Home Virginia Politics Sen. Chap Petersen Proposes Ban on Political Contributions from Dominion Power, Other...

Sen. Chap Petersen Proposes Ban on Political Contributions from Dominion Power, Other Regulated Monopolies

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First let me just state the obvious: I have had a LOT of “issues” with Virginia State Sen. Chap Petersen over the past few years on a wide variety not just of issues, but of the way he’s expressed his contempt for those who don’t agree with him.

But let’s give credit where credit is due; this is a superb piece of legislation (“Prohibits any candidate to the General Assembly or statewide office from soliciting or accepting campaign contributions from a public service corporation.”) and one that should be enacted into law ASAP! It’s also something that should be an absolute no-brainer, given that what Sen. Petersen describes below is basically the definition of corruption (also “capture” of the government by ostensibly regulated corporations) (note: of course this bill will NOT pass ASAP, or ever, because many of the members – such as House Speaker Bill “ALEC” Howell – who will be voting are themselves bought and paid for by Dominion Power, etc.)

Press Release: Petersen Bill Will Ban Political Contributions From Regulated Monopolies in Virginia

RICHMOND, Va. – Senator Chap Petersen (D-Fairfax City) has introduced ​last-minute ​legislation ​to​ ban political contributions from regulated monopolies.​​

In the code of Virginia, regulated monopolies are called public service corporations. A list of public service corporations can be found in § 56-1 of the Code of Virginia.

“Monopolies like Dominion or Appalachian Power have an undue influence on the political process,” Petersen said from his office in the General Assembly Building. “That leads to legislation which has a direct cost to Virginia consumers, both residents and small businesses.”

“There’s also a public health benefit to this bill. This is saving the lobbyists for these companies from arm and shoulder maladies due to constantly signing checks to Virginia politicians. That alone justifies the bill,” Petersen said.

Petersen introduced his bill, SB 1593, after the General Assembly ​passed, and the Governor signed, ​a 2015 bill that froze the State Corporation Commission rate review of Dominion Virginia Power and Appalachian Power from 2015 to 2020. According to a review by Petersen’s office, the two major electric utilities ​that benefited from the 2015 legislation ​contributed over a million dollars to members of the Senate and associated PACs from 2010 to 2017.

Earlier in the 2017 session, Petersen introduced a bill (SB 1095) to re-regulate electric utilities when the Trump administration eliminates the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan. The prospect of increased regulation from the plan was used by electric utilities to justify the 2015 rate review freeze.​ The proposal was rejected by the Senate Finance Committee on January 16th.​

Petersen’s campaign finance reform bill will be heard in the Senate Privileges and Elections Committee. Senators on that committee are Vogel (Chairman), Howell, Deeds, Edwards, Reeves, Ebbin, Chafin, DeSteph, Chase, Ruff, Cosgrove, Dance, Spruill, and Peake. The committee is scheduled to meet Tuesday, January 31st at 4:00 p.m.

  • Kindler

    TERRIFIC idea, Chap! Thanks for introducing this bill. It puts the spotlight on all the Dems and Repubs supping from Dominion’s dinner bowl and forces a discussion that is way overdue

    Why, indeed, is a state monopoly, chartered in the public interest, allowed to contribute to the politicians who should be closely regulating and monitoring it? Everyone who covers politics in Virginia knows that Dominion is the most powerful political force in this state. We need to chip away at that power in the name of democracy.

  • vlady47

    Hear! Hear!

  • Virginia Blue

    Very relevant to note here that Ralph Northam has accepted nearly $100,000 from Dominion Power. He refuses to return it and apologize for accepting it. Why I’m voting for Tom.

  • Greg

    About the bill: Hell yes. Addresses a huge conflict of interest. Badly needed.

    About the Chap disclaimer: Rare that people agree 100% of the time, and also rare that people react well to criticism, especially where the fairness of the criticism might be improved. I’ve always known Chap to act in good faith, and he’s one of the most forward thinking representatives in VA politics. Hope there’s some way to bury the hatchet.