There is a revolving door theme in today’s posts. We saw yesterday how Communications Commissioner Meredith Baker was made senior vice president of Comcast-NBC, Phillip A. Hamilton, a former Republican member of the Virginia House of Delegates, has been convicted of leveraging his office to secure a paying position with Old Dominion University. He now will be sentenced for federal program bribery and extortion under color of official right.
Hamilton is accused of using his power over the budget to push through a bill to give $500,000 a year to a center at the university in exchange for being made director of the program. He was paid $40,000 in salary.
The case involved allegations that Hamilton tried to cover-up the connection to the Center for Teacher Quality and Educational Leadership, including hiding the fact that he was director of the center when asked by investigators.
He now faces 10 years in prison on the bribery charge and up to 20 years for the extortion charge.
What is a bit unnerving is that the Old Dominion employees involved will not be charged. Both key ODU officials were given immunity. It is a bit troubling to see everyone else walk in such a sordid affair. As an academic, I find the case particularly distasteful.
Hamilton served in the Virginia House of Delegates from 1988-2010. He still received over 45% of the vote when he was defeated by Robin Abbott.