While the Washington Post doesn’t use the word bribe, they come close in this article. Emails received by the Post through a FOIA request show that a job was being created by the state tobacco commission for Senator Phillip P. Puckett (D-Russell) just before his abrupt resignation from the state senate. His resignation gave control of the senate to republicans.
On May 29th, tobacco commission interim director Tim Pfohl sent an email about the job to Ned Stephenson, the commission’s director of investments. (Terry refers to Del. Terry G. Kilgore (R-Scott)).
“If you’re in tomorrow Terry would like us to call Puckett to discuss what kind of role he might like w/ Commission,” he wrote.
The job being created for Puckett would come with state employee benefits, a cell phone, and possibly a car. Puckett was even asked to help write his own job description.
Pfohl, had concerns about the job announcement coming the same day as Puckett’s resignation. He feared it would give the appearance of the commission ‘manipulating’ power in the Virginia Senate. No kidding. On May 30th, Pfohl tells Puckett that he had begged the chairman of the commission, Del. Terry G. Kilgore, to delay the announcement of Puckett’s job with the commission. (Phillip is Senator Puckett.)
“Phillip: Terry spoke to us today about announcing your role w/ the Commission in conjunction with what he said is your intention to announce your Senate plans tomorrow,” Pfohl wrote. “I implored him to ‘decouple’ those announcements for the sake of the appearance of the Commission manipulating the Senate balance of power and starting WW3 w/ the Governor’s administration.”
“I mention all this so you know what’s being planned on our end to give this the most defensible appearance of due process,” (emphasis mine)
Wow. It certainly did set off a firestorm, if not WW3, and now the whole matter is being investigated by the FBI. A grand jury met this week in Abington to go over documents and testimony.
Read the entire timeline here.
UPDATE: I have been told by numerous people that the real reason for Puckett’s resignation from the Senate was so he could spend more time with his wife who is facing a serious illness. We wish her a speedy recovery.