Governor McAuliffe, this morning vetoed a bi-partisan ethics bill from Delegates LeMunyon and Surovell that would have applied directly to him. The bill would have prohibited him from accepting gifts over 50 dollars from businesses or individuals seeking funds from his Governor's Development Opportunity Fund.
The Governor’s Development Opportunity Fund is used to provide grants and loans to businesses to relocate to Virginia or expand in the state. Basically, a Governor has the power to use that money however he sees fit to attract businesses to the Commonwealth. The Governor has broad discretion in making awards, and awards are made without competitive bidding. Speaker Howell: "This legislation was a key part of the General Assembly's efforts to strengthen and improve Virginia's ethics, transparency and disclosure laws."
McAuliffe's reasoning for the veto? If I have to do it, then shouldn't the legislature too? Well, no. See, you're the only one with power over the 35 million dollars of carte blanche taxpayer money that this applies to. The legislature is not in charge of awarding these grants. In McAuliffe's own words "The Governor awards grants from the GOF..."
Brian Coy, the Governor's mouthpiece, had this to say about his boss' decision: "Speaker Howell’s professed concern for transparency and accountability would be more convincing had he and his leadership not implored the governor to sign an ethics reform bill that fell woefully short of the standard the governor applied to himself, his family and the executive branch."
1. What does this even mean?
2. This (HB1212/SB650) BI-PARTISAN legislation regarding TAXPAYER MONEY was passed unanimously by both the House and Senate.
The only thing that became more transparent today were the true feelings of the Governor when it comes to ethics reform.
VA GOP Caucus