Tobacco commission grants go to family connections

ALAN SUDERMAN
Associated Press

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A review by The Associated Press has found that a Virginia commission that invests money from a national tobacco settlement gave $21 million to an economic development group and a telephone cooperative run by family members of the commission’s powerful chairman.

The grants are not illegal, but they are part of a rocky history of questionable spending of the Virginia Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission. The commission controls about $600 million in cash and investments.

The commission’s chairman is Terry Kilgore, a Republican state legislator from a powerful political family. He says his family relationships have not influenced the commission’s spending.

The commission has long been under scrutiny from various state officials and is part of an FBI investigation into the resignation of a Democratic state senator.

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