DPVA: McDonnell Corporate Board Policy "blatantly inappropriate"

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The DPVA hits McDonnell hard on this one, as well they should.

~Governor-elect will allow Commerce and Trade Secretary Nominee to sit on corporate boards while serving Commonwealth~

Before even taking office, Bob McDonnell has already given Virginians reason to question just whose interests will be served by his administration. McDonnell plans to let his cabinet secretaries serve corporate interests while serving the public.

"When the rubber hits the road, can Bob McDonnell ensure his nominees serve the best interests of the people of Virginia, and not the corporations that pay them," said C. Richard Cranwell, Chair of the Democratic Party of Virginia. "The only way for Virginians to be sure is for McDonnell to not allow his Secretary of Commerce and Trade to serve both."

Corporate board members are legally bound to maximize profits of their company. Cabinet nominees are expected to do the best for Virginia's citizens. When the time comes for appointees to decide which master they will serve, who will they choose?

Virginians expect their Governor to hold his cabinet appointees to a higher standard than this. They deserve to know that state government is working for them, not the bottom line of a private business or corporation. They also deserve cabinet nominees that can make tough decisions in order to serve the public.

The Roanoke Times called the practice a "blatant conflict" on today's editorial page and the Manassas News-Messenger expressed serious concerns about the arrangement. This policy has already drawn fire from independent watchdog groups and good government advocates.

"This policy is so unacceptable because, at a minimum, it allows for an appearance of impropriety, and at the worst a true conflict of interest," said Cranwell. "This practice is so blatantly inappropriate even the federal government prohibits it."