Congratulations to the Richmond Times-Dispatch on their FOIA request on Virginia Governor Timothy M. Kaine’s travel and expenses paid for by the taxpayers of the Commonwealth.
And well done to the Virginia State Police for following up on this ongoing matter.
For those of you who do not know, Kaine holds down a number of jobs:
• Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia
• Chairman of the Democratic National Committee
• Obama confidante
• Vice President in waiting (watch your back Joe Biden)
Unfortunately for Mr. Kaine it’s been reported that he, in four months, spent 31 days outside of Virginia in his role as Chair of the DNC. This, despite promises otherwise http://www.examiner.com/x-16143-Richmond-Republican-Examiner~y2009m7d11-Does-Virginia-have-an-aroundthe-clock-Governor
The RT-D reports that the request sought records of expenses incurred by the state police executive protection unit which, of course, protects the governor 24/7 including officers who accompanied Mr. Kaine whilst fundraising for the DNC and other Democratic events.
Frankly, the GOP dropped the ball on this one. I understand Chairman Pat Mullins’ reasoning for not pursuing the matter due to incurring more taxpayer dollars and court time misspent. This, however, was an opportunity for Republicans which they failed to catch.
God Bless the Fourth Estate.
Back to Kaine; Virginia’s biggest frequent flyer. The Governor of Virginia, Timothy Kaine, has traveled to New York City, Chicago, Boston, and several Floridian destinations, Michigan, Georgia, Texas, Ohio, Kansas and Philadelphia not to mention the numerous trips to Washington D.C (over forty).
Governor Kaine’s Communications Director, Lynda Tran says that “the Governor is engaged in state work every day.”
Every day? Even the days he is working for the DNC and Democratic candidates and fundraising for a political party? Blackberry or not, this is impossible. It’s a juggling act at taxpayers’ expense but Mr. Kaine is prohibited from running for re-election due to term limits.
The Republicans also had a similar dilemma with former Governor, Jim Gilmore who, for a time, headed up the Republican National Committee.
However after some pressure this year from state GOP leaders, Kaine said he would break with practice and have the DNC reimburse the Commonwealth’s taxpayers for his security costs for DNC related travel as well as other expenses due to party business.
Kaine in an interview seemed contrite saying that declaring these expenses was “the right thing to do.” He went on to say that he would provide an itemized account of costs his security detail on his DNC travels twice a year until his term ends. Bit late for that.
Jim Nolan of the R T-D reports that Kaine’s travel has picked up in recent weeks with nine of his 14 documented trips occurring in May and June and last week a speaking gig in Aspen. This weekend the Governor is heading back up to Washington to address the National College Democrats. Nolan goes on to say that Kaine informed him that he will probably go to San Francisco and Seattle for the rest of the weekend.
Then the Governor is off to address the Latino organization La Raza in Chicago next Tuesday performing gubernatorial and DNC duties all at the same time.
Many in the GOP have alleged that the Governor is neglecting his duties as the chief executive officer of the state during this crippling recession to further the interests of his chosen political party. The Governor responds by arguing that his job as the Chairman of the DNC pays dividends for the Commonwealth with regard to access and influence with decision makers in Washington.
That may be so, but why did it take a FOIA request that was frequently denied to the GOP and other concerned citizens yet now acquiesced due to media and legal pressure?