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Kaine’s Terabyte of E-Mail Data Reveals Little Dirt and Office Politics



The Library of Virginia long has collected the records left behind by governors. Its first batch, from Patrick Henry, came on parchment. Gov. Tim Kaine, in office from 2002-2006, left behind a terabyte — including 229 email inboxes containing 1.3 million emails. Want a peek? The library recently released 66,000 of the emails online.

In a news release, the library says: “Whether formulating a strategy to address the future of Fort Monroe, dealing with business closures and relocations, planning for weather-related disasters, garnering legislative approval for the governor’s legislative priorities, or weighing in on drafts of State of the Commonwealth addresses, the emails reveal the behind-the-scenes strategizing and communication among the governor and his senior staff.”


But who cares about legislative strategizing? The people want dirt. Where’s the swearing, gossip and vented frustration? As far as we can tell, Kaine’s administration had the same boring problems as any other office.

Among them: Chief of Staff Bill Leighty teased state superintendent of public instruction, Jo Lynne DeMary, about an auto-redial incident in which he heard her scheduling a mani-pedi.

Deputy Chief of Staff Wayne Turnage exchanged passive-aggressive emails with Leighty over the defense of an unpopular Blackberry policy.

Communications Director Delacey Skinner seemed to have the most trouble. She couldn’t keep an impending visit from Queen Elizabeth II secret from Times-Dispatch reporter and columnist Jeff Schapiro. At one point she mulled over a warning system for when he was lurking.

Ah, the pesky media. In May 2006, on the eve of an impending Virginian-Pilot article about Oceana Naval Air Station’s lack of compliance with federal requirements to keep the base open, Press Secretary Kevin Hall sent Skinner a heads up:

“Pilot will report tomorrow from DC that Navy and Pentagon sources confirm the Inspector General has determined that Virginia and Virginia Beach have NOT complied with the BRAC order. I declined comment.”

Skinner’s response was most illuminating for its brevity: “Fuck.”

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