Transparency in government and politics is a good thing. And the Commonwealth of Virginia may need a little more of it in both. There is a good read posted by Brian Schoeneman in yesterday’s Bearing Drift:
One thing the McDonnell gift kerfluffle has highlighted is the need for a comprehensive review of our conflicts of interest laws, primarily the gift rules and disclosure requirements.
Unlike the Federal regime and some other states, Virginia is relatively lenient when it comes to gift rules. Members of the General Assembly are allowed to accept gifts from any source, but are required to disclose all gifts they receive that have a value of more than $50.
While not condoning what McDonnell may or may not have done, the recent gift fiasco seems like an early McAuliffe electioneering strategy to paint all Virginia Republicans as out of touch with Virginians. Not sure how this will play on Northern Virginia.
You’ve heard this song before, its from an old familiar score: the politics of personal destruction. The Democratic delegates in my neck of the woods have been incessantly using the McDonnell gift issue for that purpose. Some recent examples:
— Scott Surovell (@ssurovell) July 16, 2013
— Scott Surovell (@ssurovell) July 17, 2013
Democrats should be careful with this approach. The seemingly lax gift giving rules could come back to haunt them as well later this year. What Democrats and Republicans should be focusing on is changing disclosure these rules so they are more responsive to current day political realities.
Read the entire Schoeneman post here.
And, in a rarity, the DC Dispatches has another cameo this week by the Chairman. It is usually once a month, but the events and politicos are providing us a lot of fodder to work with: