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McAuliffe Proposes Formation of Independent Ethics Commission to Hold Elected Officials Accountable
April 30, 2013
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.