Code of Virginia

Code of Virginia
Title 30. General Assembly
7/21/2017

Article 5. Disclosure Statements Required to Be Filed.

§ 30-109. Application.

This article requires disclosure of certain personal and financial interests by legislators.

1987, Sp. Sess., c. 1, § 2.1-639.39; 2001, c. 844.

§ 30-110. Disclosure.

A. In accordance with the requirements set forth in § 30-111.1, every legislator and legislator-elect shall file, as a condition to assuming office, a disclosure statement of his personal interests and such other information as is required on the form prescribed by the Council pursuant to § 30-111 and thereafter shall file such a statement annually on or before February 1. Disclosure forms shall be made available by the Virginia Conflict of Interest and Ethics Advisory Council at least 30 days prior to the filing deadline. Disclosure forms shall be filed electronically with the Virginia Conflict of Interest and Ethics Advisory Council in accordance with the standards approved by it pursuant to § 30-356. The disclosure forms of the members of the General Assembly shall be maintained as public records for five years in the office of the Virginia Conflict of Interest and Ethics Advisory Council. Such forms shall be made public no later than six weeks after the filing deadline.

B. Candidates for the General Assembly shall file a disclosure statement of their personal interests as required by §§ 24.2-500 through 24.2-503.

C. Any legislator who has a personal interest in any transaction pending before the General Assembly and who is disqualified from participating in that transaction pursuant to § 30-108 and the rules of his house shall disclose his interest in accordance with the applicable rule of his house.

1987, Sp. Sess., c. 1, § 2.1-639.40; 2001, c. 844; 2006, c. 779; 2014, cc. 792, 804; 2015, cc. 763, 777; 2016, cc. 773, 774; 2017, cc. 829, 832.

§ 30-110.1. Report of gifts.

Every legislator shall file, on or before May 1, a report of gifts accepted or received by him or a member of his immediate family during the period beginning on January 1 complete through adjournment sine die of the regular session of the General Assembly. The gift report shall be on a form prescribed by the Council and shall be filed electronically with the Council in accordance with the standards approved by it pursuant to § 30-356. For purposes of this section, "adjournment sine die" means adjournment on the last legislative day of the regular session and does not include the ensuing reconvened session. Any gifts reported pursuant to this section shall not be listed on the annual disclosure form prescribed by the Council pursuant to § 30-111.

2016, cc. 773, 774.

§ 30-111. Disclosure form.

A. The disclosure form to be used for filings required by subsections A and B of § 30-110 shall be prescribed by the Council. All completed forms shall be filed electronically with the Council in accordance with the standards approved by it pursuant to § 30-356.

B. Any legislator who knowingly and intentionally makes a false statement of a material fact on the Statement of Economic Interests is guilty of a Class 5 felony and shall be subject to disciplinary action for such violations by the house in which the legislator sits.

C. The Statement of Economic Interests of all members of each house shall be reviewed by the Council. If a legislator's Statement is found to be inadequate as filed, the legislator shall be notified in writing and directed to file an amended Statement correcting the indicated deficiencies, and a time shall be set within which such amendment shall be filed. If the Statement of Economic Interests, in either its original or amended form, is found to be adequate as filed, the legislator's filing shall be deemed in full compliance with this section as to the information disclosed thereon.

D. Ten percent of the membership of a house, on the basis of newly discovered facts, may in writing request the house in which those members sit, in accordance with the rules of that house, to review the Statement of Economic Interests of another member of that house in order to determine the adequacy of his filing. In accordance with the rules of each house, each Statement of Economic Interests shall be promptly reviewed, the adequacy of the filing determined, and notice given in writing to the legislator whose Statement is in issue. Should it be determined that the Statement requires correction, augmentation or revision, the legislator involved shall be directed to make the changes required within such time as shall be set under the rules of each house.

If a legislator, after having been notified in writing in accordance with the rules of the house in which he sits that his Statement is inadequate as filed, fails to amend his Statement so as to come into compliance within the time limit set, he shall be subject to disciplinary action by the house in which he sits. No legislator shall vote on any question relating to his own Statement.

1987, Sp. Sess., c. 1, § 2.1-639.41; 1988, c. 849; 1994, cc. 724, 733, 735, 777, 793; 1995, c. 763; 1996, c. 77; 1997, cc. 577, 844; 1998, c. 732; 2001, c. 844; 2003, c. 610; 2006, cc. 779, 787, 892; 2007, cc. 620, 627; 2010, cc. 418, 474, 670; 2014, cc. 792, 804; 2015, cc. 763, 777; 2016, cc. 773, 774.

§ 30-111.1. Disclosure form; filing requirements.

A. A legislator or legislator-elect required to file an annual disclosure on or before February 1 pursuant to this article shall disclose his personal interests and other information as required on the form prescribed by the Council for the preceding calendar year complete through December 31. A legislator or legislator-elect required to file a disclosure as a condition to assuming office shall file such disclosure on or before the day such office is assumed and disclose his personal interests and other information as required on the form prescribed by the Council for the preceding 12-month period complete through the last day of the month immediately preceding the month in which the office is assumed; however, any legislator or legislator-elect who assumes office in January shall be required to only file an annual disclosure on or before February 1 for the preceding calendar year complete through December 31.

B. When the deadline for filing any disclosure pursuant to this article falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, the deadline for filing shall be the next day that is not a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday.

2017, cc. 829, 832.

§ 30-112. Senate and House Ethics Advisory Panels; membership; terms; quorum; compensation and expenses.

A. The Senate Ethics Advisory Panel and the House Ethics Advisory Panel are established in the legislative branch of state government. The provisions of §§ 30-112 through 30-119 shall be applicable to each panel.

B. The Senate Ethics Advisory Panel shall be composed of five nonlegislative citizen members: three of whom shall be former members of the Senate; and two of whom shall be citizens of the Commonwealth at large who have not previously held such office. All members of the Panel shall be citizens of the Commonwealth. No member shall engage in activities requiring him to register as a lobbyist under § 2.2-422 during his tenure on the Panel.

The members shall be nominated by the Committee on Rules of the Senate and confirmed by the Senate by a majority vote of (i) the members present of the majority party and (ii) the members present of the minority party. After initial appointments, all appointments shall be for terms of four years each except for unexpired terms. Nominations shall be made so as to assure bipartisan representation on the Panel.

C. The House Ethics Advisory Panel shall be composed of five nonlegislative citizen members: one of whom shall be a retired justice or judge of a court of record; two of whom shall be former members of the House of Delegates; and two of whom shall be citizens of the Commonwealth at large, at least one of whom shall not have previously held such office. All members of the Panel shall be citizens of the Commonwealth. No member shall engage in activities requiring him to register as a lobbyist under § 2.2-422 during his tenure on the Panel.

The members shall be nominated by the Speaker of the House of Delegates and confirmed by the House of Delegates by a majority vote of (i) the members present of the majority party and (ii) the members present of the minority party. After initial appointments, all appointments shall be for terms of four years each except for unexpired terms. Nominations shall be made so as to assure bipartisan representation on the Panel.

D. Each panel shall elect its own chairman and vice-chairman from among its membership.

E. No member shall serve more than three successive four-year terms. Vacancies shall be filled only for the unexpired term. Vacancies shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointments. The remainder of any term to which a member is appointed to fill a vacancy shall not constitute a term in determining the member's eligibility for reappointment.

F. Three members shall constitute a quorum on each panel. A vacancy shall not impair the right of the remaining members to exercise all powers of the Panel. Meetings of each panel shall be held at the call of the chairman or whenever the majority of the members so request.

G. The members of each panel, while serving on the business of the Panel, are performing legislative duties and shall be entitled to the compensation and reimbursement of expenses to which members of the General Assembly are entitled when performing legislative duties pursuant to §§ 2.2-2813, 2.2-2825, and 30-19.12. Funding for the cost of compensation and expenses of the members of the Senate Ethics Advisory Panel shall be provided by the Office of the Clerk of the Senate and the funding for the cost of compensation and expenses of the House Ethics Advisory Panel shall be provided by the Office of the Clerk of the House of Delegates.

1987, Sp. Sess., c. 1, §§ 2.1-639.42, 2.1-639.43, 2.1-639.44, 2.1-639.51; 1992, c. 443; 2001, c. 844; 2004, c. 1000; 2010, c. 876; 2014, cc. 792, 804.

§ 30-113. Powers and duties of Panel.

The powers and duties of the Panel shall be applied and used only in relation to members of the respective house of the General Assembly for which it is created. The Panel shall establish its rules of procedure, including rules for the conduct of open meetings and hearings.

1987, Sp. Sess., c. 1, § 2.1-639.45; 2001, c. 844; 2010, c. 876.

§ 30-113.1. Records.

If a complaint is dismissed during the preliminary investigation, such records shall remain confidential and be retained for a period of five years and then destroyed. Records related to a complaint that has proceeded to an inquiry beyond a preliminary investigation shall be made available to the public and retained in a manner prescribed by the Virginia Public Records Act (§ 42.1-76 et seq.).

2010, c. 876.

§ 30-114. Filing of complaints; procedures; disposition.

A. In response to the signed and sworn complaint of any citizen of the Commonwealth, which is subscribed by the maker as true under penalty of perjury, submitted to the Panel, the Panel shall inquire into any alleged violation of Articles 2 (§ 30-102 et seq.) through 5 (§ 30-109 et seq.) by any member of the respective house of the General Assembly in his current term or his immediate prior term. Complaints shall be filed with the Virginia Conflict of Interest and Ethics Advisory Council, which shall promptly (i) submit the complaint to the chairman of the appropriate Panel and (ii) forward a copy of the complaint to the legislator named in the complaint. The chairman shall promptly notify the Panel of the complaint. No complaint shall be filed with the Panel 60 or fewer days before a primary election or other nominating event or before a general election in which the cited legislator is running for office, and the Panel shall not accept or act on any complaint received during this period.

B. The Panel shall determine, during its preliminary investigation, whether the facts stated in the complaint taken as true are sufficient to show a violation of Articles 2 (§ 30-102 et seq.) through 5 (§ 30-109 et seq.). If the facts, as stated in the complaint, fail to give rise to such a violation, then the Panel shall dismiss the complaint. If the facts, as stated in the complaint, give rise to such a violation, then the Panel shall request that the complainant appear and testify under oath as to the complaint and the allegations therein. After hearing the testimony and reviewing any other evidence provided by the complainant, the Panel shall dismiss the complaint if the Panel fails to find by a preponderance of the evidence that such violation has occurred. If the Panel finds otherwise, it shall proceed with the inquiry.

C. If after such preliminary investigation, the Panel determines to proceed with an inquiry into the conduct of any legislator, the Panel (i) shall immediately notify in writing the individual who filed the complaint and the cited legislator as to the fact of the inquiry and the charges against the legislator and (ii) shall schedule one or more hearings on the matter. The legislator shall have the right to present evidence, cross-examine witnesses, face and examine the accuser, and be represented by counsel at any hearings. In its discretion, the Panel may grant the legislator any other rights or privileges not specifically enumerated in this subsection. Once the Panel has determined to proceed with an inquiry, its meetings and hearings shall be open to the public.

D. Once the Panel determines to proceed with an inquiry into the conduct of any legislator, the Panel shall complete its investigations and dispose of the matter as provided in § 30-116 notwithstanding the resignation of the legislator during the course of the Panel's proceedings.

1987, Sp. Sess., c. 1, § 2.1-639.46; 2001, c. 844; 2003, c. 649; 2010, c. 876; 2014, cc. 792, 804.

§ 30-115. Subpoenas.

The Panel may issue subpoenas to compel the attendance of witnesses or the production of documents, books or other records. The Panel may apply to the Circuit Court of the City of Richmond to compel obedience to the subpoenas of the Panel. Notwithstanding any other provisions of law, every state and local governmental agency, and units and subdivisions thereof shall make available to the Panel any documents, records, data, statements or other information, except tax returns or information relating thereto, which the Panel designates as being necessary for the exercise of its powers and duties.

1987, Sp. Sess., c. 1, § 2.1-639.47; 2001, c. 844.

§ 30-116. Disposition of cases.

Within 120 days of the chairman's forwarding the signed and sworn complaint to the Panel, the Panel, or a majority of its members acting in its name, shall dispose of the matter in one of the following ways:

1. a. If the Panel determines in its preliminary investigation that the complaint is without merit, the Panel shall dismiss the complaint, so advise the complainant and legislator, and take no further action. In such case, the Panel shall retain its records and findings in confidence unless the legislator under inquiry requests in writing that the records and findings be made public.

b. If the Panel determines in the course of its proceedings that the facts and evidence show that the complaint is without merit, the Panel shall dismiss the complaint, so advise the complainant and legislator, and report its action to the Clerk of the appropriate house, for the information of the House or Senate.

2. If the Panel determines that there is a reasonable basis to conclude that the legislator has violated the provisions of this chapter but that the violation was not made knowingly, the Panel shall refer the matter by a written report setting forth its findings and the reasons therefor to the appropriate house of the General Assembly for appropriate action. All Panel reports, which are advisory only, shall be delivered to the Clerk of the appropriate house, who shall refer the report to the Committee on Privileges and Elections in accordance with the rules of the appropriate house. Said Committee shall in all cases report, after due hearings and consideration, its determination of the matter and its recommendations and reasons for its resolves to the appropriate house. If the Committee deems disciplinary action warranted, it shall report a resolution to express such action. The appropriate house as a whole shall then consider the resolution, and if it finds the legislator in violation of any provision of this chapter, it may by recorded vote take such disciplinary action as it deems warranted.

3. If the Panel determines that there is a reasonable basis to conclude that the legislator knowingly violated any provision of Article 2 (§ 30-102 et seq.), 3 (§ 30-104 et seq.), 4 (§ 30-107 et seq.) or 5 (§ 30-109 et seq.) of this chapter, except § 30-108 or subsection C of § 30-110, it shall refer the matter by a written report setting forth its findings and the reasons therefor to the Attorney General for such action he deems appropriate. The Panel shall also file its report with the Clerk of the appropriate house, who shall refer the report in accordance with the rules of his house. In the event the Attorney General determines not to prosecute the alleged violation, he shall notify the Clerk of the appropriate house of his determination and the Clerk shall send the report to the Committee on Privileges and Elections. The matter shall thereafter be handled in accordance with the provisions of subdivision 2.

4. If the Panel determines that there is a reasonable basis to conclude that the legislator has violated § 30-108 or subsection C of § 30-110, it shall refer the matter by a written report to the appropriate house pursuant to subdivision 2. As its first order of business other than organizational matters and committee work, the house in which the member sits shall immediately upon the convening of the next regular or special session take up and dispose of the matter by taking one or more of the following actions: (i) dismiss the complaint; (ii) sustain the complaint and reprimand the member; (iii) sustain the complaint, censure the member, and strip the member of his seniority; (iv) sustain the complaint and expel the member by a two-thirds vote of the elected members; (v) in the event the house finds a knowing violation, it shall refer the matter to the Attorney General pursuant to subdivision 3.

5. The Panel shall make public any report that it makes pursuant to the provisions of subdivision 1 b, 2, 3 or 4 on the date it refers its report.

1987, Sp. Sess., c. 1, § 2.1-639.48; 2001, c. 844; 2003, c. 649; 2010, cc. 427, 876.

§ 30-117. Confidentiality of proceedings.

All proceedings during the investigation of any complaint by the Panel shall be confidential. This rule of confidentiality shall apply to Panel members and their staff, the Committee on Privileges and Elections and its staff, and the Virginia Conflict of Interest and Ethics Advisory Council.

1987, Sp. Sess., c. 1, § 2.1-639.49; 2001, c. 844; 2014, cc. 792, 804.

§ 30-118. Staff for Panel.

The Panel may hire staff and outside counsel to assist the Panel and to conduct examinations of witnesses, subject to the approval of the President Pro Tempore of the Senate for the Senate Ethics Advisory Panel and subject to the approval of the Speaker of the House of Delegates for the House Ethics Advisory Panel.

1987, Sp. Sess., c. 1, § 2.1-639.50; 2001, c. 844; 2010, c. 876; 2014, cc. 792, 804.

§ 30-119. Jurisdiction of Panel.

The Senate and House Ethics Advisory Panels shall have jurisdiction over any complaint alleging a violation of Articles 2 (§ 30-102 et seq.) through 5 (§ 30-109 et seq.) of this chapter that occurs on or after August 1, 1987, and over any complaint alleging a violation of the Comprehensive Conflict of Interests Act occurring after July 1, 1984, and prior to August 1, 1987.

1987, Sp. Sess., c. 1, § 2.1-639.52; 2001, c. 844.

§ 30-120. Senate and House Committees on Standards of Conduct.

Either house of the General Assembly may establish, in its rules, a Committee on Standards of Conduct to be appointed as provided in its rules and consisting of three members, one of whom shall be a member of the minority party. The Committee shall consider any request by a member of its house for an advisory opinion as to whether the facts in a particular case would constitute a violation of the provisions of this chapter and may consider other matters assigned to it pursuant to the rules of its house.

1987, Sp. Sess., c. 1, § 2.1-639.53; 2001, c. 844.

§ 30-121. Adoption of rules governing procedures and disciplinary sanctions.

Each house of the General Assembly shall adopt rules governing procedures and disciplinary sanctions for members who have committed alleged violations of this chapter.

1987, Sp. Sess., c. 1, § 2.1-639.53:1; 2001, c. 844.

§ 30-122. Enforcement.

The provisions of this chapter shall be enforced by the Attorney General. In addition to any other powers and duties prescribed by law, the Attorney General shall have the following powers and duties:

1. If he determines that any legislator has knowingly violated any provision of this chapter, he shall designate an attorney for the Commonwealth who shall have complete and independent discretion in the prosecution of the legislator; and

2. He shall render advisory opinions to any legislator who seeks advice as to whether the facts in a particular case would constitute a violation of the provisions of this chapter. He shall determine which of his opinions or portions thereof are of general interest to the public and which may, from time to time, be published.

Irrespective of whether an opinion of the Attorney General has been requested and rendered, any legislator has the right to seek a declaratory judgment or other judicial relief as provided by law.

1987, Sp. Sess., c. 1, § 2.1-639.59; 2001, c. 844.

§ 30-123. Knowing violation of chapter a misdemeanor.

Any legislator who knowingly violates any of the provisions of Articles 2 through 5 (§§ 30-102 through 30-111) of this chapter shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. A knowing violation under this section is one in which the person engages in conduct, performs an act or refuses to perform an act when he knows that the conduct is prohibited or required by this chapter. There shall be no prosecution for a violation of § 30-108 or subsection C of § 30-110 unless the house in which the member sits has referred the matter to the Attorney General as provided in subdivision 4 of § 30-116.

1987, Sp. Sess., c. 1, § 2.1-639.54; 2001, c. 844.

§ 30-124. Advisory opinions.

A legislator shall not be prosecuted or disciplined for a violation of this chapter if his alleged violation resulted from his good faith reliance on a written opinion of a committee on standards of conduct established pursuant to § 30-120, an opinion of the Attorney General as provided in § 30-122, or a formal opinion or written informal advice of the Council established pursuant to § 30-355, and the opinion or advice was made after his full disclosure of the facts regardless of whether such opinion or advice is later withdrawn provided the alleged violation occurred prior to the withdrawal of the opinion or advice.

1987, Sp. Sess., c. 1, § 2.1-639.55; 2001, c. 844; 2014, cc. 792, 804; 2015, cc. 763, 777; 2017, cc. 829, 832.

§ 30-125. Invalidation of contract; recision of sales.

A. Any contract made in violation of § 30-103 or § 30-105 may be declared void and may be rescinded by the contracting or selling governmental authority within five years of the date of the contract. In cases in which the contract is invalidated, the contractor shall retain or receive only the reasonable value, with no increment for profit or commission, of the property or services furnished prior to the date of receiving notice that the contract has been voided. In cases of recision of a contract of sale, any refund or restitution shall be made to the contracting or selling governmental agency.

B. Any purchase made in violation of § 30-103 or § 30-105 may be rescinded by the contracting or selling governmental agency within five years of the date of the purchase.

1987, Sp. Sess., c. 1, § 2.1-639.56; 2001, c. 844.

§ 30-126. Civil penalty from violation of this chapter.

A. In addition to any other fine or penalty provided by law, any money or other thing of value derived by a legislator from a violation of §§ 30-103 through 30-108 shall be forfeited and, in the event of a knowing violation, there may also be imposed a civil penalty in an amount equal to the amount of money or thing of value forfeited to the Commonwealth. If the thing of value received by the legislator in violation of this chapter should enhance in value between the time of the violation and the time of discovery of the violation, the greater value shall determine the amount of the civil penalty.

B. A legislator who fails to file the disclosure form required by § 30-111 within the time period prescribed shall be assessed a civil penalty in an amount equal to $250. The Council shall notify the Attorney General of any legislator's failure to file the required form within 30 days of the deadline for filing and the Attorney General shall assess and collect the civil penalty. All civil penalties collected pursuant to this subsection shall be deposited into the general fund and used exclusively to fund the Council.

1987, Sp. Sess., c. 1, § 2.1-639.57; 2001, c. 844; 2012, cc. 283, 756; 2015, cc. 763, 777.

§ 30-127. Criminal prosecutions.

A. Violations of this chapter may be prosecuted notwithstanding the jurisdiction of, or any pending proceeding before, the House or Senate Ethics Advisory Panel.

B. Nothing in this chapter shall limit or affect the application of other criminal statutes and penalties as provided in the Code of Virginia, including but not limited to bribery, embezzlement, perjury, conspiracy, fraud, and violations of the Campaign Finance Disclosure Act Chapter 9.3 (§ 24.2-945 et seq.) of Title 24.2.

1987, Sp. Sess., c. 1, § 2.1-639.61; 2001, c. 844; 2006, cc. 787, 892.

§ 30-128. Limitation of actions.

The statute of limitations for the criminal prosecution of a legislator for violation of any provision of this chapter shall be one year from the time the Attorney General has actual knowledge of the violation or five years from the date of the violation, whichever event first occurs.

1987, Sp. Sess., c. 1, § 2.1-639.58; 2001, c. 844.

§ 30-129. Venue.

Any prosecution for a violation of this chapter shall be brought in the circuit court of the jurisdiction in which the legislator resides, or the jurisdiction in which he resided at the time of the alleged violation if he is no longer a resident of the Commonwealth.

1987, Sp. Sess., c. 1, § 2.1-639.60; 2001, c. 844.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of these sections may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.

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