Richard Martin Reporting

Deliberations have begun in the corruption trial of former governor Bob McDonnell and his wife Maureen.

Judge James R. Spencer turned the case over to the seven men and five women shortly before noon on the 26th day of the trial that began on July 28.

"I know it’s tough, believe me, I know it’s tough," Spencer told the jury. "You take your time. It’s your business now."

Spencer said that if a verdict is not reached today they will break at 5:30 p.m. and resume the next day. The jury got the case after listening to more than two hours of instruction on the law recited by Spencer.

Click on the headline to read the full story.

~ Richmond Times-Dispatch

With two young boys and two hectic careers in the Navy, Christina and Stephen Guralny depended on day care. She was a 35-year-old surgical technician, and he was a dental specialist, six years her junior. They had a sandy-haired toddler named Dalton who took after his father and a new baby named Logan who had his mother’s blue eyes. He squealed and pumped his legs when he was happy. “His little motorcycle kick,” Christina called it.

The Guralnys had spent a long time looking for the right child-care provider. They visited homes and centers across the Hampton Roads area, asking about providers’ training and references.

Some were too expensive for their modest salaries. Others were too far away. A facility for military families had a waiting list of more than six months. They were already paying $295 a week to send Dalton to a private day-care center, but they couldn’t afford to send Logan there as well.

One day the Guralnys noticed a posting on Craigslist about an in-home day care in Portsmouth. Dawn Robilotta’s business, which she called This Little Light, cost only $150 a week per child. When they visited, Dawn, a 45-year-old mother of three, appeared to have a calming touch with Logan.

Click on the headline to read the full story.

~ The Washington Post

The Nationals have taken their lead in the National League East and run with it. At the start of play Tuesday, they enjoy a seven-game lead over the Atlanta Braves, who have been mired in mediocrity for weeks now - and were no-hit Monday afternoon by a group of Philadelphia Phillies pitchers.

Additionally, with Monday’s 6-4 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Nats have wrested the mantle of winningest team in the entire NL, owning one more victory than their hosts for the next two days. Of course, the Nats also have two games in hand over the Dodgers, so their winning percentage is even stronger than a one-game lead in the win column.

All this plays into a larger question for down the stretch. When - or more likely if - Ryan Zimmerman returns from his hamstring tear, where will he play?

The Nats dealt for Asdrubal Cabrera at the trade deadline and he’s been everything they could have asked for, if not more. He’s hit, changed positions and played stellar defense - all with nary a peep. As a two-time All-Star, he could have pitched a fit about being asked to switch positions. But all he’s done is what he’s been asked, and excellently.

Click on the headline to read the full story.

~ The Washington Post

 

Here’s an event we’re sorry we missed: Back in July, a group in Christiansburg celebrated the birthday of Elbridge Gerry — the 19th century Massachusetts politician whose attempts to redraw political districts to benefit his allies and disadvantage his opponents we now know as “gerrymandering.”

It was an ironic celebration (complete with an Elbridge Gerry impersonator, we’re told).

The sponsors included OneVirginia2021, a group founded earlier this year to take the once-every-decade task of redistricting out of the hands of self-serving politicians and give it to … well, anybody would be preferable, probably, but the idea is some sort of nonpartisan commission.

The group has some big names behind it: Former Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling (a Republican) is on the advisory board; former Del. Shannon Valentine (a Democrat) from Lynchburg is president of the foundation; former Del. Dave Nutter (a Republican) from Montgomery County is the board’s secretary.

Click on the headline to read the full story.

~ The Roanoke Times

 

Late Monday night it was reported that former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor would take a job at investment bank Moelis.

The news has already prompted the predictable eye-rolling about the “revolving door.” And to the Tea Partiers who ousted Cantor in a primary earlier this year, the news that he is going to Wall Street is vindication that he was never a populist like them.

But anyway, Moelis has put in a filing with the SEC, detailing his pay package (Via Erik Schatzker).

From the filing:

Group LP has agreed to pay Mr. Cantor an annual base salary of $400,000. Group LP has also agreed to pay Mr. Cantor an initial cash amount of $400,000 and grant Mr. Cantor $1,000,000 in initial restricted stock units (“RSUs”), based on the average closing price of the Company’s common stock on the five trading days prior to his start date. The initial RSUs will generally vest in equal installments on each of the third, fourth and fifth anniversaries of his start date. For calendar year 2015, Group LP has agreed to pay Mr. Cantor minimum incentive compensation of $1,200,000 in cash and $400,000 in incentive RSUs, payable in equal quarterly installments. The incentive RSUs will generally have the same vesting schedule as incentive RSUs granted to Group LP’s other Managing Directors.

Click on the headline to read the full story.

~ Business Insider

You cannot go on being a good egg forever. You must either hatch or rot.
C. S. Lewis

After five weeks of testimony and closing arguments on Friday, the jury in the corruption trial of former Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, is set to hear instructions today and then begin its deliberations.

Jurors were given the three-day Labor Day weekend holiday by Judge James R. Spencer and are expected to receive their instructions from the judge when court resumes this morning. Afterwards, they are expected to begin deliberations at the U.S. District Court in Richmond.

The McDonnells are accused of taking thousands of dollars in loans and gifts from benefactor Jonnie Williams Sr. in exchange for giving him access to the Executive Mansion and officials to promote his dietary supplement, Anatabloc. McDonnell has asserted he did nothing for Williams that he wouldn’t have done for anyone else seeking to bring jobs to Virginia, and has further accused Williams of lying to win an immunity deal from prosecutors.

Click on the headline to read the full story.

~ Richmond Times-Dispatch

While many of my friends across the country were busy spending their holiday weekend with barbecues and lazy days, I spent my Labor Day weekend shopping for school supplies, reminding my kids to finish their summer assignments, and filling out school forms. For my kids – and roughly 25% of public school children around the country – school starts tomorrow (that loud cheer you hear tomorrow around 7:30 a.m. just might be parents in southeastern Pennsylvania).

The question of when to send kids back to school has long been a complicated one. There is no predictable schedule for the country as a whole and hasn’t been for some time. School open and closing dates have varied depending on whether the school was located in a hot or cool climate, or an urban versus rural state. In rural areas, for example, school traditionally opened after Labor Day and closed in mid-spring. That allowed farms to operate on schedule without the need to pull kids out of school. As our country has become less agrarian, the calendar has shifted earlier for more and more states, with schools often opening weeks before Labor Day, extending the school year.

Not everyone thinks that starting school earlier is a good thing. At least two states are exploring the possibility of pushing the start of school forward to open after Labor Day. Those states, Maryland and Ohio, want summer to last a little longer. The rationale is, as it was traditionally, economics. This time, however, it’s not farm labor but seasonal labor that has folks mulling the change, combined with additional tax dollars derived from tourism.

Click on the headline to read the full story.

~ Forbes

As the McDonnell corruption trial moves towards its end, the predictable stories are decrying – once again – Virginia’s absurdly lax ethics laws and why they must be toughened.

There’s the usual observation that the five-week extravaganza of a trial that is drawing international attention will put the state on an entirely new axis when it comes to public integrity. Plenty of harrumphing.

The General Assembly, however, had its shot this winter and came through with only very mild changes putting dollar limits for tangible “gifts” while failing to take any kind of substantive measure, such as establishing a real investigatory ethics commission.

Click on the headline to read the full story.

~ Bacon’s Rebellion

Gov. Terry McAuliffe has set the most ambitious goal in the state’s history for doing business with small firms and those owned by women and minorities.

He recently signed an order setting a target of 42 percent for the share of state contract money awarded to such businesses. Since fiscal 2007, according to state records, the highest proportion awarded to small, women-owned and minority-owned, or SWAM, businesses was 41.9 percent in fiscal 2009.

"We wanted to outdo any previous performance," said Maurice Jones, the state secretary of commerce and trade. "This is something quite important for the governor, having been a business owner and entrepreneur himself."

Click on the headline to read the full story.

~ The Virginian-Pilot

 

Eric Cantor plans to join boutique investment bank Moelis MC +3.21% & Co., as the recently defeated House majority leader embarks on a new career on Wall Street.

Mr. Cantor, 51 years old, will be a vice chairman and board member at the firm, effective this week, he and Moelis founder Ken Moelis said in a joint interview on Monday.

Mr. Cantor, a Virginia Republican, lost his seat in Congress when he was defeated in a June primary. Rather than continue as majority leader, he stepped down from the post last month.

At Moelis, Mr. Cantor will help the firm, which was formed in 2007 and has offices overseas, compete for business and advise corporate and investor clients on takeovers and other deals.

Click on the headline to read the full story.

~ The Wall Street Journal

 

The Medicaid expansion debate is not over in Virginia. The governor says he will soon announce his strategy to push it forward.

After the bitter budget stalemate was resolved and Democrats lost their crusade for health care reform, Governor Terry McAuliffe said he would exhaust other executive options. But as summer draws to a close, he has yet to announce his next step.

McAuliffe says he feels closing the coverage gap by using federal funding would benefit the commonwealth. Right now, he says he is still evaluating his options to act unilaterally. His office said Monday that after it finishes reviewing the possibilities, McAuliffe will make an announcement on his decision.

Virginia Republicans have been staunchly opposed to expanding Medicaid and have threatened to challenge the governor’s authority if he makes a bold move without their backing.

McAuliffe says he has another major economic development announcement to make Tuesday morning.

~ WVIR TV NBC29

There is a new chart-topper in Roll Call’s latest monthly ranking of the 10 most vulnerable senators.

Montana’s appointed Sen. John Walsh was by far the most endangered incumbent in the chamber at the time of the previous installment in early August, but his decision last month to not seek a full term opened the top slot to a couple other worthy contenders.

Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., is still in a perilous political position, but Louisiana Sen. Mary L. Landrieu has leapfrogged him on the list to become the Senate’s most vulnerable incumbent.

The Democrat is pushing hard to eclipse 50 percent on Nov. 4, the day of Louisiana’s jungle primary and possibly Landrieu’s best opportunity for re-election. She will undoubtedly get close. But if Landrieu doesn’t win a majority of the vote against a few GOP challengers, she will likely face Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-La., in the Dec. 6 runoff.

If that happens, all bets are off, and Landrieu’s viability may depend on which party prevailed on Election Day.

Click on the headline to read the full story.

~ Roll Call

 

A Virginia commission that invests money from a national tobacco settlement gave $21 million to an economic development group and a telephone cooperative run by family members of the commission’s powerful chairman, according to a review of grants by The Associated Press.

While not illegal, the grants are part of a rocky history of questionable spending by the Virginia Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission, which currently controls about $600 million in cash and investments.

The commission’s chairman is Terry Kilgore, a Republican state legislator from a powerful political family. Kilgore has served on the commission since it was created in 1999. He was vice chairman for a decade and chairman for the past four years, approving grants that have benefited his father and brother’s groups in Scott County, a rural area of southwest Virginia.

Kilgore recently hired an attorney in response to news that FBI is investigating whether a state senator was lured into resigning with the promise of a lucrative commission job. The resignation helped swing the balance of power in the state Senate to Republicans during a contentious debate over the state budget and Medicaid expansion.

Click on the headline to read the full story.

~ The Washington Post

Here are five things to know about Virginia’s midterm elections:

10th CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT

The most competitive election in Virginia this fall is in Northern Virginia’s 10th Congressional District, where Democrats are hoping to nab the seat held by retiring Republican Rep. Frank Wolf for more than three decades. GOP state Del. Barbara Comstock, a former Wolf aide, is facing Democrat John Foust, a Fairfax County Supervisor. Foust has tried to make women’s health issues a key part of the race, while recently drawing criticism from Comstock’s campaign for wondering whether Comstock had ever held a “real job.”

THE GIANT KILLER

After pulling off a major upset victory in the Republican primary against former U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Dave Brat had to adjust quickly to life in the spotlight. Now that he’s the front runner to win the 7th Congressional District against Democrat Jack Trammell, Brat will have to avoid any major stumbles while trying to reunite a fractured Republican party.

THE OBAMA EFFECT

President Barack Obama won Virginia during his two presidential campaigns and has been a frequent visitor. Last year, he campaigned with Gov. Terry McAuliffe. But the president hasn’t campaigned with any Democrats so far this year, and no campaign has announced plans to do so. When asked if he’s campaigning with the president, Democrat Sen. Mark Warner hasn’t given a firm answer either way.

Click on the headline to read the full story.

~ The Washington Post