- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 7, 2013

A prominent Virginia lawyer and Democratic activist is calling on Attorney General Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II to provide documents proving that his run for governor is not interfering with his duties as the state’s top lawyer.

Michael Signer, a former Democratic adviser and 2009 candidate for lieutenant governor, submitted a letter Thursday to Mr. Cuccinelli, a Republican, requesting that he turn over scheduling records and emails from the past two months to show that he is not using public resources or time on the job to run for governor.

Mr. Cuccinelli has repeatedly said he will finish out his term, breaking a decades-long tradition of Virginia attorneys general who resigned in their final year to focus on gubernatorial runs.

Democrats have criticized Mr. Cuccinelli for not following the example of past attorneys general — including that of Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell — who resigned while insisting the job cannot be balanced with campaigning.

“The reason for this tradition is simple,” Mr. Signer wrote in the letter, which was circulated Thursday by the Democratic Party of Virginia. “Virginians elect their attorneys general to serve the public, not to run for governor.”

Mr. Cuccinelli, the GOP gubernatorial nominee, is expected to have a tight race against former Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe. The two could be joined by GOP Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, who is mulling a bid as an independent.

The attorney general has defended his decision to stay in office, even as 12 state Democratic lawmakers sent him a letter last month asking him to resign.

He has argued that resigning and breaking his vow to finish his term would only shortchange the public and has pointed out that attorneys general in other states — including Republican Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett — have balanced their duties with successful runs for governor.

“Whether I stay or go, Democrats are going to criticize me,” Mr. Cuccinelli told The Washington Times last month. “I’d rather they criticize me for keeping my word.”

In his letter, Mr. Signer — a former adviser to Democratic Gov. Mark R. Warner who briefly considered a 2013 run for attorney general before backing out last November — asked Mr. Cuccinelli to provide schedule and travel records, as well as any emails from his office to his campaign, the Republican Party of Virginia or the Republican Governors Association.

An RPV spokesman declined to comment on the letter Thursday, saying he needed more time to review it.

Cuccinelli spokesman Brian Gottstein also declined to comment Thursday, saying that he has yet to review Mr. Signer’s letter.

He said the attorney general will not respond until after staff members determine whether they are required to hand over the material by the Freedom of Information Act.