The now infamous White House party crashers are making headlines again.
Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli filed a lawsuit against Tareq Salahi—the husband part of the reality-star duo that crashed a White House state dinner in 2009—and his company VirginiaWineTour.com.
Cuccinelli’s office issued a statement that said Salahi and two related entities allegedly violated the Virginia Consumer Protection Act by not delivering tours as promised, not providing refunds for tours they canceled and misrepresenting reputable businesses as “official partners.”
Salahi and the other two defendants, Virginia Wine Tourism, Inc. and Celebration Entertainment Productions, LLC offer wine tours through their collective website VirginiaWineTour.com.
According to the release, Salahi is the sole officer and director and presumed sole owner of Virginia Wine Tourism, Inc. and the presumed sole member and manager of Celebration Entertainment Productions, LLC.
Salahi and his now estranged wife, Michaele, first made headlines when they somehow got into a White House state dinner without an invitation. This controversial stunt landed them on “The Real House Wives of D.C." for a season.
* Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D) requested a meeting with Wal-Mart officials in response to allegations that the retail giant covered up a bribery scheme to expand its business in Mexico, according to The Baltimore Sun.
In a letter to Wal-Mart CEO Michael Duke, Cummings—the highest ranking Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee—said he is opening an investigation based on allegations raised by a story over the weekend in The New York Times.
* The Georgetown Dish has a good read on the often-tense relationship between D.C. Council Chair Kwame Brown and Mayor Vincent Gray.
Brown recently introduced emergency legislation requiring the mayor to notify and get approval from council members of any capital budget reprogramming requests of less than $500,000, a move that highlighted the distrust and power struggle between the two political figures.
A healthy dose of skepticism between the Council and the Mayor’s Office is good but the relationship doesn’t always have to be adversarial and acrimonious.
A big question is what role the Council Chair sees for himself? It often appears that he wants a more adversarial one. It seems that he and his staff are looking to grab headlines rather than working with the Administration to do what is right for the people of the District. Two years ago, the D.C. City Council had one of the highest positive ratings of any legislative body in the nation. That wouldn’t be the case today.
* Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell is asking the state’s colleges and universities to keep their tuition hikes to the increase in the Consumer Price Index.
According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the governor asked in a letter to school presidents and board members for their help in keeping down in-state tuition and fee increases because “we cannot let dramatic price increases be a deterrent to higher education for all qualified and motivated Virginians.”
In his letter, McDonnell noted that the recently passed budget allocated $230 million into higher education and warned that in his budget review he may consider amendments to "clarify and strengthen" the initiatives.
"Both the General Assembly and I proposed this new state funding for higher education with the clear understanding that institutions will temper the need to raise in-state tuition and fees this coming year," he writes.
The RTD had a succinct and direct editorial about the funding for the metro to Dulles International Airport that nearly threatened the state budget.
The Times-Dispatch supports rail service to Dulles. Rail would enhance the airport's status as a hub for national and international flights. Dulles contributes to the prosperity not only of its immediate region but of Virginia and Maryland generally.
Yet to hold the entire state budget hostage to Dulles rail, as Senate Democrats seemingly sought to do, marked the height of political irresponsibility. By casting the decisive vote in favor of the budget, Charles Colgan may have saved his fellow Democrats from themselves. The consequences of their petty partisanship could have been severe.