I don’t intend to sit in judgment here on Brian Moran’s behavior during last year’s gubernatorial primary or in his dubious choice of a new career. I simply want to pose one question for those who will choose the next chair of the Democratic Party of Virginia: Why would we Democrats put ourselves in a position of never being able to raise questions about lobbying and its influence on contemporary politics by selecting a lobbyist to chair the party?
Let’s be realistic about the role of lobbyists in our political system and the reason that they are paid lucrative salaries for what they do. Their job is NOT to provide vital information to legislators. Their job is to influence those legislators any way they can. What’s the very best way to gain influence with a politician? Hold a fundraiser for him or her, the bigger the contributions the better. Lobbyists and the money they bundle for office holders are part of the cancer that is eating at the heart of our democracy.
Let’s take one simple example from Virginia’s recent past. Ken Cuccinelli received $55,000 from the bogus leader of a bogus charity purported to help navy veterans. What did swindler Bobby Thompson get for his money? Well, as luck would have it, after his election as attorney general, Cuccinelli met with Thompson’s lawyer and did his best to protect Thompson from any oversight. We were able to point out the sleazy nature of that transaction. How much more difficult would that be with a lobbyist at the head of the state party?
We have an alternative. There is another candidate for chair of the DPVA. Peter Rousselot won’t come into office carrying the baggage Brian Moran has. Not only that but Rousselot has made it clear that he considers all parts of Virginia as important. That’s a far cry from the recent past when candidates willing to run have been forced to pay for a poll to convince the DPVA that they should have party support, when Sen. Dick Saslaw can write off any Democrat vying for Robert Hurt’s seat before a Democrat has a chance to even seek it.
I don’t know about you, but I want a party chair willing to change the “politics as usual” in the DPVA that has done little but give the GOPers a far weaker adversary than they should have. I don’t want a lobbyist for an industry under investigation as the next party chair. I want my party back. I want Peter Rousselot to be party chair.