It was with some amusment that I watched our former AG, Ken Cuccinelli, comment on the travails of Gov. Christie. Now, if Mr. Christie knew at all about that crap with the bridge he's gots to go. However, Mr. Cuccinelli, having thrown in his lot with Gov. Bob by accepting gifts was part and parcel of converting the people's house in Richmond from "The Virginia Way" of this stately barn:
To something a little more urban, hip and interesting:
I really didn't understand that I was missing out on a party the size and scale of what was going on in Richmond. Free Rolex watches for the asking! Lady need some dope new threads? Roll on up to the NYC and hook it up! We don't need no rules up here in the Commonwealth! We're all polite and stuff. Genteel even. Gov. Bob got himself a couple hunert G's for his trouble. AG Ken dipped in too! Both paid back some or all but only after all of this saw the light of day. Our twin guiding lights when it comes to ethics. If this seems like an unusual and angry post that's because it is! I'm tired of ending up on this "Daily Show episode" or maybe this episode. Last time we were on the Daily Show, the gubbmit decided that if you were going to have an abortion that the state needed an up close and personal look-see in your lady bidness. This from our "conservative" leadership.
Predictably, there are a raft of bills attempting to address this issue. These bills seem to fall into two types: disclosure and limits. The easy path forward for the GA is to simply draft more disclosure rules and be done with it. If this is what happens it will be unfortunate. An elected official could still accept a $10,000 Rolex and it would be ok as long as they filled out a form. Bollocks. I don't want to burn the whole damn house down to kill a spider here but if Gov. "live within your means" Bob is taking hundreds of thousands and it isn't against our disclosure and ethics rules, then the old-skool genteel self-image possesed by those who inhabit "Mr. Jeffersons Capitol" is wildly out of step with reality. It's closer to John Gotti than it is John Adams. You want a frigging Rolex? Go make the money and buy one like so many others.
No, it's time to take the hard path forward and have the GA vote to regulate themselves. It's time for hard limits on gifts – $50-$100 would be fine – and strict disclosure that passes the smell test. Go ahead and make these laws real and solve the problem where it exists: Richmond. Please, can we stop waiting until things go to hell before taking action? If we don't pass limits now, we'll do it in a couple of years when some other miscreant figures out a way to line his pockets, further eroding the publics trust in its leaders and government.