Monday, April 13, 2015

Boosting transparency in government

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Dear Robert —

I wanted to make sure you saw my joint op-ed with Speaker Bill Howell in the Sunday edition of the Virginia-Pilot on Governor McAuliffe's veto of SB1059, a government transparency bill that I sponsored during the 2015 General Assembly session.  

From the op-ed: "The General Assembly passed legislation this year to increase transparency and accountability in government. Gov. Terry McAuliffe vetoed it. This is unfortunate, and shows that McAuliffe isn't as serious about transparency and ethics reform as his rhetoric suggests."

I appreciate the Speaker's work on this important issue and urge my colleagues to override Governor McAuliffe's veto. The bill would cap what are called "contingency fees" paid to third-party lawyers and increase transparency by requiring the governor and attorney general to post contracts with these lawyers online. 

By vetoing this bill and removing the contingency fee caps, McAuliffe is preserving the ability of an attorney general to secretly enrich out-of-state trial lawyers at the expense of Virginia taxpayers.

That's unacceptable, and I hope the General Assembly will vote to override the veto when we reconvene for a one-day session on Wednesday, April 15.

Best Regards,

Mark Obenshain


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