Virginia ethics panel to make reform recommendations

WASHINGTON — Now that former Virginia Gov. Bob McDowell has been convicted on
corruption charges, a bipartisan panel hopes to fix the state’s ethics problems.

The ethics panel will give Gov. Terry McAuliffe its recommendations for reform
on or before December 1. The panel finished a version of the recommendations on

But while the recommendations are a good start, it will take a long time
to rebuild the public’s trust in Virginia’s government, says former Lt. Gov.
Bill Bolling, who co-chairs the panel.

“I think they constitute real meaningful and substantive ethics reform,” he
says, adding that the panel must show the public that it’s serious “about
strengthening our ethics laws and closing some of the obvious loopholes.”

Especially when it comes to gifts. Among other recommendations, the panel
proposes a ban on gifts more than $250 to lawmakers.

“We tried to look at some of the obvious deficiencies that we’ve come to
recognize over the course of the past year or so that exist in Virginia’s ethics
laws and gift laws,” Bolling says.

And while the recommendations aren’t perfect, they go a long way to address the
biggest issues, Bolling continues.

The recommendations go to the governor, then the General Assembly. If the
assembly approves the recommendations, they would become law on July 1, 2015.

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