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.