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McAuliffe Urges Cuccinelli to Agree to Gift Ban

June 27, 2013

Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe is sending a letter today to Ken Cuccinelli urging him to agree to McAuliffe’s proposed gift ban.   Given recent news and the amount of time Cuccinelli has spent denying that the gifts he has received caused a conflict of interest, he should understand better than most the need for a strong gift ban for the next Governor.   Cuccinelli’s own experience of “forgetting” to disclose thousands of dollars in gifts from a scandal-plagued CEO embroiled in a legal dispute with Virginia shows that relying on transparency is not enough; real accountability is required.

 

The full letter can be found below:

 

June 27, 2013

Dear Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, 

Virginia voters deserve to know that their elected officials are representing the Commonwealth first.  This means not just transparency, but actual accountability.  As gifts to top elected officials and their families continue to make news in Virginia, I urge you to join me in giving all Virginians the assurance that their next Governor, no matter who he is, will never have even the perception of a conflict of interest stemming from the receipt of gifts.

I urge you to support my proposal to ban gifts over $100 to Virginia’s elected officials.  By enacting an immediate ban on all gifts above $100 to the Commonwealth’s Governor and family, Virginia can aim to avoid conflicts of interest by future officeholders.   

As governor, I would apply the following rules to myself immediately through executive order upon taking office, and I would work 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. I urge you to join me in pledging to do the same.

Under executive order, as governor I would implement the following:

·      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). 

As governor, I would work with both parties in the legislature to implement a legislative gift ban that would 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). 

·      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.

These actions will send a strong message to Virginia’s taxpayers that their elected leaders can never be swayed by gifts.  I hope you will join me and pledge to move beyond simple transparency and support actual accountability in Richmond.

Sincerely,

Terry McAuliffe