Is Dominion CEO Thomas Farrell Skirting Lobbying Rules?


    ( – promoted by lowkell)

    Photo from Blue Ridge Leader

    Dominion CEO Thomas Farrell isn’t influencing legislation, he’s just sitting next to his childhood friend while he signs a bill at Dominion headquarters.

    At least, that’s what they’d have us believe.

    The recent revelations of the Virginia Tobacco Commission giving Dominion millions of dollars in corporate welfare beyond what the mega-corporation even asked for, in order to build a pipeline through Virginia land, lead to some embarrassing and potentially illegal details.

    It looks like McDonnell’s childhood friend and shadow governor hasn’t registered as a lobbyist for FIVE AND A HALF years, since April 2009:  

    Despite this, VPAP lists Farrell giving McDonnell lavish meals in summer and fall 2009: $303 for “Catering” in May 2009 and $166 for “Meeting Expenses” in October 2009 – and a whopping $60,000 in direct donations. Then, he was a chair of McDonnell’s transition team, responsible for handing out patronage appointments.

    Are we expected to believe that lobbying activity ceased at this point when, it seems, no one in Virginia was a more potent lobbyist than Thomas Farrell?

    If he had registered as a lobbyist in 2008-9, then certainly he would have ample reason to re-register. But McDonnell’s lawyers never met a gift they didn’t lie about.

    The lobbying rules for Virginia are very strict – people must register if they try to affect any of the following:  

    “1. Preparation, research, drafting, introduction, consideration, modification, amendment, approval, passage, enactment, tabling, postponement, defeat, or rejection of a bill, resolution, amendment, motion, report, nomination, appointment, or other matter by the General Assembly or a legislative official;

    2. Action by the Governor in approving, vetoing, or recommending amendments for a bill passed by the General Assembly; or

    3. Action by the General Assembly in overriding or sustaining a veto by the Governor, considering amendments recommended by the Governor, or considering, confirming, or rejecting an appointment of the Governor.”

    Interestingly, Thomas’ own son, 20-something multimillionaire Peter Farrell, was gifted a seat in the General Assembly by a county committee decision of four people in 2011. From 2010 to the present, VPAP indicates that Thomas has outstanding loans to his son of more than $50,000. Meanwhile, they made a Civil War movie flop together – with $1 million in Virginia tax incentives and goodies. We are somehow meant to believe he never discusses legislation with his lawmaker son.

    The fine for failing to register as a lobbyist is a civil penalty of $50 per day, a rounding error to a man who taxes our power bills an extra $11 million per year just for his own personal compensation. (I guess we see why that $30 million gift from Virginia taxpayers was necessary.)

    Why did Thomas Farrell stop registering as a lobbyist in April 2009, seven months before his close friend was elected Governor and two years before his son got in office?

    Maybe there’s a loophole big enough to drive a pipeline through.

    • ir003436

      Don’t you realize that the rich and powerful have very different rules from the rest of us?  

      YOU might be concerned about a trivial matter such as following the lobbying laws, but, you aren’t a childhood friend of Governor Rolex.


    • Enki

      Come on now, first it was accusing TollBooth Bob of breaking Federal laws and regulations, now we’re going after his childhood friends?  When friends can’t exchange $30-million here and there, what kind of world are we leaving for our children?  Will our children be expected to follow the laws of the Commonwealth?  You people just don’t understand.  These laws were meant for the “common people” (thus the Common-wealth) not for those who breath rarefied air. Next thing you’ll be expecting these citizens to serve their time in prison when sentenced.  Take a drive on Carey Street in Richmond, no not down by Blvd, but all the way out on the West End.  Do you live in houses like that?  Of course not.  Exposing the lifestyles of the rich was abandoned by Robin Leach, you should do the same.  Expect a spike in your power bills.  

    • ir003436

      The level of snark and sarcasm on this thread is a bit more than usual.

      Must be too much liquid Christmas cheer.

      Or are the peasants about ready to take up pitchforks and torches??

    • Elaine in Roanoke

      I remarked recently on Facebook that we are now living in an oligarchy (rule by a small elite), not a representative democracy. A friend replied that he thought we had gone beyond oligarchy and now had “government” by plutocracy with far too much influence by theocrats. He may just be right…

      Dominion certainly owns the government of Virginia.