Cuccinelli donates controversial gifts' value to charity


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"In recent days, I've managed to arrange to send a check of over $18,000 to a Richmond-based charity. I did this to resolve any questions surrounding the matter concerning Star Scientific. I made the decision to send the check because it is the right thing to do, plain and simple," Cuccinelli said in the video, released Tuesday.

Cuccinelli had long delayed returning the donation, arguing that much of it included gifts like airline tickets, food and free nutritional supplements that would be hard to return. 

In early August, Cuccinelli said he'd like to cut a check to fix the problem, but suggested he needed time to gather the funds.

"This is something that I would have liked to have done sooner, but like most Virginians, writing a check for more than $18,000 is not a simple matter for my family and me.  It's taken a while to get our funds together," he said in the video.

"For those who've been disappointed in this situation or how I've handled it, I apologize.  It's been a humbling set of lessons for me. In the remaining weeks of this campaign, I intend to focus my campaign on what I have done and what I intend to do for the people of Virginia."

Cuccinelli has trailed Democrat Terry McAuliffe in most recent polling, and many believe the questions surrounding the gifts have hampered his candidacy.

McAuliffe's campaign argued the move is not enough.

"Ken Cuccinelli has led the most scandal-plagued Attorney General's office in recent memory — his tenure defined by scandal and conflicts that embarrass Virginia like Star Scientific, Bobby Thompson and helping out-of-state energy companies in their battle against Virginia landowners," said McAuliffe spokesperson Josh Schwerin. 

"Cuccinelli’s pattern of ethical behavior is always the same: get caught in scandals, do nothing for months, and then buckle to pressure for his own political reasons. 

Cuccinelli's actions today are a reminder that he failed to seriously pursue Star Scientific for the $1.7 million they owed in back taxes at the same time that he was taking lavish gifts, luxury vacations and extravagant meals from the company’s CEO."

Watch Cuccinelli's video: