Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax (D) “has been placed on leave by his law firm as the company looks into allegations of sexual assault. The law firm, San Francisco-based Morrison & Foerster, said it had retained outside attorneys to investigate the allegations against Fairfax. Fairfax had agreed to cooperate with the investigation, the firm said.”
Firm Chairman Larren Nashelsky: “We take the allegations against Justin very seriously. As a firm, we believe that it is important to seriously listen to any allegation of sexual assault or harassment, and to treat all persons making such allegations with respect and sensitivity.” (The Hill)
Two of the three government staffers to … Fairfax and two employees of his political action committee resigned following news Friday of a second sexual assault allegation against him. The PAC employees who left are Dave Mills, who was the executive director of We Rise Together, and Courtney McCargo, a fundraiser for the PAC. Mills is the husband of” state Sen. Jennifer McClellan (D) “who is considered a strong contender to replace Fairfax as lieutenant governor should Fairfax resign. On the government side, Adele McClure, the policy director, resigned, as did Julia Billingsley, the scheduling director.” Two employees remain. (Richmond Times Dispatch)
LEGISLATURE. “Black lawmakers threatened to scuttle the General Assembly’s budget deal Monday … as Virginia’s political scandals began affecting the operation of government.”
Gov. Ralph Northam (D) and state Attorney General Mark R. Herring (D) “are under fire for racist incidents from their past, but they have not been accused of crimes that would rise to the level of impeachment. … Democrats, who had wrestled over the weekend with the impeachment question, spent most of Monday huddling over the state budget. A deal hammered out last week by Republican leaders of the House and Senate, brokered by Northam’s office and endorsed by top Democrats, had seemed to solve an impasse that was preventing Virginia from processing tax returns filed by residents. But members of the Legislative Black Caucus who studied the deal said recent events put it in a new light."
"Members of the Black Caucus, who have called on Northam to step down, said the first test of the governor’s rhetoric is the spending plan — the biggest legislation they face this year. And, they said, it doesn’t measure up.” (Washington Post)
APOLOGY TOUR. “Northam will attend a social justice event at Virginia Union University next week. The governor, who has resisted calls to resign since a racist photo was discovered on his medical school yearbook page Feb. 1, will attend the ‘Faith, Identity & Social Justice’ discussion at the historically black university next week. In a news release, VUU said Northam’s attendance is part of the governor’s ‘apology tour’ in the aftermath of the blackface scandal."
"The event Feb. 21 at VUU is scheduled to start at 11 a.m. in the Allix B. James Chapel in Coburn Hall. Former Richmond Mayor Dwight C. Jones will be the speaker. Last week, Jones attended a VUU event at which Al Sharpton called for Northam and … Herring to resign. … Afterward, Jones said he felt Northam should resign but that Herring, who came forward publicly in a statement, shouldn’t.” Jones: “There’s no excuse for blackface, but he didn’t do the two-act dance that the governor did.” (Richmond Times Dispatch)