McAuliffe's first order of business: Ethics reform
January 11th, 2014
06:11 PM ET
8 months ago

McAuliffe's first order of business: Ethics reform

(CNN) - Hours after his inauguration as Virginia’s 72nd governor – and in the wake of a scandal that engulfed his predecessor – Terry McAuliffe has made ethics reform his first order of business, instituting tighter limits between public officials and lobbyists like he once was.

The executive order signed by McAuliffe Saturday establishes a gift limit of $100 for all administration officials and their families, including the governor himself. It also creates a three-person ethics commission to enforce the limit and determine whether particular gifts are acceptable.


“Virginians have placed great trust in their elected officials and expect transparency and decision-making that avoids improper conflicts,” McAuliffe said in a statement. “This Executive Order will assure citizens of the Commonwealth that members of my Administration will be held to the highest of ethical standards."

The former Democratic National Committee chief made clear that ethics reform was one of his priorities in his inaugural address as well, calling on the state's General Assembly "to enact the strongest possible new ethics rules to hold all Virginia elected officials to the highest of standards," according to his prepared remarks.

McAuliffe was sworn in Saturday morning at the state capitol in Richmond. Among those in attendance were former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, longtime allies of McAuliffe’s for whom he used to fundraise. Both Clintons campaigned for McAuliffe this past fall.

His ethic reform decision comes on the heels of a scandal that engulfed the previous governor, Bob McDonnell.

Once a rising star in the GOP, McDonnell's stellar record was tarnished when the federal government began investigating him and his family last summer for improper gifts.

The first family received hundreds of thousands of dollars, a Rolex watch, and other gifts from Jonnie Williams, Sr., the owner of a dietary supplement company.

The one-term governor denied any wrongdoing and refused to resign, arguing the money was a loan. He completed his term this year. (Governors in Virginia are limited to a single term.)

No charges have been brought against McDonnell. He apologized in his last State of the Commonwealth address on Wednesday.

"Choices I made were legal, and as several reviews have shown, no person or company received any special benefits during our administration. However, I understand the adverse public impression some of my decisions have left," he said. "Tonight, I say to you, and to all Virginians, that I am deeply sorry for the problems and pain I’ve caused this past year."

–CNN’s Joe Johns, Stacey Samuels and Bryan Koenig contributed to this report.


Filed under: Bob McDonnell • Terry McAuliffe • Virginia
soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. Donna

    Well I guess he is eminently qualified to be proposing these changes as he is a recent lobbyist crook. So how many gifts over $100 did he either accept from or give to public officials in his lifetime?

    January 11, 2014 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  2. Tampa Tim

    It is difficult to clean up the crap republcans have created. Good luck Terry.

    January 11, 2014 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  3. rs

    Ha, it won't take much to do better than guy he replaced.

    January 11, 2014 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  4. Thomas

    It's a little too late for Chris" Christie to have Ethics reform in New Jersey .

    January 11, 2014 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  5. Rick McDaniel

    We have heard "reform" from all kinds of politicians at every level, and none of it EVER sticks.

    This guy won't be one bit cleaner........indeed he will probably just make it harder to find the violations.........so no one can be charged in the future.

    January 12, 2014 08:04 am at 8:04 am |
  6. American

    Another political hack elected to office. Shame on us voters

    January 12, 2014 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  7. sammy750

    Next he has to give the people of VA back the freedoms they lost under the Republicans. Many bills have to be overturned so people can live a free life and not under the arms of the VA government.

    January 12, 2014 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  8. Kristi Cancelmo

    Hahahaha! Terry McAuliffe talking about integrity and ethics reform. If Virginians had wanted an ethical governor they would not have elected him! I suppose this will be another "do as I say, not as I do" liberal reform.

    January 12, 2014 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  9. Gunderson

    Well Suh,
    I wish you luck in your quest.

    January 12, 2014 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  10. don in albuquerque

    Yeah, Kristi, darn those nasty liberals. Declaration of Independence and birth of a new nation, Christianity, and all done at the hands of those nasty darn liberals.

    January 12, 2014 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  11. Malory Archer

    Donna

    Well I guess he is eminently qualified to be proposing these changes as he is a recent lobbyist crook. So how many gifts over $100 did he either accept from or give to public officials in his lifetime?

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    LOL – compared to the guy who just left – and a who could possibly be facing hard time – he looks like a choir boy!

    January 12, 2014 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  12. Malory Archer

    Kristi Cancelmo

    Hahahaha! Terry McAuliffe talking about integrity and ethics reform. If Virginians had wanted an ethical governor they would not have elected him! I suppose this will be another "do as I say, not as I do" liberal reform.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    LOL – put the bowl of sour grapes on the table and back away slowly. Compared to the guy who just left – and a who could possibly be facing hard time – he looks like a choir boy!

    January 12, 2014 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  13. Bill

    Poor beaten Cooch – that loser did not even have the common decency to congratulate his opponent. He will never hold public office again. Thank goodness.

    January 12, 2014 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  14. don in albuquerque

    @Donna–Please cite sources saying he is a crook, or how he has been implicated in any theft.

    January 12, 2014 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  15. Gander

    I'm far more interested in the fact that governors can only serve one term than I am the person elected. How long has this restriction been in place ?Are there any other states with the single term restriction ? Not that you can't completely screw things up in one term mind you, but those things CAN be fixed by the next governor, which is what I'm getting from this article. At least it's a start huh ?

    January 12, 2014 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  16. Julie

    Don't worry.. It is okay...Virginians won't have any problem living with high taxes on everything and good to become as a welfare/ nanny state...Kentucky is one of the welfare/ nanny states under democratic administration.

    January 12, 2014 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  17. barryinlasvegas

    First order of business – expand government by creating a new commission.

    January 12, 2014 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |