Ken Cuccinelli's financial ties to Star Scientific scrutinized

Both Cuccinelli and McDonnell have had their ties to Star Scientific scrutinized. Photo: Associated Press

While the scrutiny of Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell continues over his ties to a pharmaceutical company, the New York Times is looking into Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's financial ties to Star Scientific as well.

Without making any allegations of insider trading or financial malfeasance, the Times pointed out Tuesday that the Republican hopeful for governor in 2014 made curiously timed buys and sells of Star Scientific stock.

Both McDonnell and Cuccinelli have been criticized for their ties to the company, which has provided gifts, cash and trips to both the governor, his family and Cuccinelli.

The Times says that Cuccinelli's purchases and sales of Star Scientific stock coincide with the rollout of certain products, vacations with Star Scientific's CEO and the stock reaching its 52-week high.

In his defense, Cuccinelli says that he never discussed the company's stock with its CEO, Jonnie Williams, and that all of his stock movement is based on his own investment analysis.

At a campaign appearance in Alexandria last week, Cuccinelli attempted to put the Star Scientific saga on the backburner, saying that he simply neglected to report gifts he received from Williams and the company.

"The circumstances that you all are asking about, they matter now to one person but they aren’t about Virginia policy acceptance, so far as we obviously need to tighten up our gift policies and our transparency," Cuccinelli said.

In late April, McDonnell said that Star Scientific never received preferential treatment from state officials, despite the company providing hundreds of thousands of dollars in contributions and gifts.