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.

8 Thoughts to “McDonnell stands to lose state pension because of felony conviction”

  1. Clueless

    He signed the bill. Why should he be exempt?

    1. Because he didn’t break any Virginia laws and his pension is a state pension.

  2. Ray Beverage

    “Never been interpreted by a court” – this would be a case where it would be interesting to see if McDonnell does challenge a loss of pension.

    That said, the part about “convicted of a felony related to on-the-job conduct” reminds me of the Military where, if convicted of a felony, a Service Member can receive a Bad Conduct or Dishonorable Discharge and loose all right to pension & benefits. That though is under the Military’s Uniform Code of Military Justice.

    I have also known instances where Dept. of Defense Civilians, “convicted of a felony related to on-the-job conduct” also have lost their pensions…although that was under the old Civil Service Retirement Rules. With the move to paying into 401-type accounts, it is my understanding the Civilian Employees keep those accounts.

    Still, will be interesting to see if our former Governor challenges the ruling if his pension is revoked.

  3. Starryflights

    Revoke it. Virginia taxpayers need not pay for crooked politicians.

  4. BSinVA

    I’ll come down on the side of revoking that portion of his pension benefits that was earned on and after his felonious behavior began. A review of the court records would indicate the initial date of mis-conduct leading to a felony conviction.

    That way, an employee who provided good service to the State for 35 years and then, on the day before his retirement, stole a tank of gas, would not be punished as if he was stealing for 35 years.

    1. I would agree with that, BS.

  5. Frequency

    Corrupt politicians should not be tolerated. Revoke it and send him to jail already. Crying out loud, if it was you or me we’d already be halfway through our term.

    1. But he wasn’t you or me. There were a lot of extenuating circumstances. Reminder, he broke no Virginia laws. I can’t get past that.

      I also notice that Cuccinelli did a lot of things he did. He didn’t even stand trial.

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