For Immediate Release:
December 1, 2014
Office of the Governor: Brian Coy, (804) 225-4260, Brian.Coy@governor.virginia.gov
Governor McAuliffe Receives Interim Report from the Commission on Integrity and Public Confidence in State Government
Governor Terry McAuliffe today received the interim report from the Commission on Integrity and Public Confidence in State Government and thanked its 10 members for their work to produce recommendations on ethics reforms.
“I greatly appreciate the hard work and intellectual rigor that have gone into the development of this report,” said Governor McAuliffe. “I want to give particular thanks to former U.S. Representative Rick Boucher and former Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling for their leadership in producing thoughtful recommendations to strengthen ethics laws in the commonwealth.”
The report contains recommendations that will strengthen ethics oversight and enforcement, place new restrictions on gifts and loans, reduce the potential for conflicts of interests, and clarify post-public service restrictions. It is available on the commission website at https://governor.virginia.gov/integrity-commission/. Governor McAuliffe will review the report and make final decisions on his legislative initiatives in the coming weeks.
“Many hours have been invested by all members of the commission in the development of these recommendations. By imposing an overall limit on both tangible and intangible gifts to public officials, creating an independent ethics review commission with investigative and enforcement authority, and strengthening Virginia’s conflict of interests prohibitions, these interim recommendations constitute a major step forward in the effort to ensure that in Virginia no interest comes before the public interest,” said Co-chairman Boucher.
“These issues are complex, and they are crucial to regaining the public’s trust in their leaders,” said Co-chairman Bolling. “We have taken our mission seriously, and these recommendations represent our collective effort to provide the Governor with realistic and meaningful reforms.”
Among the significant recommendations developed by the Commission are:
- The establishment of an independent Ethics Review Commission with the authority to issue advice on ethics laws, to implement random audits, to initiative investigations of potential violations of ethics laws and policies, rather than merely react to external complaints, and to issue appropriate sanctions and waivers when necessary and appropriate.
- A $250 cap on both tangible and intangible gifts in aggregate over a calendar year that applies to all givers, not just lobbyists, principals of lobbyists and parties to contracts.
- A clear prohibition against voting by board and commission members on any matter in which a conflict of interests exists.
- An expanded definition of conflicts of interests that broadens the definition of immediate family and includes business associates.
Governor McAuliffe requested recommendations by December 1, 2014, on ethics laws and policies with the goal of pursuing legislation during the Virginia General Assembly’s 2015 session.
The commission has scheduled a third meeting on December 22 to vote on recommendations for redistricting reforms. The commission will continue to meet in 2015 in order to study and make recommendations on other topics, including campaign finance, lobbying laws, the selection and service of judges and other public officials, and gubernatorial terms.
The other members of the commission are former Delegate Viola Baskerville, Chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Sharon Bulova, former President of the University of Virginia John T. Casteen III, President of Hampden-Sydney College Christopher Howard, Vice President for Advancement at George Washington’s Mount Vernon Susan A. Magill, attorney and former Assistant Attorney General Courtney M. Malveaux, former Delegate Joe T. May and former President and CEO of BB&T Scott & Stringfellow, Inc. John Sherman, Jr.
Members of the public are invited to provide comments and read more about the commission’s work on its website, https://governor.virginia.gov/integrity-commission/.