Democrats on Wednesday formally requested that Republican Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli recuse his office from representing the State Board of Elections on legal matters related to the upcoming statewide races. The request came in a letter to the attorney general’s office from Del. Charniele L. Herring, D-Alexandria, chairwoman of the Democratic Party of Virginia. It could be seen as the latest attempt to highlight conflicts Democrats argue have arisen over Cuccinelli’s refusal to leave office during his gubernatorial run. The last six elected attorneys general of Virginia resigned before the end of their terms in order to run for governor. “It is unreasonable, and a clear conflict of interest, for you to both appear on the ballot and provide legal counsel to the Board of Elections,” Herring writes to Cuccinelli.
“Your office has repeatedly stated that if any controversial issue were to arise, special counsel would be appointed to resolve the conflict,” Herring writes. “That isn’t enough and ignores the larger issue at hand.”
Herring said because the attorney general’s office represents the elections board, the Democratic Party of Virginia has to seek legal guidance from the attorney general’s office on matters related to the election. Similarly, the attorney general’s office would be responsible for providing legal guidance to the campaign being run by its current boss, Cuccinelli.
“This arrangement presents a conflict even in the case of noncontroversial requests for legal or procedural clarifications,” Herring states.