You Can’t Afford To Pay To Play in Virginia

Two days ago, the Washington Post highlighted the large amount of money that groups have already donated to the Virginia elected officials they lobby.  The nonchalant attitude these groups have towards the hundreds of thousands of dollars they spend to buy access and influence in the Commonwealth is emblematic of the severe lack of accountability that exists amongst these high donor special interests groups. 

These lobbyist groups freely admit that “contributions are all about the opportunity to be heard” and “giving is all about relationships” in a time when everyday Virginians are hurting and need their representatives to listen to them more than ever.

Average Virginians should never have to pay for their representatives to listen to them and their desire for jobs.  Their needs should never be second to the lobbyist with the deepest pockets.  In a Richmond culture – that has absolutely no limit to donations – it is time to take a hard and honest look at who our elected officials are really working for.  

The Washington Post also reports that Gov. Bob McDonnell now has more than twice as much money at this point than did his Democratic predecessor, Tim Kaine.  Furthermore, they go on to share that McDonnell’s top donors include coal mining and tobacco companies, as well as Wal-Mart:

“Consol Energy, one of the nation’s largest coal mining companies, has donated the most money — $157,010 — to McDonnell’s PAC, Opportunity Virginia, since the start of the election cycle, in January 2010, according to VPAP.

The Pittsburgh company is followed by Bob Perry, a Houston homebuilder and major political contributor ($125,000); Perry’s wife, Doylene Perry ($125,000); Richard Gilliam, founder of Cumberland Resources coal mining company ($100,000); Randal J. Kirk, a billionaire Radford businessman ($100,00); Star Scientific tobacco company ($79,868); Alpha Natural Resources (75,000); Marvin Gilliam, a Cumberland executive ($75,000); Smithfield Foods ($60,000); and Wal-Mart ($51,000).”

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