Free Lance-Star reporter Chelyen Davis covers Virginia government.
Cantor pushes Powell on Bar complaint
House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor, R-7th, says his Democratic challenger should be more forthcoming about a legal complaint.
Democrat Wayne Powell, an attorney, is the subject of a professional misconduct complaint with the Virginia State Bar over his representation of six employees of the Christian Broadcasting Network in 2009. Those workers filed worker’s compensation claims and civil suits against CBN, an engineering firm and a roofing company, saying they’d suffered illness as a result of some materials used in roofing work at their workplace.
The bar complaint alleges that Powell had prepared civil suits against the engineering firm and roofing company and questioned workers there before having the suits served, and misled those workers about whether their companies were the subjects of lawsuits.
A three-person subcommittee of the bar investigated the issue and decided in July to pass it on to the Virginia State Bar disciplinary board. The Virginia Supreme Court will appoint three judges to hear the matter at a later date.
Powell says the complaint is “baseless” and politically motivated, as it was filed by a former Republican congressional staffer just months after Powell declared his candidacy against Cantor.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported on the complaint last week. On Monday, the Cantor campaign sent out a press release saying the complaint “raises serious questions about Wayne Powell’s honesty, integrity, and fitness to serve in Congress” and demanding that Powell release any documents related to the case.
“Wayne Powell must fully disclose everything to voters. He can’t hide behind the pending court action. The voters have a right to know,” said the statement.
Powell’s emailed statement in full is below:
“This is a totally baseless complaint in a case where I represented six workers of the Christian Broadcasting Network in the course of workers’ compensation and other litigation. This same complaint was presented in a motion and thrown out by the judge.”
“I believe this is politically motivated based on the timing of the complaint and the fact that the complaining attorney is a former Republican Congressional staffer. In the end, I successfully resolved this case through mediation.”
Cantor and Powell are due to debate next Monday at Carmax in Richmond, at an event sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce.