So totally hypothetically, let’s just say you lived in a state where it was legal for an ostensibly state-regulated monopoly to de facto buy up the legislature and state regulatory agencies? Let’s also say, hypothetically, that said state-regulated monopoly was the most powerful corporation and political player, by far, in the state. And let’s also say, hypothetically, that this situation bothered you, so you got together with some of your fellow Virginia citizens to try and do something about the deplorable situation? Would you then be the subject of a hit piece, presumably fed to the stenographers at the Washington Post by said state-regulated monopoly and/or its bought-and-paid-for lackeys in the state legislature?
Well, sadly, this is not at all hypothetical, because it appears that’s exactly what just happened in the Washington (Com)Post, with the Dominion hit piece, “Good-government or quid pro quo? Anti-Dominion pledge raises eyebrows in Richmond.” I don’t even want to repeat the crap in this story, but in brief, Dominion and its allies are arguing that what’s bad here in Virginia is NOT that they’ve completely corrupted our political system, but that a group of concerned citizens has banded together – as is 100% their right to do, of course – to try and COMBAT that corruption.
The group is called Clean Virginia, and its not-so-nefarious (but clearly threatening to Dominion et al) mission is “is fighting to prevent publicly-regulated monopolies from influencing the politicians who should be working for our communities.” How they go about doing that is simple:
Through civic education and organizing, Clean Virginia works to ensure that Virginia voters understand the costs to Virginia jobs, electricity rates, and security from Dominion’s monopoly influence in Richmond. And through political and donor outreach we work to ensure that elected officials who stand up for clean governance, clean energy, and clean competition have the support of the people.
Clean Virginia is prepared to provide clean, no-strings attached campaign financing for candidates who sign a pledge to refuse money from Dominion Energy. The need for campaign finance will no longer be an excuse to take money from the corporations we expect our representatives to oversee on our behalf.
So what’s the supposed “quid pro quo” here? Clean Virginia offers to replace Dominion’s corrupting money, not so that Clean Virginia can get rich (note that this is a NOT-FOR-PROFIT group, so by definition it’s not there to make a profit – duh!), but to reduce Dominion’s stranglehold on our political system. In short, Clean Virginia tells politicians, we’ll give you money NOT to be on Dominion’s payroll. And that’s bad…how, exactly? I mean, I don’t know how many times I’ve heard progressive legislators tell activists (myself included) that if we want them to give up money from Dominion or other unsavory corporations, that we should work to replace it, because they’re not going to unilaterally disarm and because they need that money to help Democrats win elections. But then when a group of citizens actually goes about doing just that, Dominion and its henchmen feed a story to the (Com)Post about how it’s a “textbook quid pro quo,” ergo apparently not legal? Niiiiice.
Just take a step back here and think about this for a second: it’s not Dominion Energy, the powerful and well-heeled monopoly that’s bought up our political system – which is the problem here, but the group of citizens who are trying to reduce Dominion’s nefarious influence. This is classic up-is-down, hot-is-cold, right-is-wrong, Alice-in-Wonderland/through-the-looking-glass, upside-down, false-equivalency bullshit.
In sum, the world of Dominion (and its bought-and-paid-for enablers) is one in which it’s FINE for them to control our state’s government, but it’s NOT FINE – maybe even illegal – for a group of citizens to try and wean politicians away from a powerful corporation’s money and corrupting influence – in this case Dominion’s. Crazy, I know. Fortunately, there is one bright spot from this ridiculous hit piece: namely, the clear “tell” that Dominion feels threatened enough to try and sabotage Clean Virginia’s efforts. Which, of course, means that Clean Virginia is doing something right and far from backing down, should double down on it.
P.S. The most revealing line in the (Com)Post story is this one: “Dominion spokesman David Botkins declined to comment.” Because why does he need to comment, when the story was probably pitched, if not dictated, by…him. LOL