Virginia 2017 Integrity Challenge
The Coalition for Integrity is challenging all candidates running for state-level office in Virginia to stand for integrity and transparency in public service. Public trust in government has fallen to new lows and we believe that reversing this trend is fundamental. When candidates are transparent about their personal and campaign finances, citizens can make informed choices and hold those who serve them accountable.
Our recent op-ed in the Richmond Times Dispatch, as well as our column in the September issue of the League of Women Voters Virginia Voter newsletter, explain why voters want to elect candidates who will serve transparently.
We believe that candidates should be proactive about transparency and take affirmative steps to show voters that they will be open and accountable to those they serve. Making personal and campaign finance disclosures publicly available and easily accessible sends a strong message to voters who want to elect candidates they can trust.
To this end, we are asking candidates to endorse the Integrity Challenge and pledge to do the following:
- I pledge to disclose on my campaign website contributions received (over $100) and expenditures made by my campaign committee.
- I pledge to disclose on my campaign website my financial disclosure forms.
- I pledge to disclose on my campaign website all gifts that I receive while running for office or serving in office, including gifts given to my immediate family members.
We are also asking candidates seeking full-time positions — for example, Governor, Lt. Governor, and Attorney General — to disclose on their campaign websites their most recent tax returns. Federal and state tax returns provide a much more detailed look at a candidate’s sources of revenue and debt. Amounts are reported in exact amounts, rather than in bands, giving voters a much more detailed picture of a candidate’s finances. They also may reveal any potential conflicts of interest or foreign entanglements. Tax returns also allow voters to see a candidate’s charitable contributions (if any) and gain a better understanding of how candidates might benefit from the tax laws they support or oppose. They can also shed light on a candidate’s approach toward tax compliance – do they strictly comply or do they skirt the rules?
In endorsing the challenge, candidates agree to provide links on their campaign websites to their campaign contribution/expenditure disclosures, their financial disclosures, and their gift disclosures. Candidates are already required to disclose this information on the Virginia Department of Elections and Virginia Conflicts of Interest and Ethics Advisory Council webpages. We are simply asking them to link to this information from their campaign websites.
Click here for answers to FAQs about the Virginia Integrity Challenge.