No Limits, No Explicit Penalties for Disclosure Violations in VA Assembly, Senate Races

Daily Press: “Most see no conflicts in voting on matters affecting their businesses, clients or employers, as long as legislation doesn’t single them out specifically.

“But Virginia lawmakers are subject to little oversight beyond their own consciences when balancing their own interests against the public’s, the Daily Press found during a monthslong review of thousands of pages of campaign finance reports, financial disclosure forms and property records.”

“For governors, attorneys general, judges, city councils, county supervisors and school board members, the penalty for not disclosing investments, gifts and other potential conflicts is a misdemeanor, with a maximum penalty of a $2,500 fine or a 12-month jail term. It doesn’t come up often.”

“Members of the General Assembly, though, are held to a different standard.

“It’s one they set themselves.”

“There are no sanctions specified in Senate and House rules or this year’s ethics legislation for omissions or false statements on disclosure forms, leaving it up to the legislators themselves to discipline any legislator whom they find has not properly disclosed potential conflicts of interest.”

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