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Panel clears Allen on stock options
George Allen did not have to tell Congress about stock options he received for serving on the board of a Virginia technology company, the Senate Select Committee on Ethics has ruled, undercutting accusations of wrongdoing pushed by Democrats during the nasty campaign last fall.
“The Committee has determined that your ownership of [Commonwealth Biotechnologies Inc.] stock options did not constitute deferred compensation during the relevant reporting periods,” the ethics ruling said this week, clearing the Virginia Republican of any wrongdoing.
Starting in 2001, Mr. Allen did not disclose the 15,000 shares of CBI stock he had received in 1999, the Associated Press reported. CBI is based in Richmond.
When confronted by reporters in October, Mr. Allen said he did not report the stock options because they were worthless.
At the time Mr. Allen received the stock, it was valued at about $7.50 per share, the AP reported. CBI stock has a volatile history, and it hit $9 to $10 per share shortly after Mr. Allen left the CBI board. In recent months, its price has been close to $2.
Still, Mr. Allen sought an opinion from the bipartisan ethics committee on Oct. 3.
However, the story gave Democrats ammunition in their campaign against Mr. Allen, who lost his re-election bid to Democrat James H. Webb Jr. by about 9,000 votes. The win gave Democrats control of the U.S. Senate.
“Unfortunately, the ruling comes four months after Democratic Senator Jim Webb and his liberal allies spent millions of dollars on ads smearing George Allen with baseless allegations of wrongdoing,” Ed Gillespie, chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia, said in a memo to state Republicans.
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, chaired by Sen. Charles E. Schumer of New York, stated in campaign ads that Mr. Allen had “a dark side,” was “distracted by scandals” and “failed to report stock options worth over $1 million and intervened for the same company on a federal contract.”
On its Web site, the DSCC said Mr. Allen was “attempting to hide potential conflicts of interest from the people of Virginia” and “earned yet another place in the Hall of Shame.”
“When we send people to Washington, we trust them to act honestly and ethically,” the DSCC Web site read. “Sadly, George Allen has broken that trust. Yet even when presented with the facts, Allen refuses to come clean.”
Officials from the DSCC and Mr. Webb’s office did not return calls seeking comment yesterday.
By Donald Lambro
Growth spikes are little more than trend-free anomalies
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