Tim Kaine, Hillary Clinton’s choice for vice-presidential running mate, has come under scrutiny for gifts he received during both his time as lieutenant governor and the four years he served as governor of Virginia. Contrary to the squeaky clean image his supporters present, the United States senator has a history of accepting corporate gifts in exchange for favors.
Andrew P. Miller, former Democratic attorney general in Virginia notes that it would be naive to think a pharmaceutical company like Teva was not seeking access to the governor with the size of gifts it gave directly to him.
Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump, has wasted no time branding Kaine as “corrupt Kaine”. Speaking on NBC’s “Meet the Press” he said, “I think to me it is a big problem.” Trump said that Kaine took $160,000 of gifts in suits, trips, and various personal things and then said they weren’t really gifts.
The reports of Kaine’s acceptance of gifts are nothing new with such coming out since his time in the governor’s office. However, the New York Times recent news article on Kaine’s archival email traffic showed he received gifts during the time he and his staff were considering official government requests from the pharmaceutical giant and others during his time as governor.
E-mails record shows that executives of Barr Pharmaceuticals requested that then Governor Kaine intervene with the Food and Drug Administration on its behalf as early as August of 2006. A gift of $12,000 came just days before Kaine flew to Aspen for a meeting of the Democratic Governors Association.
Barr Pharmaceuticals provided at least two flights to Kaine while he was governor, including the trip to Aspen trip and another to Kansas in 2008 to meet with a political action committee tied to Mr. Kaine. The unearthed emails show that the governor’s aides received a request from Barr’s chief executive for time with the governor to discuss pending legislation. Those records show that the plane ride to Kansas was specifically given as a courtesy of Barr.
Senator Kaine’s representatives defended his use of such favors saying that use of a private aircraft saved the state money.
Records show that a trip paid for by Dominion in April 2006 allowed Mr. Kaine to attend a funeral for a former state legislator and the N.C.A.A. basketball tournament in Indianapolis.
Ironically, after he was elected to the U.S. Senate, Kaine pushed for the Virginia legislature to strengthen state ethics laws.