Tobacco commission grant above recommended amount

WLNI-MRICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ The Virginia tobacco commission gave away millions of dollars more than what commission staff calculated was necessary to help a politically connected energy company. Records obtained by The Associated Press show that commission staffers told the state’s inspector general that the first of three $10 million installments should have only been $6.5 million based on staff calculations. The grants went to help build a pipeline that will fuel a new Dominion power plant in Brunswick County. Commission staff told the inspector general’s office that they felt pressured by Gov. Bob McDonnell’s office, but the inspector general’s office say it did not find evidence to support those allegations. Lawyers for the former governor say commission members acted independently and approved funding at a level they felt was appropriate.

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