Saturday, August 1, 2009

Delegate Hamilton and Old Dominion University: Something don’t smell quite right

The Virginian Pilot reported earlier this week that Newport News Republican Delegate, Phillip Hamilton, a 20 year incumbent and a senior member of the House of Delegates Appropriations Committee, received a $40,000 contract in 2007 from Old Dominion University to coordinate the University’s Center for Teacher Quality and Educational Leadership.

Hamilton was awarded the contract after he sponsored an amendment that provided the funding for the center. Since that time, the center has been awarded $500,000 every year since 2007. Yesterday, Old Dominion University President John Broderick said that after a review of Delegate Hamilton’s contract that “Everything that we looked at indicates there’s no conflict here.” Delegate Hamilton says that he wasn’t on the payroll of ODU when the money was added to the state’s budget.

This still doesn’t smell right. So, let me get this straight. Delegate Hamilton introduces an amendment to the state’s budget in 2007 that benefits ODU’s Center for Teacher Quality and Educational Leadership. Delegate Hamilton gets a $40,000 contract from the money he got for the Center. The Center gets $500,000 annually from the state and Delegate Hamilton continues to benefit financially from that state appropriation through his $40,000 contract with ODU. So, I guess neither Delegate Hamilton nor ODU see how improper this appears. No quid pro quo here, right?

By the way, Delegate Hamilton is in a hotly contested race in the 93rd House of Delegates District against Newport News Attorney Robin Abbott. Hamilton has been a member of the Virginia House of Delegates since 1988.

I always find it hard to believe any elected official that rails against the size of government and the taxes needed for the state to function, and they belly up to the big government trough for their piece of the pie.

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