Governor, Republicans at odds over state ethics watchdog

STATE-NEWSRICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe and the Republican-controlled General Assembly appear to agree they need to toughen Virginia’s public ethics laws, but they disagree on how tough they should be. Lawmakers have introduced dozens of ethics bills in the wake of former Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell’s conviction on corruption charges last year. The first public airing of those proposals came Monday at a meeting of a House ethics subcommittee. The key sticking point appears to be McAuliffe’s proposal for an independent ethics review commission that would investigate alleged violations and, if warranted, refer them for prosecution. The governor’s proposal is carried by Democratic Del. Jennifer McClellan of Richmond. A rival measure from Republican Del. Todd Gilbert of Shenandoah County proposes an advisory ethics council that would not have such sweeping powers.

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