Miyares Chairs New PAC Aimed at Electing Conservative Prosecutors

Attorney General Jason Miyares is the honorary chairman of the new PAC Protecting Americans Action Fund (PAAF), which is focused on supporting conservative prosecutors in races across the U.S. The new PAC is operated by GOPAC.

“As we thought about how we continue to have an impact and what at our core is making sure Americans have personal and economic security, because that’s the basis of American success, Americans having personal and economic security, there was a big area missing,” GOPAC Chairman David Avella said in a Thursday press conference. “That was making sure that we had prosecuting attorneys who are willing to enforce the law.”

Avella and Miyares spoke at the press conference at GOPAC headquarters in Arlington, an area represented by Commonwealth’s Attorney Parisa Deghani-Tafti who is one of several progressive northern Virginia prosecutors elected with the help of major spending from Democratic donors.

“You’ve seen the progressive get way out in front of conservatives and Republicans on electing prosecuting attorneys,” Avella said.

Miyares has been critical of progressive prosecutors, but he’s been stymied by the legislature in efforts to expand his authority to intervene in local prosecutions. In Virginia and nationally, there’s a debate over the role of prosecutors, with Republicans arguing that the justice system works best when prosecutors push for the harshest sentences the law allows. Progressive prosecutors, backed in some cases by major Democratic donors and criminal justice reform organizations, argue that prosecution is more than seeking convictions.

“We thought about who would be the best person to lead this. Who’s been in this battle with prosecuting attorneys and knows what it takes to win elections, recent elections. Jason Miyares was an obvious choice,” Avella said.

Last week, Miyares sparred with another northern Virginia prosecutor, Fairfax Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano, over someone now alleged to have committed serial murders after receiving what Miyares says was a too-lenient sentence for previous offenses. Miyares referred to that in his Thursday speech.

“We have fellow Virginians, fellow Americans who are no longer with us or have been grievously wounded because a serial killer with an extensive criminal record was let back out on the street, and this is policy. I mean, I have obtained an internal memo from that office that simply says, where possible try to get them out on mandatory minimums,” the attorney general said.

He said GOPAC, through PAAF, would elect common-sense prosecutors.

“They want to prosecute violent criminals and hold these individuals accountable that have created such skyrocketing crime rates in so many areas,” Miyares said.

In a Twitter statement, Deghani-Tafti called the press conference political theater.

“Through the campaign & since his election, the AG targeted, often by name, Commonwealth’s Attorneys in NOVA, whose counties actually are the safest & have the lowest crime rates of any large jurisdictions in Virginia and country. This is particularly true of my jurisdiction,” Deghani-Tafti said. “In 2021, Arlington County and the City of Falls Church recorded zero homicides under our jurisdiction. In fact, from mid-September 2020 until mid-February 2022, 16 months, Arlington and the City of Falls Church did not have a single homicide. Zero. Not a typo. Zero.”

In that spirit, I hope the AG took time to enjoy our great restaurants & beautiful walking trails, & I extend him a personal invitation to discuss how in just 2 years our team has become a model for how to run a criminal justice system that provides safety & justice for all,” she concluded.

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Eric Burk is a reporter at The Virginia Star and The Star News Network.  Email tips to [email protected]

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