Newly released emails show the interim director of the Virginia tobacco commission was uneasy about the timing of a potential job offer to former Democratic State Senator Phil Puckett, whose recent resignation has been investigated by the FBI. The emails were obtained by the Associated Press and show the GOP controlled commission appeared to create a position solely for Puckett and even solicited his input in crafting the job description.
Puckett resigned from the Senate June 9th, giving Republicans control of the upper chamber days before a Medicaid showdown in the General Assembly. It was rumored Puckett had cut a deal, and federal prosecutors have subpoenaed commission records that involve “the offer of anything of value,” to Puckett. Word that Puckett planned to resign and was in line for a high-level job at the tobacco commission leaked to the public a day before Puckett's official resignation.
The news caused an uproar, with some Democrats accusing Puckett and Commission Chairman Terry Kilgore of making a back-room deal. He subsequently withdrew his name from the tobacco commission job, and denied it. The tobacco commission emails were released yesterday in response to a public records request.