The Richmond Times Dispatch is reporting that the United States Attorney's Office for the Western District of Virginia is investigating the recent and surprising resignation of state Senator Phillip Puckett. There is a report of a grand jury convening in Abington to hear testimony on the matter.
Puckett's resignation gave the balance of power in the Virginia Senate to the Republicans who now hold a 20-19 advantage. Prior to Puckett's resignation, the Senate was deadlocked, with the Lieutenant Governor, a Democrat, providing the tie breaking vote.
Puckett stated that his decision to resign was motivated, in part, by Republican opposition to his daughter receiving a full-time appointment as a Juvenile and Domestic Relations judge. She was not considered for that position, prior to Puckett's resignation, because of a belief that the Senate should not appoint judges who are family members of a sitting senator.
The Times Dispatch reports that Puckett's resignation may also have been tied to his appointment to the state tobacco commission. Delegate Terry Kilgore, a Republican from Southwest Virginia and brother of former gubernatorial candidate Jerry Kilgore, stated that he had spoken with Puckett before his resignation about taking a job with the commission. Puckett says that he was never officially offered a job by the tobacco commission.
The Washington Post reports that Puckett has hired Thomas J. Bondurant Jr. to represent him. Bondurant is a former federal prosecutor in WDVa. I saw him in action many days when I was a law clerk for Judge Wilson. He was always one of my favorite attorneys to watch.