after a drunk driving stop and subsequent confrontation with police. The Governor said he would veto the appropriation unless she stepped down as the head of the commission. She refused. He vetoed the appropriation.

There is no evidence that Perry had any financial stake in the veto or that he acted from any motive other than he thought she was a bad choice — or the public money was not well spent if she remained as head of the office.

And we’re supposed to consider this a felony?

This is a joke. A Governor is a public official. The right to veto legislation, especially for the spending of public funds, is an inherent part of the office. That veto power is absolute, as long as the Governor does not act from a corrupt motive. If the legislature disagrees with the veto, it has a constitutional ability to override. Otherwise, it stays.

To assume that the Travis County DA acted from a partisan, if not personal, motive in bringing the indictment is merely to note the obvious. It’s not an especially original political strategy. (I’ve written previously about Democratic officeholders in the Deep South who were pursued by Republican prosecutors for legal violations that were marginal or even fabricated).

But I doubt that the Perry prosecution is going to do any favors for Democratic candidates in Texas, by making a conservative hero of a Governor who should be fading out of the spotlight. Nobody likes a bully or the wasting of judicial resources on a case that clearly is about political, not criminal, choices."

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Republicans Keep Control of the State Senate

Virginia House of Delegates Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford) congratulated Ben Chafin on his election to the Virginia Senate Tuesday:

“Congratulations to Ben and his entire team for a well-deserved and hard-fought victory in today’s special election. During his short time in the House of Delegates, Ben has proven to be a thoughtful and capable legislator who can solve problems for the people of Southwest Virginia. While we will miss him in the House, it is fortunate that a man with such a steadfast commitment to conservative principles will serve as the decisive twenty-first vote in the Virginia Senate. Thank you to all of the election workers and volunteers for their time and energy today; it is greatly appreciated. Again, congratulations to Ben, his family, and his campaign team, as well as Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment and the Senate Republican caucus, on today's victory.”

Monday, August 18, 2014


The following post is by Bob Sadtler
Chairman of the Virginia Citizens Defense League PAC

”Although he's been a member of the House of Delegates for a short time,
Republican Ben Chafin has an actual voting record (unlike the other two
candidates) and has been a reliable pro-gun vote on any gun legislation
that has come before him. I expect his pro-gun voting record to
continue when Ben is elected to the Virginia Senate.

Much has been made of the Democrat's position on gun rights. He
answered VCDL's survey Very Pro-Gun. However, he was caught on audio
supporting both handgun registration AND bans on modern sporting rifles
like the AR-15. He has since posted on his website a statement stating
that his statements on this recording did not represent his true values.

The truth is, IT DOESN'T MATTER. A vote for anyone but Ben Chafin will
cede your gun rights in the Virginia Senate to anti-gun zealots Dick
Saslaw and Donald McEachin.

As we saw earlier this year when the General Assembly was in session,
the McAuliffe/Saslaw/McEachin gang want to do everything they can to
kill any pro-gun legislation originating in either the House or the
Senate and they will use underhanded parliamentary maneuvers to advance
anti-gun legislation in the Senate.

Gun owners can't allow that to happen. That's why gun owners in the
38th Senate district must stand up and say "No" to the
McAuliffe/Saslaw/McEachin gang.

If you live in the 38th Senate district, PLEASE VOTE FOR BEN CHAFIN
TOMORROW, TUESDAY, AUGUST 19TH! Your gun rights for the next year
depend on it.

Spread the word and get as many friends, neighbors, and fellow gun
owners to go to the polls with you and VOTE FOR BEN CHAFIN for Senate.”

Monday, August 11, 2014

Jonnie Williams Motive

In following the McDonnell's corruption trial for the last week, I have heard all kinds of salacious details about the McDonnell's marriage, Mrs. McDonnell's mental state, and the enormity of their greed. All very titillating, but far from proving corruption.

But the one thing I still can't understand is Jonnie Williams motive. Putting the ethics of bribery aside for a moment did Williams strategy in dealing with the McDonnells make any sense? He says he tried to bribe the Governor to help his business. He is either lying or not a very good businessman. Let me explain. If you own a vitamin business, and had 165,000 dollars to spread around, would you really think the Governor of one state, ignore for the moment that there are 49 other states, but this one Governor can really help you sell more vitamins?

Consider the following. For the most part vitamins and pharmaceuticals are regulated by the Feds, not the state. In fact the state has little role in such an industry. So the Governor could not provide Williams with regulatory relief.

In addition, as far as I know the state isn't handing out million dollar vitamin contracts. So it is not like the Governor can slip into the budget a big purchase of the company's pills.

No, Williams claims that he needed the Governor to direct a university to do a study of his vitamins. A study that would no doubt prove that his vitamins really work. And from there the great publicity would lead to great sales. This strains credulity to its limits, but lets look at that idea.

What would happen if UVA or VCU did a study of Williams product. Could the Governor guarantee positive results? Of course not. And what if the results came back inconclusive, or found no benefit. Would he expect the Governor to quash the results of the study? In effect Williams could have paid 165,000 dollars for a study that said his vitamins are worthless. He had to have considered that possibility.

No, I think Williams had other motives. Perhaps he shared Mrs. McDonnell's crush, and wanted to impress her with gifts. Perhaps he just wanted to hang out with a Governor. But the notion that he thought the Governor could help his business is a real stretch.

My guess is the Feds came to him and said testify against McDonnell, and we will ignore your shady stock deal in another case.