Northam “Fact Check” of AFP Ad Attempt to Evade Responsibility
RICHMOND, VA – Americans for Prosperity – Virginia (AFP-VA) responded to the Ralph Northam campaign’s “fact check” of AFP’s TV ad criticizing Northam for his indifference and neglect as a board member of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP), which was bilked by a Chinese company for $1.4 million in taxpayer money.
Northam’s entire “fact check” comes down to a single point – that the board on which Northam served wasn’t responsible for grants made by the VEDP.
First, the board on which Northam served had a statutory responsibility to supervise the work of the VEDP, to hold it accountable for its performance and use of taxpayer dollars. The Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC), a non-partisan watchdog agency, issued a scathing report on VEDP’s shortcomings and was particularly critical of the board. On pages 9-10, the report describes in detail the board’s responsibilities. It states:
“Through statute, the General Assembly established that VEDP should be governed by a board of directors (§ 2.2-2235). The VEDP Chief Executive Officer reports to the board…Statute directs VEDP’s board to ‘appoint the chief executive officer of the Authority … who shall serve at the pleasure of the Board and carry out such of the powers and duties conferred upon him by the Board,’ making it a supervisory board…A supervisory board ‘ensures that the agency director complies with all board and statutory directives. The agency director is subordinate to the board’ (§ 2.2-2100).” (“Management and Accountability of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership,” Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission, 11/16, At 9-10)
Northam’s attempt to evade responsibility can’t escape the fact that the board was by law supposed to supervise the VEDP – the buck stopped with the board and Ralph Northam.
Second, Northam now seeks to shift blame to VEDP staff because this sorry chapter in the history of the VEDP is politically inconvenient. But when he thought there was political credit to be earned, he was VEDP’s biggest cheerleader.
On July 16, 2014, a very enthusiastic Ralph Northam (@LGRalphNortham) tweeted: “So proud to be part of Fort Monroe Authority and VEDP: 596 new jobs coming to #FortMonroe!”
AFP-VA State Director JC Hernandez Issued the following statement:
“Our ad exposes Northam’s dereliction of his statutory duty as a VEDP board member and this ‘fact check’ is a further attempt to evade responsibility. This issue is representative of Northam’s entire political career and demonstrates he does not have what it takes to be Virginia’s next governor. And how could we ever trust Ralph Northam to oversee the sprawling Virginia bureaucracy when he couldn’t – or wouldn’t – oversee the VEDP?”
For further information or an interview, reach Lorenz Isidro at LIsidro@afphq.org or (703) 887-7724.
Americans for Prosperity (AFP) exists to recruit, educate, and mobilize citizens in support of the policies and goals of a free society at the local, state, and federal level, helping every American live their dream – especially the least fortunate. AFP has more than 3.2 million activists across the nation, a local infrastructure that includes 36 state chapters, and has received financial support from more than 100,000 Americans in all 50 states. For more information, visit www.AmericansForProsperity.org