When to stop digging

In 1974, President Nixon was about to be impeached but not for simply knowing about the break-in at the Watergate. He was about to be impeached for the cover-up of that knowledge of who was involved and when. So he resigned. Nixon didn’t know when to stop digging the hole in which he had put himself. Every lie made matters worse. Now we see Governor Northam following the same game.

As I wrote two weeks ago, horrible decisions were made by a party loyalist who was made a member of the Virginia Parole Board by then Governor McAuliffe. She was elevated to chairman of that three-member board under Governor Northam. Then the Democrats in the General Assembly elected her to a judgeship in Virginia Beach. In her last days of her term as chairman, she broke laws to free as many murderers as possible from prison and return them to our communities. When questions arose about what had happened, the state’s Investigator General’s office was asked to look into what and why were these decisions made and by who.

Rather than Governor Northam owning up to the mistakes his administration had made, he chose to dig deeper and let his staff demean the individual who did the investigation. After questioning her integrity, she was fired! This was after she had been rewarded for the quality of her work.

Playing Politics

The Governor has now decided that was not bad enough and is now digging his hole even deeper. He has amended the budget to include a quarter of a million dollars to pay for an independent investigation of the case of a man who murdered a police officer. Some might question why would Governor Northam take this step to spend money to investigate when the taxpayers had already paid for the first investigation. The answer is that he is trying to deflect the public from the wrong doing of the Parole Board. This new investigation’s goal is to refocus the attention of the public and media by rehashing a 42-year-old murder case. This was never the issue. The Parole Board never looks to the validity of the original conviction. The Board’s responsibility is to look at the behavior of an inmate during his time behind bars. In addition, they are by law required to listen to the family of the victim and consult with the Commonwealth Attorney of the locality where the crime was committed. These are the steps that were not taken prior to these releases.

What the Governor has done is tried to take a negative for his political party and make it a positive. He knows he has erred and that has damaged them as we approach the November elections. Why would anyone think that a case over forty years old could be reconstructed better than in the days and weeks after the murder occurred. His announcement that the independent investigation would be conducted outside of state government came after consultation with the Attorney General, the Speaker of the House, and President Pro-temp of the Senate, Democrats all.

It should not be lost on the public that all of this is an embarrassment for each of them and they would all be delighted to keep this out of the sunlight this summer and fall in hopes that voters will forget all of this prior to the November election. Consider the time frame. The budget goes into effect in July; therefore, the process cannot begin until then. Because it is going to be a procurement of services from a private company, it will have to be advertised for bid. How many law firms will make campaign contributions to the above listed folks in order to steer the business to their law firm? Good investigations take time. Cold cases take longer because many witnesses will have died or moved away.

Guess what? Governor Northam gives this investigation until June of next year to finish their work, six months after he leaves office. As with the “blackface” investigation, when no conclusions were reached, expect similar results.

What we do know is the taxpayers will be ripped off twice! First the investigation and then when the legal system determines that the IG investigator must be compensated for wrongful termination. I suggest the Governor put down the shovel.

We love to hear from you! You can reach us at Sen.Ruff@verizon.net, 434-374-5129, or P.O. Box 332, Clarksville, VA 23927.