Va. AG Cuccinelli Improperly Pressured Board of Health Over Abortion Clinic Rules, Washington Post Editorial States

September 21, 2012 — Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) has "demeaned his office by using it as a blatantly partisan bully pulpit" many times, most recently by pressuring "Virginia's Board of Health into a stance -- unprecedented in state history -- that could force most of the commonwealth's 20 or so abortion clinics to close," a Washington Post editorial states.

In June, the board voted 7-4 to exempt existing abortion clinics from a state requirement that abortion clinics meet the same building standards as new hospitals. The decision prompted Cuccinelli to "resort to strong-arm tactics, first by threatening he would not certify the new regulations, then by warning that his office, which acts as the lawyer for state agencies and boards, might refuse to represent members of the board of health who were sued if they failed to heed his advice," the editorial notes.

"If that threat of non-representation -- call it the Cuccinelli Principle -- were to apply broadly, it's unlikely that Virginia could fill vacancies on any agencies, boards or commissions," according to the editorial. Cuccinelli's tactics "bore fruit" last week when the board -- "evidently intimidated" -- voted 13-2 to reverse its position, the editorial continues.

"If that decision survives a public comment period and review by [Gov. Bob McDonnell (R)], Virginia will be known for two things -- the nation's most draconian anti-abortion regulations and its most politicized attorney general's office," the editorial states (Washington Post, 9/20).