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McAuliffe Proposes Gift Ban for Virginia Elected Officials; Will Enforce It For Himself Even If Legislature Does Not Act

April 25, 2013

Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe today announced a proposal for expanded rules regarding gifts for Virginia’s elected officials. McAuliffe’s proposal encourages greater government transparency and aims to avoid conflicts by future officeholders by placing an immediate ban on the Commonwealth’s Governor and his or her family from accepting gifts above $100.

“Virginia taxpayers deserve to know that their elected officials are representing the Commonwealth first,” McAuliffe said. “I’m committed to enacting these common-sense rules via executive order when I am elected and working with the General Assembly to make them permanent and cover members of the legislature.”

McAuliffe will apply rules immediately to himself through executive order upon taking office.

He also committed to working with the General Assembly to make these rules law in order to ensure a bipartisan, permanent solution that applies to members of the General Assembly.

Below are further details about McAuliffe’s gift ban executive order:

All gifts valued above $100, singly or in aggregate over the course of one calendar year from one source –made to the Governor, the Governor’s spouse, and any children still residing in the household–should be banned, with the exception of intra-family gifts.

All registered lobbyists, principals who have retained registered lobbyists, or all those having business before the Commonwealth or involvement in active procurement will be banned from making any gifts to the Governor, the Governor’s spouse, and any children still residing in the household (excluding informational materials or other items under $50 in value that would assist these officials or their staff in the performance of their duties).

Below are outlines of McAuliffe’s gift ban legislative proposal. McAuliffe would work with both parties in the legislature to provide additional specificity, define terms and plan implementation:

All gifts valued above $100, singly or in aggregate over the course of one year–made to the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, or General Assembly member (including the spouse and any children still residing in the household of the official) –should be banned, with the exception of intra-family gifts.

All registered lobbyists, principals who have retained registered lobbyists, or all those having business before the Commonwealth or involvement in active procurement will be banned from making any gifts to the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, General Assembly Members or the immediate families of those officials (excluding informational materials or other items under $50 in value that would assist these officials or their staff in the performance of their duties).

Additionally, in the legislative proposal there would be enhanced reporting requirements:

Any gifts to non-resident family from people or entities with interests before the Commonwealth, valued above $500 to the Governor’s, Lieutenant Governor’s, Attorney General’s, or General Assembly members’ immediate family not residing in the household should be disclosed on annual Statement of Economic Interests.   In this instance non-resident family is defined as the elected official’s parents, adult and minor children not residing in the household, and siblings. Interests before the Commonwealth will be defined via legislative process but should include individuals with Virginia contracts, Virginia lobbying, or legal action involving the Commonwealth.