RPV Chairman Pat Mullins’ partisan retort is not helpful in search for ethics reform

Republican elephantBy Lynn R. Mitchell

No sooner had Governor Terry McAuliffe announced a bipartisan commission on ethics reform to be headed up by former Republican Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling and former Democratic Congressman Rich Boucher than the Republican Party of Virginia’s Chairman Pat Mullins came out with a snarky response.

I’m not the only one who has grown weary of partisan politics. This was the latest childish retort from Mullins (see Ethics Reform. Terry McAuliffe. Really?):

With a record like Terry’s, it’s hard not to think it’s just a joke …  Terry McAuliffe wants to enact … ethics reform? Hopefully no computers were damaged when thousands of Virginians read those words and promptly spit their coffee laughing.

Um … right. And if a Republican governor had done the same, the Democrats would have blasted some similar-sounding email.  This just looks petty especially since our own Republican Lieutenant Governor is heading it up (see Bill Bolling to head up Governor’s ethics committee).

Mullins’ statement in the press release read:

“Trusting Terry McAuliffe to enact ethics reform isn’t just letting the fox guard the hen house, it’s letting the fox design and build the hen house for easier access. If Terry McAuliffe wants to reform ethics, first he needs to reform Terry McAuliffe.”

The grownups in the room actually had a much better response. House Speaker Bill Howell (R-Stafford) and Senate Majority Leader Thomas Norment (R-James City) released the following statement:

“Earlier this month, we pledged to take the additional steps necessary to restore the public’s trust after the events of the last 18 months. Our pledge still stands.

“We hold those appointed to lead this commission in high regard and appreciate their willingness to serve the Commonwealth. The General Assembly looks forward to reviewing the Commission’s findings when it completes its work.

“Ultimately, the responsibility to make changes to Virginia’s ethics, transparency, and disclosure laws rests with the General Assembly. We know legislators in both chambers and in both parties are resolved to doing what is right for Virginia and committed to restoring the people’s trust in their government.

“Accordingly, we have already begun working on additional reforms that will build upon the bipartisan ethics reform package that secured unanimous approval earlier this year. This is a process that will continue as we move forward.”

What we heard from Speaker Howell and Majority Leader Norment is called leadership. What we heard from Chairman Mullins is more worn out partisanship.

Cross-posted at SWAC Girl

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