Yesterday the news broke that E.W. Jackson failed to disclose a $9,000 lobbyist-funded plane ride he took with his ticket-mates in May [AP, 8/8/13]. While both Ken Cuccinelli and Mark Obeinshain reported the plane ride, Jackson did not. Just last week Jackson voiced his opposition to any new ethics reform laws, citing that politicians should hold themselves accountable [HearSay [7/30/13].
“For the third time in as many months. E.W. Jackson has failed to follow Virginia election law by not disclosing a $9000 lobbyist funded plane ride. Virginians deserve transparency in their government. Jackson’s failure to disclose is not only a violation but further evidence that ethical reform is absolutely necessary. Yet, Jackson continues to oppose even minimal ethics reform. His conduct just demonstrates that he is unwilling to meet even the minimal laws to give Virginians the transparency they deserve in their government,” said State Sen. Donald McEachin, D-Henrico, the chairman of the campaign of Democratic Party lieutenant governor nominee Ralph Northam.
Northam served as president of the Honor Court at the Virginia Military Institute, and teaches medical ethics at Eastern Virginia Medical School. In the Senate, Northam is a leader on reforming the state’s broken ethics laws. In 2010, Northam co-patroned legislation with Delegate Ward Armstrong that authorized open ethics investigations to continue even after an elected official resigns and barred lobbyists from participating in the process.
The Northam Plan:
· Ban gifts over $100 to Virginia lawmakers and their immediate families, with the exception of intra-family gifts. Disclose all legally permitted gifts under $100.
· Establish an open ethics board that reviews all financial disclosure for discrepancies, has subpoena power, and can penalize those that break the law. No lobbyist can serve on this board.
· Lower the threshold from $10,000 to $5,000 to qualify for an elected official to disclose an investment.
· Authorize ethics investigations to continue even after elected officials resign from office.