Home Virginia Politics VA Tobacco Commission-Funded Liberty U Ad Funds Attacks on Immigrant Children as...

VA Tobacco Commission-Funded Liberty U Ad Funds Attacks on Immigrant Children as Diseased


On Monday, Virginia House Minority Leader Del. David Toscano (D-Charlottesville) published an op-ed in the Virginian-Pilot entitled, Big mess at Tobacco Commission. According to Del. Toscano, the recent resignation of State Sen. Phil Puckett, which apparently was in part in exchange for a promised job at the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission (aka, the “Tobacco Commission”), “raises new questions” about said Tobacco Commission. It’s pretty sketchy when you read what Del. Toscano says about it. For instance:

*”Over the years, the commission has funded a wide variety of projects. But unlike our state budget process, it is not always clear why certain things get funded. Millions of dollars are awarded, but without much evaluation of their effectiveness.”

*”A 2011 review by our legislative watchdog, the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission, found that 89 percent of all Tobacco Commission awards were not linked with any outcome metrics.”

*”It has a 31-member board. Of the elected officials on the board, there are no Democrats.

*And last but not least: “The Tobacco Commission spent $20 million to create a new medical school at Liberty University.

That’s right, a bunch of Republicans with a pot of hundreds of millions of dollars to play around with gave $20 million of that money to Jerry Falwell’s “evangelical mega-university”, a school that believes its mission is to “redress perceived wrongs to Christians, to reclaim the public square and reassert Christian political authority” and that teaches “young earth Creationism” (question: how can you claim to be a medical school while denying one of the underlying principles to modern biology – evolution?!?), and which revoked recognition of the school’s college Democrats’ chapter, arguing that the “‘Democratic Party platform is contrary to the mission of Liberty University and to Christian doctrine’…citing the party’s positions on abortion and federal funding thereof, same-sex marriage, hate crimes, LGBT rights, and socialism as justification for the dissolution.”

That’s right, this far-right, overtly political “college” received $20 million from the Republican-dominated Virginia Tobacco Commission. Keep in mind that that $20 million could have gone to many other potentially worthy projects, such as anti-smoking efforts and smoking-related health care/Medicaid costs. Instead, the Republican-controlled Virginia Tobacco Commission decided to send that money to the fundamentalist, extremist “school” (using the word loosely) that Jerry Falwell founded. That’s bad enough, but check this out. That’s right, Liberty University advertising dollars are funding the insane, hate-speech advertising you hear on the recording, ranting about immigrant children as supposedly “diseased.” Here’s raging homophobic and Islamophobic extremist Cal Thomas:

No nation can exist for long if it fails to control its borders. An estimated 290,000 “illegals” have poured across our southern border just since April. These include 50,000 children. There are regulations requiring vaccinations and reporting to a court for adjudication, but who thinks any of that will happen? Visit the Department of Homeland Security’s web page and see the list of those ineligible for admittance to this country when they carry a list of diseases. Can anyone guarantee these kids have been vaccinated and don’t have diseases? Media reports indicate at least some are carrying disease of one kind or another. This is all about votes of course. Democrats think they can create another permanent underclass that will be beholden to them and get their votes when the become citizens, or who knows, perhaps even before…Build a fence before dealing with those already here. If we don’t we’ll lose the America we inherited from our forebears…

At a time when our values and our faith are under attack, Liberty University is building a foundation to help the next generation prevail in a hostile culture. Offering classes both online and at its residential campus in Lynchburg, Virginia, Liberty University is instilling the desire in students to return America to its founding principles. Furthermore, Liberty is training champions for Christ, strengthening their faith and challenging to triumph in a changing world. For the sake of your children and our country, learn more online at liberty.edu/champions.

That’s right, Liberty University, which has received $20 MILLION from the Virginia Tobacco Commission, is sponsoring these insane (not to mention wildly exaggerated, hyperbolic, etc.) ravings through its advertising dollars. And, de facto, so are Virginians, who have seen this money go to Liberty U. instead of to any number of other possible recipients. Why is that? Again, I’d note that the Tobacco Board is dominated by Republicans like Jerry Kilgore, the guy who offered Phil Puckett a job in exchange for him throwing the State Senate to Republican control. Any further questions?

  • ir003436

    This article disturbs me (I started to say “This article pisses me off,” but I can’t say that on BlueVA) and I’m certain every other reader has the same reaction.

    So — what to do about it?  

    I plan to:

    1.  Copy the article and send it to the 50 or so people on my local Democratic Party mailing list.

    2.  Copy the article and post it on my county Democratic Party website (with proper attribution, of course).

    3.  Use the article as the basis of letters to the editors of the newspapers that serve my region.  Encourage other Democrats to do the same.  Slam the Tobacco Commission and the Republican-dominated General Assembly for not providing oversight.

    4.  Write to my Republican “representatives” in the HOD and the state Senate, demanding action to get the Tobacco Commission under control.  Then, I’ll visit their offices with the same demands.  I see my HOD member from time to time and the next time I see her, especially if it’s a public setting, I’ll hit her with this.

    What will you do??

  • Don’t we need to talk about funneling 20,000,000 public dollars into church coffers?

    Is there a technicality I’m missing here?  Somebody set me straight.

  • ericd

    Should this be something our Attorney General investigates?  Who is in charge of who sits on the Commission board?  The Governor?  Can anyone bring suit for mis-allocation of funds?  

  • kindler

    I mean, other than to bribe governors and senators.  

    Virginia needs to quit this useless, corrupt institution cold turkey.

  • The Richmonder

    Just as Chris Christie got control of the Sandy relief funds for New Jersey and used them to advance his political agenda, the Tobacco Commission’s funds are being used as a slush fund for the RPV to pay off their cronies.

    The Puckett Affair is going to open up a lot of RPV activities to federal investigation.