RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Two Democratic state lawmakers say they are considering calling for a probe into the Virginia Attorney General’s office, after citing questionable ethics of a senior staffer. The special assistant for investigations internally inquired about a job at the University of Virginia the same day the sitting attorney was fired, according to an email obtained by 8News.
In an email obtained by 8News, Carlton Davis, special assistant to the attorney general for investigations, said “when the Loudoun County investigation wraps up in a few months, assuming it is done well and the AG looks good (as is the hope/expectation on my end), as mentioned a couple of times, I’d be very interested in working the University’s Counsel’s office.”
Miyares announced an investigation into the Loudoun County School Board the day he was sworn in — a campaign promise after a sexual assault involving a student was reportedly mishandled by school officials.
Davis’ email came nine days after the chief counsel at UVA, Tim Heaphy, was reportedly fired. At the time of his dismissal, Heaphy was investigating the circumstances surrounding the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
Miyares told 8News Heaphy’s role on the U.S. House Select Committee investigating January 6 had “zero, zero” to do with his firing, but he denied sharing why he was removed from his post, citing “internal policy decisions.”
Davis’ January 23 email was addressed to the attorney general’s Chief of External Affairs and Policy Klarke Kilgore, who responded two days later, “We will absolutely keep you in mind!,” but stopped short of offering a job at UVA.
A spokesperson for Miyares, Victoria LaCivita, told 8News, “Over 600 people work for the Office of the Attorney General. Similar to any corporate business, individuals ask for promotions, new positions and raises frequently. As you can seen in the email, nothing was ever promised to Mr. Davis.”
“It’s the kind of thing that makes people raise their eyebrows.“ 8News Legal Analyst Russ Stone said.
“There certainly is an appearance there that something might be wrong, not saying that there is, but it just looks bad,” he said.
The attorney general’s office responded to 8News Thursday, the same day the Washington Post reported a deputy attorney general resigned after a Facebook status came to light, where she labeled people who stormed the U.S. Capitol “patriots.”
8News legal Analyst Rich Meager acknowledged that the incidents raise questions about ethics within the attorney general’s office.
“This is where you absolutely have to have the most upright, ethical behavior, and the most upright ethical people because they are the ones that are ensuring justice is served in the state,” Meager said.
The Attorney General‘s office is taxpayer funded, has the ability to investigate and recommend criminal charges and has staffers who are appointed and not elected.
Lawmakers representing Loudoun County say Davis’ potentially questionable email may be cause to call for an investigation.
“How can we trust any kind of an outcome when we know this is all been politically motivated by a staffer who is trying to get a job, a plum job at UVA,?” Democratic Senator Jennifer Boysko said.
Del. Suhas Subramanyam, also a Democrat, said, “I’m concerned right now about the direction this AG’s office is headed, so we do need to explore all of our options.”
8News did reach out to a Republican representing Loudoun County, Del. Dave LaRock, but has not received a response at the time this report was published.
Correction: A previous version of this story stated that Davis’ email was sent the same day that Heaphy was reportedly fired. The Office of the Attorney General later clarified that Heaphy was notified on Jan. 14, nine days before the Jan. 23 email was sent.