Dems: Senate Republicans not taking ethics reform seriously

Democrat vs. Republican on whiteIt’s been a rough week for ethics reform in the Virginia Senate. Earlier, Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment demonstrated his grave concern for the Commonwealth’s ethics issues by declaring them nothing more than a manufactured media crisis. Now today, when given the chance to simply re-affirm the Senate’s 2014 unanimous commitment to transparency, Republicans caved to their special interest bankrollers and voted down Senator Jennifer Wexton’s SB924.

SB924 would have increased government transparency by prohibiting the use of taxpayer funds for legislators to travel to conferences and meetings that don’t make agendas and conference materials available to the public. If you are traveling to events with taxpayers’ money, the logic goes, taxpayers should be able to know what it is you’re doing there.

“Citizens of the Commonwealth of Virginia deserve transparency when it comes to their hard-earned tax dollars,” said Senator Wexton, (D-Loudoun). “I find it incredibly hypocritical that Republicans on the Rules Committee can claim to want true ethics reform yet kill a bill that they had unanimously supported just last year. This bill would not prohibit any legislator from attending any meeting or conference; but, if we’re doing it on the taxpayers’ dime, they should know what’s being discussed.”

Not only do Republicans refuse to allow an ethics commission with teeth, they’re backtracking from simple positions held last year and hampering serious attempts at reform.The GOP’s flimsy ethics facade is cracking more and more each day.