Gov. McAuliffe Wants Family Added to Va. Ethics Bill

By: AP
By: AP

April 8, 2014

RICHMOND, Virginia — Governor Terry McAuliffe wants lobbyists to disclose what they give to lawmakers' families.

The Democratic governor amended an ethics bill Monday that passed the General Assembly in the wake of a gifts scandal that led to corruption charges against former Gov. Bob McDonnell.

Gov. McAuliffe's proposed changes would require lobbyists to report what they spend on gifts and entertainment for both lawmakers and their families. The bill initially proposed by the General Assembly only required lobbyists to report what they spent on lawmakers, not their families.

The General Assembly will have to approve the governor's changes.

Lawmakers passed an ethics bill that caps gifts from lobbyists at $250 and includes greater reporting requirements. The legislation was an attempt to restore public confidence after news reports outlined various gifts received by McDonnell and his family members while in office.

Some of the more than $165,000 in loans and gifts that federal prosecutors say McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, improperly took from a dietary supplement maker in exchange for promoting his products include a Rolex watch, designer clothes and $15,000 in catering costs at their daughter's wedding.

The McDonnells have apologized for accepting the gifts, but have denied any wrongdoing. Their trial is set for July.

McAuliffe did not make any other substantive changes to the ethics bill, which critics have said would still allow the type of behavior that ensnarled the McDonnells.

The bill would limit "tangible" gifts from lobbyists to $250 per item, but would not prevent lawmakers from accepting expensive trips and meals from special interests.

Brian Coy, a spokesman for McAuliffe, said the governor wanted to see the General Assembly pass a stronger bill and hopes this one will provide "a platform for future reforms."

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