RICHMOND--The convictions of former Governor Bob McDonnell and former First Lady Maureen McDonnell have Virginia lawmakers calling for stricter ethics reforms both in Richmond and in Capitol Hill.
Among their several corruption convictions handed down Thursday, Governor McDonnell was found guilty of four counts of honest services fraud. The jury found his wife, Maureen, guilty of three counts of honest services fraud.
It's a controversial, many say vague, federal law that makes it illegal for politicians to deny the people they serve of their 'honest services.'
'The term is so vague and nobody knows when have you committed a crime,' said Rep. Bobby Scott.
Scott, a democrat, says the federal government must reform and specify the parameters in what constitutes criminality in the law.
'Obviously the former governor has indicated he used bad judgment but when it becomes to a criminal offense, it ought not be a subjective,' Scott said. 'It ought not be that if you get the jury mad, you can get a conviction. The honest services standard is extremely vague.'
Scott also says the jury's verdict shows changes must be made to Virginia's notoriously lax ethics laws.
'I think the legislature (General Assembly) needs to consider a meaningful gift ban. Because the idea that you can take gifts of that magnitude legally, under virginia law I think needs to be looked at,' said Scott.
In a statement
following the verdict, Attorney General Mark Herring joined Scott and others in calling for tightening up ethics laws in the commonwealth.
'There's no reason for elected officials to be taking gifts, we can buy our own meals,' said Scott.
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