Tim Heaphy, the chief investigative counsel for the House committee investigating the Capitol riot, was dismissed from his role as counsel at the University of Virginia by the state's new Republican attorney general, Jason Miyares, Business Insider has reported.
Democrats accused Miyares, who took office on Jan. 15, of political payback for Heaphy’s position on the Jan. 6 committee. Heaphy, a Democrat, had taken leave from his university position in order to work on the House committee, Newsweek reported.
But Victoria LaCivita, communications director for Miyares, said the decision to fire Heaphy had "nothing to do" with his work on the committee, telling The Washington Post that he was a "controversial" hire and that "our decision was made after reviewing the legal decisions made over the last couple of years."
She added that “it is common practice for an incoming administration to appoint new staff that share the philosophy and legal approach of the attorney general.”
Virginia State Sen. Scott Surovell, a Democrat, dismissed those claims, telling the Post that "no attorney general has treated these positions as political."
He added to The New York Times that "this is purely payback for Jan. 6 — there is no other reason that makes any sense."
University spokesperson Brian Coy expressed regret over seeing Heaphy go, telling The Cavalier Daily in a statement that “university leaders are grateful to Tim for his outstanding service to our community and disappointed to see it come to an end.”
Heaphy said that “while I’m disappointed that my time as University counsel has come to an end, I’m confident that the office will continue to provide quality service as the university continues to thrive in the days to come.”
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