A three-month investigation by Richmond prosecutors has cleared Virginia Attorney General Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II of criminal wrongdoing for his failure to report in financial disclosures thousands of dollars he received in personal gifts.
In a report issued Thursday, Richmond Commonwealth Attorney Michael N. Herring said he found “no evidence” Mr. Cuccinelli had violated the law through his receipt of gifts from Jonnie Williams, CEO of nutritional supplement maker Star Scientific Inc., or his failure to disclose those gifts and as well as financial holdings in the company.
The Republican gubenatorial candidate in April updated his economic interest statements from 2009 through 2012 to reflect the gifts and stock ownership, after gifts from Mr. Williams to the family of Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell.
“Although one cannot help but question whether repeated omissions of gifts from Williams are coincidence or a pattern reflecting intent to conceal, the disclosure of several other gifts and benefits from Williams in his original statements suggests that the Attorney General was not attempting to conceal the relationship,” Mr. Herring’s report states.
Among the omitted gifts that were revealed in the updated statements were a $3,000 vacation stay and $1,500 Thanksgiving retreat and dinner at Mr. Williams’ Smith Mountain Lake vacation home.
“This review vindicates what I have said all along,” Mr. Cuccinelli said in a statement issued Thursday in response to the report. “There was no legal requirement to refer my own filings to a commonwealth’s attorney to review, but I did it because I wanted to be completely transparent with the public.”
Mr. Cuccinelli asked the Richmond Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office to investigate the matter in the place of his own office to avoid a conflict of interest.