LINE OF FIRE: The ever-outspoken Republican Delegate Bob Marshall is calling for an inquiry into the impeachment of Democratic Attorney General Mark Herring, and he’s ruffling more than a few feathers.
By Kathryn Watson | Watchdog.org, Virginia Bureau
ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Outspoken Republican Delegate Bob Marshall has filed two resolutions to launch an impeachment inquiry into Attorney General Mark Herring, and he’s showing no mercy for Republicans who won’t join him.
“After three strikes, Herring is out,” Marshall said on the John Fredericks Radio show Friday.
To Marshall, those three strikes include Herring’s legal battle against the state’s same-sex marriage ban, consideration of same-sex couples to file joint tax returns, and announcement that some illegal immigrant students will be eligible for in-state tuition. Marshall’s basic claim is that Herring is overstepping the constitutional authority granted to him by law.
Michael Kelly, a spokesman for Herring, said Marshall’s push has no standing.
“A small handful of legislators seem to remain oblivious as to how the law works, the role of the attorney general, and the publicly stated opinion of top legal scholars, including the author of Virginia’s modern Constitution, who said Attorney General Herring’s actions in the marriage equality case have been appropriate,” Kelly wrote. “It’s our hope that this political gambit doesn’t distract or take away momentum from reaching agreement on a state budget as soon as possible.”
Marshall, however, isn’t just going after Herring. He has no mercy for Republicans, like Speaker of the House Bill Howell, who won’t join his cause. Howell dismissed the resolutions Marshall filed minutes after they were introduced.
“He reminds me of Nancy Pelosi,” Marshall said, perhaps the lowest blow someone like the very conservative Marshall could offer to Howell. “He doesn’t read the rules either.”
Matthew Moran, communications director for the speaker, said this isn’t the right time or the right recourse to handle Herring’s actions, adding that Howell is “100 percent focused” on rejecting Medicaid expansion and passing a budget.
“The speaker has expressed his concerns regarding the attorney general’s actions, but does not believe impeachment is an appropriate or practical recourse at the moment,” Moran said in a statement.
“Specifically to the question of Delegate Marshall being upset that the speaker has dismissed his idea, I would decline to comment,” Moran told Watchdog.org.
That isn’t sitting well with Marshall.
“Voters shouldn’t stay with Republicans too long if they’re not wiling to defend what they claim they believe,” Marshall said. “… They’re going to have so many more violations and predatory acts by Herring and (Gov. Terry) McAuliffe, this is going to be pansy day at the General Assembly,” Marshall said.
— Kathryn Watson is an investigative reporter for Watchdog.org’s Virginia Bureau, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @kathrynw5.