Virginia is not a state saddled with a reputation of ethically challenged legislators, but our part-time citizen legislature is structurally conducive to conflicts of interest. This reality was brought to the forefront in November 2009 when Delegate Phillip Hamilton resigned from the House of Delegates following revelations that he directed state appropriations into his own pocket. There is little doubt that the majority of legislators are scrupulous in their efforts to avoid such conflicts, but they must navigate treacherous waters to do so. Significant modifications to the structure and ethical standards of the General Assembly are necessary to correct this problem.
The General Assembly's Structural Conflicts of Interest,
Rich. J.L. & Pub. Int.
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