In the past month, Virginia’s new Republican Attorney General Jason Miyares has fired over 30 lawyers and other staffers, a concerning trend worth investigating. Chief investigative counsel for the House Select Committee on the Jan. 6 insurrection Timothy Heaphy was fired from his position at the University of Virginia by Miyares, only days after Miyares took office. While Miyares said that the firing was not because of Heaphy’s work for the committee, the purging of Heaphy could be seen as an act of political retribution. In addition to Heaphy, Miyares has terminated 17 attorneys and 13 other staff members, including Brian Walther, counsel for George Mason University.
To add to the AG office’s disarray, on Feb. 10, deputy Attorney General Monique Miles resigned after praising the Jan. 6 rioters and claiming that Trump won the election, while promoting conspiracies about voter fraud and election interference. In her role in the Attorney General’s office, Miles was directly involved in Virginia’s election-related litigation and would give legal advice to the Department of Elections and Board of Elections — a concerning role for someone who has openly espoused voting misinformation and supported the subversion of democracy.
CREW is requesting all records relating to Miyares’ decision to terminate Heaphy from his position as a top lawyer at UVA, as well as records relating to Miyares’ authority to fire, discipline, or remove employees of the Attorney General’s office who are employed at other institutions. CREW also requests records of the termination of the other 30 employees, including those regarding the final decision or rationale. Finally, CREW requests all records relating to Miles’ social media comments concerning the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.
The release of these records is vital to understand any bias in the Virginia Attorney General’s office in terms of staffing decisions, as well as the office’s influence in the termination of employees at other public institutions, such as public universities. If the Virginia Attorney General is terminating employees for involvement in holding insurrectionists accountable or for other partisan reasons, the public deserves to know.