GOLDMAN: McDonnell needs to call a Special Session to fix Va. gift laws

Posted at 11:40 AM, Jul 31, 2013

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) –  Putting on my strategy hat, the new PR/legal push by our “gifted” Governor Bob McDonnell – from standing pat and refusing to budge to his now 24/7 U-Turn “give it all back” approach – tells me the following:

  • He is considering a call for a Special General Assembly Session to fix state laws covering gifts to elected officials and their families.
  • His political guys are telling him if you want to have any chance of fixing a decent chunk of the political damage, it will take a very high profile move.

As in HUGE.

To my knowledge, there has never been a Special Session of the General Assembly this close to a gubernatorial election, not to mention on an issue of major importance to said election.

The Constitution of Virginia allows the governor to call a Special Session at any time. He gets to choose the topic, he gets to introduce the legislation.

Once in session, the boys and girls can play their games, but surely the Republican-controlled House of Delegates – up for re-election this year – would welcome the opportunity to turn the “ethics issue” from a minus to a plus. So too would the GOP statewide ticket, although with those guys, you never know.

Politics is simple.The public wants to see an elected official solving problems, not creating problems.

They don’t blame the lax laws for McDonnell’s mistakes, but they know these laws tempt politicians to spend time plotting to get perks as opposed to developing solutions.

Besides, the public doesn’t want politicians to get perks.

Bottom line

A Special Session with both parties fighting to be seen as the toughest against freebies, against influence peddling, against the type of stuff done by the First Family, is perfect for McDonnell. It guarantees a good result.

As predicted in this space, he would get nothing for his transportation efforts. That “legacy” is now gone due to the gift controversy. He knows that.

He either calls a Special Session – leaving a legacy of the guy who fixed the problem – or he exits as the governor who most embarrassed the office, failing to fix the problem.

Is this a hard choice? Do you have to be a rocket scientist to figure this out? Does he need to pay his lawyers another $53,000 on the public nickel to decide?

Unless the governor knows something I don’t about what is going to be reported in the future, calling for a Special Session is the easiest decision in Virginia politics.

He helps himself, he helps his party, he helps the state and he helps remove some of the taint from his family also.

It is win-win-win for all us. What’s not to like?

Paul Goldman is in no way affiliated with WTVR. His comments are his own, and do not reflect the views of WTVR or any related entity. Neither WTVR nor any of its employees or agents participated in any way with the preparation of Mr. Goldman’s comments.