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Letter to the Editor: Refrain from Judgment

— Two weeks ago, my letter was published in the Gazette criticizing Del. Scott Surovell (D-44) for the posting on his blog in which he called upon Gov. Robert McDonnell to resign in light of the allegations concerning gifts he received from the CEO of a Virginia company. In my letter, I took no position concerning the morality of the situation, only concentrating on the fact that the investigation was not complete and on the inference that Delegate Surovell's comments were politically partisan in nature.

In last week's Gazette, Peter Fraser criticized my letter pointing out that "The gifting problem for Governor McDonnell is as much a moral and ethical issue as it is legal." To set the record straight, I agree with Mr. Fraser. However, I still maintain that politician Surovell should have withheld comment until the investigation is complete.

Subsequent to my letter, Governor McDonnell repaid loans and returned gifts involved in this controversy.

On July 30, 2013, Virginia's two U.S. senators (both former Virginia governors) refused to comment on the situation. Sen. Mark Warner stated: "I'm withholding all comments until all the facts come out." Sen. Tim Kaine said: "I generally feel like the right thing for a governor to do is not overly comment on issues about the successor. We don't look over each other's shoulders." Clearly, they concur with my view that politicians should not publicly comment on the issue of gifts given to Governor McDonnell until the investigation is complete. If that posture is good enough for these former governors and sitting U.S. senators, it ought to be good enough for Delegate Surovell and Mr. Fraser.

H. Jay Spiegel

Mount Vernon