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Marshall Drafts Tougher Gift Disclosure Legislation

Delegate Bob Marshall has requested legislation be drawn up to significantly strengthen the reporting requirement for gifts to Virginia public officials and state employees.

The changes to state law which he has proposed include:

Reporting any gift of $100 or more from a company or individual with business before the state of Virginia to any adult family member of an elected official or covered state employee, their spouse or legal dependent as well as a person cohabiting with a family member of an elected official or covered employee;

A gift not required to be initially reported because it was not made by someone with business before the state, would be required to be reported later if the donor subsequently had business before the state of Virginia where the gift was received within twelve months of such individual or company having business before the state;

Any gift received by a member during the regular session of the General Assembly exceeding $100 would have to be reported within five working days of receipt the gift.

“Virginia’s present law covering such gifts is vague and does not currently require that gifts to family members be reported by elected officials. The recent media disclosures regarding the extent, the number and the size of such gifts made available to family members of elected officials now requires a thorough revaluation of the present law,” Marshall said.

Marshall added, “We need a starting point for serious and prudent discussion that allows the legislature and other state officials to discharge their duties without causing any public concern that decisions or policies adopted by the legislature or actions taken by the Executive are made for any reason other than securing the common good.”

Delegate Marshall previously authored HJR 31 (2002) a Conflicts of Interest Study for state & local government which produced recommendations for legislation later adopted providing for stricter conflict of interest standards for officials & zoning boards (HB 1546, 2003). Del. Marshall has authored other laws tightening disclosure requirements and prohibitions of participation in land use decisions which did not pass.