Taxpayers and Voters Deserve to Know Why Northam Didn’t Do His Job
RICHMOND, VA – As Virginia gubernatorial candidate Ralph Northam gets set to square off against Ed Gillespie in tonight’s big debate, questions about Northam’s role in the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) scandal remain unanswered. The scandal is the subject of a seven-figure television ad campaign by Americans for Prosperity to defeat Ralph Northam.
Northam was a member of VEDP’s board of directors when it was scammed by a Chinese company for $1.4 million in taxpayer money. Minutes show Northam skipped nearly 60% of VEDP meetings.
Northam has so far refused to take responsibility, with his campaign shifting the blame to the VEDP staff for the making the bad grant. In fact, the VEDP board of directors had a statutory responsibility to supervise the work of the VEDP, to hold it accountable for its performance and use of taxpayer dollars, i.e. the buck stopped with Northam and the board. (See: “Management and Accountability of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership,” Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission, 11/16, pages 9-10.)
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!”
If Northam was “so proud” to be part of VEDP, why did he throw VEDP staff under the bus? Why was he willing to take credit for good news out of VEDP, but not take responsibility for such an embarrassing failure?
Americans for Prosperity-Virginia State Director JC Hernandez issued the following statement:
“Ralph Northam is living proof that success has a thousand fathers while failure is an orphan. But no amount of blame-shifting can hide the fact that Northam had a statutory duty to supervise the VEDP and he didn’t do his job. And if Virginians can’t trust him to oversee the VEDP, how could we ever trust him to oversee the sprawling Virginia bureaucracy? Let’s hope Chuck Todd can get Northam to answer the questions he has dodged since the scandal was exposed.”
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