A big story in The Virginian Pilot reports that the head of the Virginia National Guard, Major General Bob Newman has had a paid position on the advisory board of a business that was run by a person who had been one of his subordinate officers.
The Pilot story quotes a number of individuals who maintain that the relationship appears to be a significant conflict of interest.
Yet the Pilot also reports that a spokesperson for the Virginia Guard told the paper that appropriate senior officials in the Kaine administration were informed about the relationship.
The implication from the Guard’s spokesperson is clearly that the arrangement was approved and signed off on by the administration.
It seems to me that further media coverage and the politics of this story, in the wake of the comments that Democrats made about Bob Sledd, will inevitably proceed to ask who was informed and how they responded. (My presumption is that there is also a paper trail due to the statement of economic interests that agency heads must complete on an annual basis.)
I expect to see the Republicans keep this issue alive, talking about a double standard and asking what did the former Governor’s office know and what did they say about it.
P.S. I would also recommend that whoever is in charge of the state website check out the link to the Virginia National Guard on the Commonwealth’s official site (http://www.virginia.gov/cmsportal3/government_4096/state_website_list.html). I don’t quite know how it occurred, but the link currently sends to you to virginiaguard.com, a commercial site that “may be for sale.”