Former Virginia governor Robert F. McDonnell should lose his pension because of his felony conviction, the state’s attorney general said Tuesday.
In an advisory opinion sought by Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D), Attorney General Mark R. Herring (D) said that under a law McDonnell signed in 2011, the ex-governor must relinquish his benefits because he was convicted of a felony related to on-the-job conduct.
“The governor asked for this opinion just to make sure we were clear on the law and the process here, since this is the first time this has happened,” McAuliffe spokesman Brian Coy said.
The law, written after a state delegate’s felony conviction on bribery charges, has never been interpreted by a court.
At issue were three things: who employs the state’s governor; when the conviction takes effect — at the time of the jury verdict or after all appeals are exhausted; and which benefits must be forfeited — the pension coming from the job held when the offense was committed or all state pensions and benefits earned.
Herring found that all state benefits are lost after a felony conviction, not just those earned in the position in which the behavior was committed. The conviction occurred when the jury rendered its verdict, he said. And as the state’s governor, McAuliffe acts as McDonnell’s employer and is responsible for carrying out the law.
Give me a break, or more to the point–give McDonnell a break. Hasn’t the man been through enough? I would like to remind folks that for the most part, I don’t like McDonnell’s politics, especially his politics involving reproductive rights. On the other hand, I think he did a lot for the state. In particular, he relaxed some of the hoops that former prisoners had to jump through to get their rights restored.
McDonnell broke no Virginia laws. Therefore he should not lose his state pension. He also earned much of that pension before he was governor.
I, a non-Republican, believe that McDonnell has been punished far more than necessary. Let’s not administer that last humiliating kick in the crotch.