Governor Bob McDonnell and his family are coming under fire for accepting gifts from a wealthy Virginia businessman, and it's turning into the latest political talking point in the race for Governor.
Last week, Democrat Terry McAuliffe used the Star Scientific case as a jumping-off point to suggest stricter gift rules for Virginia lawmakers. His proposal would bar any gifts of more than $100.
Tuesday McAuliffe proposed an independent ethics commission to hold elected leaders accountable.
In response, a spokeswoman for Republican candidate Ken Cuccinelli said, in part, "Ken Cuccinelli has taken numerous steps toward a more ethical and transparent government...Virginians don't need an ethics lesson from Terry McAuliffe."
Office of Terry McAuliffe MEDIA RELEASE
McAuliffe Proposes Formation of Independent Ethics Commission to Hold Elected Officials Accountable
In an effort to ensure that Virginians are represented with integrity, Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe is proposing the creation of an Independent Ethics Commission to oversee and enforce strong ethical standards on Virginia elected officials and their staff. Last week, McAuliffe proposed a gift ban on elected officials that he would enforce on himself through an executive order even if the General Assembly doesn't act.
"Working with the General Assembly, during the beginning of my administration, I will propose legislation to tighten ethics standards for all elected officials and create an Independent Ethics Commission to oversee and enforce them," said McAuliffe "These standards will continue and expand Virginia's tradition of full disclosure while incorporating limits on personal gifts and other activity that might create an appearance of impropriety on the part of our leaders. Virginians deserve better than to have their leaders just say 'trust me' while having no real accountability."
This commission would consist of 8 members:
2 appointed by the Governor, with at least one from the opposing party
2 members of the opposing party appointed by the Speaker of the House of Delegates
2 members of the opposing party appointed by the Senate Majority Leader
2 appointed by the Chief Justice of the Virginia Supreme Court, with each being a retired judge, active member of the bar, or law professor
The Commission would have a small professional staff and would be empowered to investigate complaints or discrepancies in disclosure reports and refer violations of Virginia's ethics laws and regulations to the relevant disciplinary body. They would ideally also assume some of the staff and duties currently held by the Secretary of the Commonwealth regarding lobbyist disclosures and activity. New expenses will be funded through lobbyist registration fees.
Office of Ken Cuccinelli STATEMENT
As Attorney General, Ken Cuccinelli has taken numerous steps toward a more ethical and transparent government, including setting up the Inspector General's office to investigate fraud, waste and abuse and putting the Office of the Attorney General's budget online for public view. Virginians don't need an ethics lesson from Terry McAuliffe considering he played a major role in a contribution swap scheme with the Teamsters that resulted in four convictions and was deposed about his role in selling access to the Lincoln Bedroom. This is just another example of Terry McAuliffe having no shame and attempting to insult the intelligence of Virginia voters.
McAuliffe Proposes Ethics Commission to Oversee Elected OfficialsMore>>
Ed joined the NBC29 news team in May, 2011. A Charlotte, NC, native, he graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with degrees in journalism and political science.Full Story
Ed joined the NBC29 news team in May, 2011. A Charlotte, NC, native, he graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with degrees in journalism and political science. Email/Follow on Twitter/ Full Story
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