Va. Delegate and College alumni resigns amid conflict

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November 17, 2009

3:17 AM

Virginia House of Delegates member Philip Hamilton ’85 (R-93rd) resigned Monday, ending a 21-year career recently clouded by state and federal investigation.

Hamilton, who represented the 93rd House District, which consists of James City County and Newport News, was voted out of office in the recent election against Democrat Robin Abbott J.D. ’01.

In a letter dated Nov. 10 to the House of Delegates clerk Bruce Jamerson, Hamilton said he was resigning his post in what he considered to be “the most distinguished legislative body in the world.”

The delegate pursued a position at Old Dominion University in August 2006, a few months before he filed legislation to create a teaching center at the university. He eventually accepted the position at ODU. He was reported to have directed hundreds of thousands of dollars toward the university while he was a delegate. ODU later hired Hamilton for $40,000 a year.

He quit Aug. 20, 2009 after the Daily Press obtained incriminating e-mails in which he used legislative influence to build the teaching center. Since the correspondence occurred while Hamilton was pursuing a position at the university, the ethics of his actions have been called into question.

Hamilton’s involvement became an issue in the statewide campaigns this fall. Virginia’s House Speaker William Howell (R-28th) later called for a state ethics panel inquiry into Hamilton’s actions

By law, the state ethics panel should conclude its work within 120 days of receiving a complaint.

The deadline will arrive in late December. Since Hamilton’s resignation ends his status as an active legislator, however, he may no longer be subject to review.

“To that extent, I suspect, but do not know, that their work is probably cut off,” Attorney General-elect Ken Cuccinelli told the Virginian-Pilot.

The delegate still remains under investigation by a federal grand jury.

Hamilton was the senior Republican delegate on the budget-writing House Appropriations Committee. Had he won the election Nov. 3, he would have been heading into his 12th term.

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