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Virginia Democrats unveil ethics legislation

Anita Kumar

House and Senate Democrats today unveiled a package of ethics bills in response to the scandal surrounding Phil Hamilton, the former powerful Republican lawmaker now under federal investigation for negotiating a job offer with Old Dominion University before securing state money for the school.

"It is important our citizens have faith in an open and honest government,'' House Minority Leader Ward Armstrong (D-Henry) said. "As legislators we are here to represent the people's interests, not our own interests."

The bills would change the General Assembly Conflicts of Interest statute, which has not been significantly revised in more than 20 years, by creating a single five-member ethics advisory panel (instead of two different bodies) that would be required to hold its proceedings in public and continue investigating even if a legislator resigns from office.

"The citizens of Virginia entrust us to serve them with integrity and now more than ever in these tough economic times we need to serve as proper stewards of the state's limited resources," Sen. Ralph Northam (D-Norfolk) said.

Other changes would require:

--A legislator to disclose any wages or salary paid to him or an immediate member of his family, regardless of the amount, by a state or local government or advisory agency employer:

--the Clerks of the House and Senate to establish a searchable electronic database, available to the public through the Internet, containing the information from the disclosure of personal interests statements filed by legislators, legislators-elect, and candidates for the General Assembly.

--That payments to a member for office expenses and supplies may be made only upon the member's submission of a voucher for the expenses.

--A member of the General Assembly to disclose in his annual disclosure of personal interests any salary and wages in excess of $10,000 paid to him or his immediate family for employment with a state or local government or advisory agency.

By Anita Kumar  |  January 18, 2010; 5:55 PM ET
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Election 2009 , General Assembly 2010 , House of Delegates , State Senate  
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Politicians? Ethical? BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: mssnatchquatch | January 18, 2010 11:42 PM | Report abuse

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