Two state Senators traded jabs on the Senate floor Wednesday over whether the General Assembly bears blame for the public corruption charges leveled against former Gov. Bob McDonnell.
Sen. Chap Petersen, D-Fairfax, said the McDonnell indictment represents an “institutional failure” by the legislature. He said the Assembly has constitutional authority to investigate the chief executive, but did not do it.
“We didn’t ask any tough questions … we did nothing to follow up on this situation,” Petersen said, adding, “We let the governor’s personal chef be our one-man ethics department.”
Petersen called for putting teeth in the state’s ethics laws.
Sen. Thomas Norment, R-Williamsburg, said he took umbrage at the suggestion that the legislature failed to investigate the McDonnell allegations.
Norment said it was “irresponsible” to suggest the legislature had abdicated its duties to police ethics, pointing to the work of the Senate ethics committee and to a “fairly comprehensive package of ethics reforms” under consideration by the Senate.