Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Gov. McDonnell (R-VA) Says No To Special Session on Ethics

Gov. McDonnell (R-VA)
From the Washington Post
Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II urged Gov. Robert F. McDonnell on Monday to call a special General Assembly session to repair “severe holes” in the state’s ethics laws. 
With McDonnell (R) embroiled in a gifts scandal, the Republican candidate to succeed him said Virginia cannot wait until the legislature reconvenes in January to tighten the state’s lax disclosure requirements. 
“Trust is something that is easy to lose and hard to recover,” Cuccinelli said in an interview with The Washington Post. “I think the longer we let this go, the more difficult it is for Virginians to achieve the level of faith in their government that I think they’re accustomed to. And I think that’s something we can achieve if we move quickly.” 
Cuccinelli’s chief deputy told the governor in a face-to-face meeting Monday that the attorney general would publicly urge him to call the special session. After the meeting, a spokesman for the governor said he sees no need for it.
The governor has the power to call a special session, something the General Assembly cannot do on its own without the approval of a super-majority in both chambers. 
Virginia’s disclosure laws, among the loosest in the nation, allow officeholders to accept gifts of unlimited value as long as they report any worth more than $50. Gifts to immediately family do not have to be disclosed.
The man who has made it very clear that Virginia's disclosure laws need major changes is the man who refuses to bring the state's General Assembly together to make those necessary changes. I wish I could say that I was surprised by McDonnell's decision. Unfortunately I know him better than to be surprised by this. The GOP leaders in Virginia's House of Delegates have also come out against the special session requested by Cuccinelli. McDonnell has gotten thousands of dollars in gifts and failed to disclose them, thus breaking Virginia's disclosure laws. If he ever has intentions of running for higher office, you can bet that this current scandal in which he is embroiled will come back to bite him in the rear. Clearly the man has a problem following the rules, no matter how lax they are.

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