Manassas, VA - Today, I have introduced two resolutions in the Virginia House of Delegates directing the two Standing Committees of that body with jurisdiction over such matters to make inquiry into whether certain actions of Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring constitute impeachable offenses under Article IV, Section 17 of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Virginia. I take this step reluctantly, fully mindful of the seriousness of this action. Impeachment is one of the most serious powers conferred upon the House of Delegates. However, Mr. Herring has ignored all requests to conform his actions to Virginia's Constitution and our statutes, as well as engaging in a series of deliberate acts which force the filing of these resolutions.
Mr. Herring's duties as Attorney General are set out in Article V, Section 15 of the Constitution of Virginia and various statutes. And, as a member of the Virginia State Bar, Mr. Herring is obligated to fulfill the responsibilities of an attorney at law for the Commonwealth of Virginia as set out in the Virginia Rules of Professional Conduct. He has violated his duties and responsibilities under both.
Mr. Herring has put his own political and personal views ahead of his duties and responsibilities as Attorney General.
He has claimed powers that neither the Constitution nor the laws of Virginia bestow upon the office of Attorney General.
He has failed to carry out the duties the General Assembly has required of him.
He has unilaterally rejected the sovereign will of the people of Virginia as expressed by their approval of an Amendment to the Constitution.
He has asked that all complaints filed against him with the Virginia State Bar be summarily dismissed.
He has not presented a sufficient and meritorious explanation to justify his acts and omissions.
He has disregarded requests from members of the General Assembly to conform his behavior to the law of the Commonwealth.
As a senior member of the Virginia House of Delegates, I have come to the conclusion that Mr. Herring's actions constitute impeachable offenses, committed against the people of Virginia.
These acts and omissions have included the following matters:
- As an attorney licensed in the Commonwealth of Virginia, Mr. Herring is obligated to follow the Virginia Code of Professional Conduct in his service to his client, the Commonwealth of Virginia. He has betrayed those responsibilities by taking legal positions in court at variance with the authorized position of his client. And he has intentionally engaged in conduct which is prejudicial and damaging to the legal position of the Commonwealth of Virginia in federal court.
- As Attorney General, Mr. Herring has no law making authority, and yet has usurped legislative authority to confer tuition benefits upon classes of persons he favors without approval of the General Assembly, and further, he has erroneously directed the State Council of Higher Education to comply with his advice rather than the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia.
- Mr. Herring has publicly announced that he is now using the Office of Attorney General in an effort to invalidate the tax laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia by allowing persons not authorized to file joint tax returns to file such returns, to the financial injury of the Commonwealth.
Based on the violations discussed above, I have filed these resolutions to obtain the judgment of the House of Delegates on whether Mr. Herring’s behavior on these serious matters reaches the level to warrant impeachment. It is the responsibility of the House of Delegates to investigate this matter, and determine whether, in the opinion of that body, Mr. Herring meets the constitutional standard of "offending against the Commonwealth by malfeasance in office, corruption, neglect of duty, or other high crime or misdemeanor.... "
Accordingly, I have introduced two House Impeachment Inquiry Resolutions (see attached) pursuant to House Resolution 502 (2014 Special Session I) which states that no bill or resolution shall be introduced without unanimous consent except "joint resolutions or resolutions affecting the rules of procedure or schedule of business of the General Assembly or any of its committees." Since my resolutions affect the schedules of standing committees, they may properly be introduced.