Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Roanoke Times: "Where did Tim Kaine go?"

The Roanoke newspaper has picked up on the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request that was filed by the Republican Party of Virginia requesting Democrat Gov. Tim Kaine's travel records since becoming DNC chairman.

In Where did Gov. Kaine go, the Roanoke Times opined:
When Gov. Tim Kaine started moonlighting as chairman of the Democratic National Committee, he promised his night job would not hinder his day job in Richmond. He should prove it by releasing travel records and information about who is footing the bill for his trips.
It sounds as if the Kaine administration will refuse on two points that are outlined in the editorial.

Republican Party of Virginia's press release about the FOIA was released June 22, 2009:
Republican Party of Virginia Chairman Pat Mullins today congratulated Tim Kaine for creating what appears to be the first ever two-day work week in any state in America. Facing criticism for his extensive, yet secret, travel schedule as chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Kaine explained through a spokeswoman that he conducts national party business mostly on the weekends. Four of the six events highlighted by Virginia Republicans occurred on Wednesday, Thursday or Friday.

"Even the governor is allowed to have a little fun on the weekends," said Kaine spokeswoman Lynda Tran (Richmond Times-Dispatch, June 20, 2009).

On Friday last week, the Republican Party of Virginia unveiled an Internet video spotlighting Kaine’s travel schedule and his reluctance to disclose to Virginia citizens where he is at any given moment.

“It is a major accomplishment for Tim Kaine to have enacted the two-day work week,” Mullins said. “Until now, most Virginians believed that the weekend started on Friday afternoon. Through Tim Kaine’s leadership, we now know that the weekend can start as soon as midday on Wednesday. I’m sure this will be heartening to the 20-percent of Martinsville residents that are currently out of work.”

An accounting of Kaine’s travel as reported by various news outlets around the country revealed only six disclosed destinations. They are as follows:

· May 2 – Durham, NC – Saturday
· May 8 – Ft. Lauderdale, FL – Friday
· May 20 – Dallas, TX – Wednesday
· May 30 – Miami, FL – Saturday
· June 11 – Chicago, IL – Thursday
· June 19 – Kansas City, MO – Friday

“Kaine said he will do the DNC job on personal time, evenings and weekends,” reported the Associated Press on January 6, 2009 (“Kaine Says He’ll Limit Time Spent As Party Leader”). "I think it will be an electronic gig anyway, using e-mail and phone and others,” Kaine added.

“Apparently, part of the ‘electronic’ portion of Tim Kaine’s ‘gig’ at the DNC involves walking around the pool at the $800 per night Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami,” Mullins said. “That’s good work, if you can get it.

“It’s clear he has not limited his political job to weekends, and we really want to know when he is not working for Virginia, like he was elected to do,” Mullins said. “Where I come from, Wednesday is not the weekend or personal time – especially if you’re the elected Governor of Virginia.”

On Friday, June 19, 2009, Mullins submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the governor’s office, seeking information pertaining to the daily schedule of the governor dating back to January 2009, when he became chairman of the DNC. It further requests records pertaining to expenses related to the use of the State Police Executive Protection Unit assigned to guard the governor's safety.

Under Virginia's FOIA law, the governor's office has five working days to respond or can obtain an additional seven days if extra time is needed to compile the requested information. The office can comply completely with the request, issue a partial collection of documents while explaining what legal exemptions allow them to omit others, or deny the request completely while explaining which legal exemptions allow them to refuse the request.


edgycater said...

Gee, I wonder why the mainstream media is so concerned about the whereabouts of South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, but not concerned with DNC Chair/Governor Tim Kaine.

Could it be that Kaine is a Democrat and Sanford is a Patriot?

P.S. I am posting a link to your post on my blog. Good stuff!

Lynn R. Mitchell said...

Good question, Edycater. Pat Mullins is trying to make the press pay more attention to Kaine's absentee governing but I was surprised to see the Roanoke Times (definitely not a conservative newspaper) pick up on it. Thanks for the link.