State Sen. Mark Herring, Democratic candidate for Attorney General, released an ethics reform proposal yesterday. The entire proposal can be viewed here (pdf). The plan includes:
- A state ethics commission, made up of several appointed public officials.
- Limiting gifts (to $100) and enhancing disclosure requirements, to include gifts to immediate family members and disclosure of creditors.
- Independent audits of financial disclosures, increased penalties for violations.
- Prohibition on the use of campaign contributions for personal expenses.
- Expansion of FOIA, to make it clear that the AG’s office must honor those requests, and to cover the State Corporation Commission.
All of these proposal will require legislation to accomplish, and Herring has pledged to work with the legislature on these. I particularly support the idea of audits for the financial disclosure forms. It’s not reasonable for all of the forms to be audited; however, an audit of a random sample should be sufficient to put everyone else on notice.
And increased penalties just makes sense. Twice now, E. W. Jackson has messed up his financial reports, and the fine is only $100, hardly motive enough for the reports to be done timely and accurately.