Virginia House Democratic Leader David Toscano doesn't think taxpayers should foot the bill for Governor Bob McDonnell's attorney fees. The fees stem from the probe into McDonnell's ongoing gifts scandal.
Wednesday, Toscano called on both the governor and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli to reimburse fees from a private law firm the governor retained because Cuccinelli recused himself.
"The governor did not have to accept the taxpayer-funded attorney. He could have said, ‘I will have my ownattorney protect my interest in this matter.' He didn't do so and it is costing the taxpayer," Toscano said.
So far McDonnell's private law firm has billed $53,000. Toscano says fees will mount before the case is over.
Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli responded to Toscano's allegations Wednesday. He says his office was ethically bound to recuse itself as McDonnell's attorney because it was his office that started the prosecution in the executive mansion chef embezzlement case, which ultimately resulted in the gifts probe. Furthermore, Cuccinelli says recusal due to a conflict of interest is not uncommon.
"In this particular case, your delegate is trying to confuse things," Cuccinelli said. "Virginia spends, if my recollection is correct, over $20 million a year for outside counsel on an enormous variety of things, and you know I think this falls into that category."