Home Virginia Politics E.W. Jackson and Dick Saslaw on Ethics Reform: What’s the Difference?

E.W. Jackson and Dick Saslaw on Ethics Reform: What’s the Difference?


Short answer: none.

Exhibit A: E.W. Jackson argues we don’t need more/strong ethics laws, we just need people to be ethical. Uh huh….

Exhibit B: Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw (D) says basically the same thing in the Washington Post, demonstrating that he loves his perks, doesn’t have any appetite to get rid of them (nor do most members of the General Assembly), and either completely misunderstands human nature and the nature of the problem here, or, much more likely, is being disingenuous…

The absurdity is, you can’t legislate ethics,” said Senate Majority Leader Richard L. Saslaw (D-Fairfax). “Either you’re dishonest or you’re not, okay? It’s more window dressing. It’s an attempt to deal with stuff, maybe tighten up a few things here or there.”

Saslaw said that states with strict laws on the flow of money in politics are still vulnerable to human nature, just as laws against murder and embezzlement don’t stop bad acts. And despite the McDonnell scandal, and the nine-year prison sentence given to a former ranking member of the House of Delegates in 2011 on bribery and extortion charges, he said Virginia’s record remains strong.

Of course, it’s utterly absurd to make a black-and-white statement like “Either you’re dishonest or you’re not, okay?” But since I don’t think Dick Saslaw is an idiot, with no understanding of human nature (his black-and-white view is childish and laughable), I must assume that he’s simply being disingenous here, since he has ZERO – nada, zilch, etc. – desire for real ethics reform and enforcement in Richmond. Why would he give up his corporate/lobbyist-funded dinners, Homestead retreats, trips, golf games, etc, etc. if he doesn’t have to?

P.S. Is Saslaw seriously arguing that just because laws against murder and embezzlement don’t stop those things 100% of the time, we don’t need them? We just need people to not want to murder or embezzle? Again, two choices: a) Dick Saslaw is an imbecile; b) Dick Saslaw is being wildly disingenous, dishonest, etc.