Less than a week after taking office, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe is already facing criticism for using his appointment powers as a political tool.
On Wednesday, McAuliffe appointed consultant Boyd Marcus to one of the most lucrative patronage positions in the state government, the Alcoholic Beverages Control (ABC) board. The position is expected to pay at least $124,000 a year, according to local media sources.
Marcus had been a campaign consultant for Republicans for decades, but unexpectedly switched sides last election. He was allegedly offered more money by the McAuliffe campaign. According to former Cuccinelli adviser Chris LaCivita, Boyd also knew the forthcoming ABC appointment was compensation for working on McAuliffe’s campaign.
“Boyd let several people know that part of his arrangement would also get him an appointment to the ABC Board, should McAuliffe win,” LaCivita told Politico.
Ironically, just two days before the appointment was announced, McAuliffe gave a speech to Virginia’s Joint Assembly that included a caution against ethically questionable practices, The Washington Post reports.
“Public confidence in Virginia’s political system, and in the integrity of our leaders, must never be in doubt,” he said. “When ethical questions about government arise, they place a cloud over all of the Commonwealth’s public servants, the overwhelming majority of whom are honest, hardworking and dedicated to the common good.”
But when McAuliffe was questioned about this controversial appointment in a recent AP interview, his response was, “This is little petty political whatever.”