Who pays for elections? In Virginia, we’re pretty lucky since we know who pays for our elections. The good folks at the Virginia Public Access Project do a great job of keeping us up-to-date on who is donating money to whom, and how that money is spent.
Today is no different as VPAP reported a $100,000 donation from former Cumberland Resources President & CEO Richard Gilliam to Governor McDonnell’s political action committee. Now for most of us $100,000 seems like an awful lot.
Let’s take a quick moment to put that amount of money into perspective:
In 2007, the average winning campaign for Virginia State Senate spent $490,950.98. Off the top, this $100,000 gift would be a little more than one-fifth the costs to win a Senate race. Now, I know it cost more to win a competitive Senate race so if we take out all those races where the winner received more than 75% of the vote the average becomes $684,338.47. For this hefty price tag a $100,000 contribution only buys 14.6% of a Senate seat.
To take it one step further, Mr. Gilliam has donated $235,000 to Republican PACs or candidates since the beginning of 2010. That’s more than 33% of the cost of a competitive seat in the Virginia Senate.
That’s what we’re up against. One founder of one coal company that was bought out by Massey Energy in 2010 has donated almost one-quarter of a million dollars to Republican efforts to reclaim the Senate.
At this point, I am reminded of the Geico commercial where the two guys crawl out from under a rock and discover that 15 minutes could save 15% on their car insurance because you would have to be under that same rock if you did not know the Senate is the only firewall left in Virginia between the House of Delegates and an all-out assault on the environment.
What would happen if we lost our razor-thin environmental majority in the Senate?
A few of the bills that could then sail through include efforts to urge Congress to defund EPA (HR 72), exempting Virginia mined goods from federal regulation (HB1438), exempting Virginia from participation in federal building code programs (HB1397), just to name a few.
I can’t guarantee anyone where Mr. Gilliam’s money will be spent by Bob McDonnell. Nor, can I guarantee where your money would be spent if you sent it to the DPVA, but I can assure you if you want to fight back against King Coal and send your check to the VA Sierra Club PAC we’re going to put your money to work supporting environmentally minded candidates.
Polluters know how to have their voice heard in Richmond. We know how to get your voice heard in Richmond.
To donate to VA Sierra Club PAC: http://tinyurl.com/4727bfu