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Virginia Elections 2013: Gift Bans for Public Officials?

Both major party candidates for Virginia governor support revising gift laws, but Terry McAuliffe's camp is pushing Ken Cuccinelli to go one step further.

Ken Cuccinelli (right) and Terry McAuliffe (left), Virginia's two candidates for governor. Patch File Photo
Ken Cuccinelli (right) and Terry McAuliffe (left), Virginia's two candidates for governor. Patch File Photo

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell made headlines this spring after a donor gave McDonnell’s daughter a $15,000 gift towards her wedding. 

McDonnell said he didn’t disclose the gift because it was his for daughter, not him, and accordingly, Virginia law doesn't hold him to that standard. But as Virginia governor's race heats up this summer, the issue is coming back into focus as another issue on which the two major party candidates disagree.

Attorney General and GOP candidate Ken Cuccinelli released a proposal following McDonnell's news in April that would impose a mandatory 10-day reporting period for gifts exceeding $500 for any state official seeking office. It would also eliminate the family loophole.

Terry McAuliffe proposed his own law a day earlier that would ban Virginia’s governor or members of his or her family from accepting gifts of more than $100, claiming he would immediately enact the ban on himself if he were to take office.

This week, Democrats are calling on Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, the Republican nominee for governor, to follow suit.

State Sens. Mark Herring (D-Loudoun) and Ralph Northam (D-Norfolk), Democratic candidates for attorney general and lieutenant governor, said they too would follow the ban, even if it failed to become law.

"I am joining Terry McAuliffe's pledge to apply the gift ban to myself, even if the legislature doesn't act,” Herring said. “That will provide guaranteed accountability. Ken Cuccinelli should be willing to hold himself to the same high standard."

Anna Nix, press secretary for Cuccinelli’s campaign, said Democrats were bringing up old news.

“Terry McAuliffe has zero credibility when proposing stricter gift laws considering he wrote in his autobiography, ‘It’s a lot easier to raise money for a governor.  They have all kinds of business to hand out, road contracts, construction jobs, you name it,’” Nix said in a statement. “Since his days in the state senate and as Attorney General, Ken Cuccinelli has made government and ethical transparency a top priority and he will continue this fight as the Commonwealth’s next governor.”

McAuliffe has been hounding Cuccinelli on the gift ban for the last two months, just as Cuccinelli has been hounding him to accept a series of debates across the Commonwealth. Cuccinelli has also urged McAuliffe to release his tax returns and more details about his relationship with GreenTech, a car company he used to lead.

TheRepublican July 07, 2013 at 05:39 AM
This is nothing more than proof of the vast socialist conspiracy by the Democrats, that should more properly be called the socialist democrats to try and cut down Cuccinelli. The job creators need to be able to give insight to leaders because they know more than the leaders do. They know more than everyone else because they're rich. Thus, it makes sense for them to be dictating everything to politicians that are public servants, because what they know can be call guidance for all the right thinking politicians. This is called trikle down economics. The way to run the country is to let the the job creators give rewards to politicians that behave properly. It's kind of like performing seals. You throw a performing seals a fish and the performing seal will repeat his actions over and over again, just to get that fish. It's called incentife, people! The job creators need to be able to do this so they can create more jobs. If politicians respond properly, then they get more fish. Get it? Once the job creators create more jobs the jobs will trickle down all over us and there will be massive growth for a change. There will be jobs galore. The unemployment rate will fall to 0. Everyone will be employed. Thus, we can conclude that there's nothing wrong at all with anything Cuccinelli has ever done or ever will do. He is simply serving the best interest of the people. GO CUCC!! GO!!

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