Morning Read: McDonnell Appoints Outspoken Pro-Life Advocate to Virginia Board Of Health - NBC4 Washington
First Read
Your first stop for politics in D.C., Maryland and Virginia

Morning Read: McDonnell Appoints Outspoken Pro-Life Advocate to Virginia Board Of Health



    Gov. Bob McDonnell appointed an outspoken opponent of abortion to the Virginia Board of Health — a board that has already proven to be staunchly anti-abortion.

    The latest appointment, Dr. John W. Seed, is the vice-chairman of the anti-abortion group OBGYNS for Life, according to The RTD.

    News of the appointment comes at the same time that Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli refused to certify the new abortion clinic regulations passed by the board of health last month.

    The regulations, which the board approved with a 7-4 vote last month, would require abortion clinics to meet the same strict building standards as new hospital construction.

    The attorney general said that the board exceeded its authority with this regulation.

    The regulations must now go to the governor, who could order the board to reconsider.

    Seed, according to the RTD, was one of the six physicians appointed in 2011 to help draft the regulations for the department of health.

    As expected, pro-life advocates in the state were not happy with the appointment.

    Via RTD:

    “For Governor McDonnell to appoint Dr. James Seeds, a prominent member of an ideological anti-choice organization, to a public health body charged with acting objectively on the side of patient safety, is a clear and shocking conflict of interest,” said Tarina Keene of the Virginia Coalition to Protect Women’s Health.

    McDonnell defended Seed, saying he is a well-respected obstectrician and that the initial guidelines passed “were correct.”

    * Maryland's $37 billion state pension system may lower its expectations of what it can earn on investments, according to The Baltimore Sun. The decision could have potentially significant consequences for retirees and Maryland taxpayers.

    Whether to cut the rate is an issue that has challenged similar plans around the country in the aftermath of the 2008 stock market meltdown and the recession that followed.

    Any reduction would force the O'Malley administration to make some tough choices about whether to allocate extra money from the state budget to fund pensions. Without enough money, the plan eventually could have to reduce benefits for retirees.

    * Despite lagging in the polls, Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling has raised more money for the 2013 gubernatorial campaign than his competitor Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.

    The RTD reports that the latest filed reports show Bolling raised $961,811 between Jan. 1 and June 30 and has $1.48 million on hand.

    Cuccinelli raised $534,156 during that same period and has about $800,000 cash on hand.

    * Council members Muriel Bowser and Kenyan McDuffie were cleared of ethics complaints that accused them of illegally campaigning inside the walls of the D.C. jail and using the council cell phone for political dealings respectively.

    According to the Post, there wasn’t enough evidence to prove any wrongdoing.

    The Washington Post editorial board writes that Councilmember Jim Graham, who gave a deposition last week for the federal lawsuit surrounding the D.C. lottery contract, should be more transparent about what actually happened.

    Graham wouldn’t allow his deposition to be videotaped and said he couldn’t discuss what was said because the city had also moved to keep his remarks under seal. h

    This request would be based on an argument that would be laughable if it weren’t so offensive: that Mr. Graham should be afforded whistleblower protection. Let’s hope someone — such as the federal magistrate presiding over the case — puts an end to this absurd notion.

    At the heart of the city’s claim is Mr. Graham’s role in bringing a 2008 complaint against Mr. Payne, then an employee of the chief financial officer overseeing procurement of the District’s multi-million-dollar lottery operation. Mr. Graham alleged that a local business in line for the contract but needing council approval had tried to influence his vote by offering a job to one of his supporters. He said he suspected Mr. Payne was involved in this scheme.

    * First Lady Michelle Obama is returning to Virginia Friday with a campaign stop in Charlottesville and another in Fredericksburg. .