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The adage, “He doesn’t practice what he preaches” has a literal application to the times and practices of former Gov. Tim Kaine, Hillary Clinton’s increasingly challenging choice for her running mate. This saying applies in particular when you review his acts when in office and his antithetical public assertions.

The New York Times reported Sunday that Kaine had accepted numerous gifts from lobbyists, and other interested entities during his tenure as Gov. for Virginia. The estimated value of the “gifts” exceeded $160,000, and Kaine loyalists are quick to say none of these tokens of appreciation were tendered on a quid-pro-quo basis– it’s just the kind of thing that happens when you are a person in a position of power.

Similar to the Governor’s Purported Position on the death penalty, Kaine reacts in public slightly differently than he does in real life. Publicly he criticizes the gift giving practice in his state; privately he accepted the gifts. Publicly he condemned the death penalty, in practice, he enforced the executions. The Times reports that “After he was elected to the Senate, Mr. Kaine publicly urged the Virginia legislature to tighten state ethics laws, saying he had concluded that the more stringent rules in Congress were appropriate.” He told the Washington Post that “Gifts to elected officials can create a subconscious sense of gratitude in even the most upright public servants.” His philosophy is consistent with the old ethical dilemma concerning conflicts of interest: The more valuable the “gift”, the cloudier the perceived conflict becomes.  

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