State of Virginia Archives: on Government Reform

Terry McAuliffe: $100 cap on gifts to public officials & families

On my first day in office I honored a campaign promise and placed a $100 cap on gifts that can be given to myself, my family, members of my administration, and their families. I am confident that by the time we adjourn, we will have made a $100 cap on all gifts the standard for all Virginia public officials. With that gift cap, we should also establish a bipartisan ethics review commission with real investigative powers to offer guidance on the law and identify and sanction those who violate it.

I also hope you will pass my proposal to prohibit fundraising activity both in regular and special sessions. Right now, the only thing that makes special sessions special is that we can still raise money.

Additionally, this session is our opportunity to adopt the commonsense position that people who sit on boards or commissions should be prohibited from voting on matters that benefit themselves, their family members or their business partners.

Source: State of the State address to 2015 Virginia Legislature Jan 14, 2015

Don Beyer: 18-year term limits for Supreme Court justices

The idea of altering the current life tenure of the nine justices is not new: It has been proposed by many legal scholars in a number of forms in the last decade. The justices work largely in secrecy and, as unelected elites, they are often isolated from the daily lives of the millions of people whose lives they affect. On top of this, they have little accountability and serve as long as they like.

In recent decades, the average tenure has been 26 years. Some critics call the Court's system "the framers' mistake." Many believe that this was not something intended or envisioned by the Founding Fathers and have called on Congress to amend the Constitution.

The proposal I endorse is staggered 18-year terms. Every two years, the president would appoint a justice, so that a one-term president would name two Supreme Court justice. There are myriad solutions for these justices' life tenures, such as completing their work on a federal court once their 18-year tour is through.

Source: 2014 Virginia House campaign website, Nov 4, 2014

Ken Cuccinelli: Photo ID for voting

Question topic: States should require voters to show photo identification and prove citizenship in order to register to vote or to cast a vote.

Cuccinelli: Strongly Agree

Source: Faith2Action iVoterGuide on 2013 Virginia Governor campaign Jul 2, 2014

Jamie Radtke: Country's biggest problem is activist judges

On the Virginia General Assembly's late-night vote to reject judicial nominee Tracy Thorne-Begland, a Richmond prosecutor who raises twin children with his same-sex partner, Allen offered subtle differences.

Marshall, who led the House fight against Thorne-Begland's confirmation, said he opposed the nominee because as a Navy officer 20 years ago, Thorne-Begland spoke out on national television against the "don't ask, don't tell" policy on gays in the military just put in place by President Bill Clinton.

Radtke, like Marshall, said Thorne-Begland would have brought an activist gay agenda to the bench. "The biggest problem we have in the country right now is activist judges," she said, noting that a federal judge had overturned a statewide California referendum that outlawed gay marriage.

Source: 4-NBC Washington on 2012 Virginia Senate debate May 26, 2012

George Allen: Sexual orientation not a factor in judges' qualifications

Allen distanced himself from the rest of the field on whether a homosexual could serve as a judge. All four denounced activist judges, but only Allen said a person's sexual orientation should not be a factor in determining qualification for the bench. "Judges when I look at them, I look at what are their qualifications," Allen said. "Sexual orientation is not a criteria for disqualifying."

But he declined to say whether he supported the successful effort by state Del. Bob Marshall, another Senate candidate, to block a gay Richmond prosecutor from a district judgeship earlier this month. "It's funny, I didn't hear an answer from our colleague," Marshall said. "I've already done it. You've seen it in the papers. It's quite easy to stand here and say you will do and not do things."

Source: Washington Examiner on 2012 Virginia Senate debate May 25, 2012

George Allen: Judges shouldn't invent law or impose their political views

The General Assembly blocked a gay judicial nominee's appointment to the bench: veteran prosecutor Tracy Thorne-Begland, who came out as gay as a naval officer 20 years ago. [Opponents say he] was unfit for the bench because he had challenged the military's ban on gays openly serving in the military, and lives with a partner.

George Allen sought to align himself with Gov. Robert McDonnell, who objected to anti-gay discrimination in principle but refused to take a position on whether it had played a role in Thorne-Begland's rejection. "I agree with Gov. McDonnell that judicial qualifications, not sexual orientation, should be the criteria for judicial selection," Allen's statement said. "Decisions on judges should be merit-based selections based on a person's skill, judicial temperament, and fidelity to the Constitution and laws--judges should apply the law, not invent it or impose their own political views."

A spokesman for Tim Kaine has equated Thorne-Begland's rejection to discriminat

Source: Washington Post on 2012 Virginia Senate debate May 21, 2012

Jamie Radtke: FactCheck: Yes, George Allen voted for 52,000 earmarks

Jamie Radtke said: "It's great to talk about the line item veto. We could have maybe gotten rid of the 52,000 earmarks that George Allen voted for."

The Citizens Against Government and Waste has determined there were 52,319 earmarks in the budgets that Allen voted for while he was in the Senate.

Radtke's claim ignores that Allen did not vote for each earmark individually. They were attached to about four dozen major appropriations bills Allen supported during his time in the Senate.

Even critics of earmarks don't entirely blame Allen for voting for appropriations bills that kept the government operating. As we have previously said, Radtke's statement is accurate but requires clarification. We have rated it Mostly True.

Source: 2012 Senate FactCheck: Virginia debate Apr 30, 2012

Jamie Radtke: Line-item veto to get rid of earmark spending

Radtke argued that Allen's declared support for a presidential line-item veto and a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution ring hollow. Shortly after Allen said that a line-item veto could help curb the excesses of congressional spending, Radtke said, "It's great to talk about the line-item veto. We could have maybe gotten rid of the 52,000 earmarks that George Allen voted for." Allen said the country's economic and fiscal climate is different than it was when he voted for debt limit increases during his Senate term. "The credit-worthiness of America for the first time in our history has been downgraded. The annual deficits are now over a trillion dollars every single year. When I left the U.S. Senate, the annual deficit was about $160 billion."

Radtke said she intends to continue pressing the issue for the duration of the primary campaign.

Source: The Virginian-Pilot on 2012 Virginia Senate debate Apr 29, 2012

Jamie Radtke: No more blank checks for Congress

The Republican primary is June 12th. The nominee will face former Governor Tim Kaine in the general election this November. "Virginians are demanding no more blank checks for Congress, no more political cronyism and no more half measures that do nothing to solve our fiscal crisis," said Radtke.
Source: WSET-TV Lynchburg on 2012 Virginia Senate debate Apr 28, 2012

Robert Sarvis: No limit on campaign contributions; limit government instead

Q: Do you support limits on the following types of contributions to candidates for state government: Individual?

A: No.

Q: Political Action Committee?

A: No.

Q: Corporate?

A: No.

Q: Political Party?

A: No.

Q: Should candidates for state office be encouraged to meet voluntary spending limits??

A: No.

Q: Do you support requiring full and timely disclosure of campaign finance information??

A: Yes. Regarding campaign-finance restrictions, if there is too much money in politics, it's because there is too much money being parceled out by government, creating the incentive for the lobbying/rent-seeking that produces such campaign-finance largesse. The solution is not limited campaign finance but LIMITED GOVERNMENT.

Source: Virginia State Legislative 2011 PVS Political Courage Test Nov 1, 2011

James Webb: Increasing number of lobbyists is a problem

WEBB: Harris, there have been a lot of reports in the paper about your career as a lobbyist. Iím just wondering how you would fix the problem with, we now have 33,000 lobbyists in Washington, double the number at the beginning of this administration.

MILLER: We need to get rid of several things. 1) We need to get rid of the special interest projects, the so-called pork barrel. I would vote against every one of them. I would make an alliance with Republicans to do that, people like John McCain. 2) I would prohibit any gifts to Congressmen or Senators. George Allen makes $165,000 a year. He doesnít need someone to buy him lunch. 3) I would try to get public funding for TV campaigns. Jim and I are out raising money all the time so we can pay for TV time, I think thatís one part of politics we donít like. I think all other countries allow their candidates some free TV air time to get their views out there. We need to bring that to this country too.

Source: Virginia 2006 Democratic Senate Primary debate Jun 9, 2006

Ed Gillespie: Paid $27M in lobbying fees in early 2000s

Since its founding by Gillespie and former Clinton White House counsel Jack Quinn in 2000, the firm Quinn-Gillespie's has collected $27.4 million in lobbying fees, including:
Source: Public Citizen Congress Watch on 2014 Virginia Senate race Jun 1, 2003

  • The above quotations are from Commonwealth of Virginia Politicians: Archives.
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