Del. David Albo, R-Fairfax County, says the Virginia State Bar overstepped its mission in lobbying the legislature for more judicial spending.
Albo, chairman of the House Courts of Justice Committee, views the plan by Gov. Bob McDonnell to use the VSB’s $5-million cash reserves for general spending as a rebuff to the VSB’s advocacy for restoring vacant judgeships
“They decided to get into politics, and guess what? They got their judges funded,” Albo said. “It probably never would have happened if the bar had stuck to their mission.”
McDonnell’s recent budget proposal presents the plan to use money from lawyers’ mandatory dues in the general fund in conjunction with another proposal to spend $1.7 million to fund “priority” vacant judgeships. The governor’s office has not yet responded to a VLW inquiry for details about those budget proposals.
Despite his criticism of VSB lobbying, Albo disapproves of the plan to use VSB money for general spending. “I don’t think professionals should be taxed to pay for general fund expenditures,” he said. He compared the McDonnell proposal to charging doctors to pay for hospitals.
Albo said the VSB Council departed from its mission in February when it authorized VSB leaders to urge full funding of judgeships. “I wish the State Bar would get back to regulating lawyers and not playing politics,” he said. The VSB, Albo said, should leave the lobbying to volunteer bar groups such as the Virginia Bar Association and the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association.
By Peter Vieth