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Cuccinelli touts sunlight in budget process

Attorney General candidate Ken Cuccinelli hopes to shine a light into what he says is a state budget process so hidden from public view that it led to the flap over Del. Phil Hamilton’s state-funded college job.

The Republican state Senator was the only candidate to address a conference of the Virginia Coalition for Open Government, and he brought a pertinent message for the gathering of freedom of information advocates.

Cuccinelli said he warned that dark deeds would go unnoticed until it was too late because so few people have access to the appropriations process as the budget is being constructed.  “Given the discussion surrounding Del. Hamilton,” Cuccinelli said, “this is an ‘I told you so.'”

Hamilton is under fire for arranging appropriations for his own job at Old Dominion University.

Cuccinelli has argued for a computer-based system that would allow anyone to track budget changes in the politically-charged conference committee.  “You cannot do that right now.  And you should be able to do that right now,” he said.

Cuccinelli said under the current system, only a few dozen people have full access to budget information while the spending plan is being developed.  “They hide behind the convoluted budget process to maintain real control of the information among a limited scope of people,” Cuccinelli said.

By Peter Vieth

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