Following the Virginia Beach shootings a few weeks ago, Governor Ralph Northam called a special session for July 8 to deal with the scourge of gun violence. Yet, despite the horror of what happened in Virginia Beach – and at Virginia Tech; at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut; at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida; etc.; we know GOP leaders like Virginia House Speaker Kirk Cox, House Majority Leader Todd Gilbert and House GOP Caucus Chairman Tim Hugo have repeatedly blocked — and are planning to continue blocking — any measures that might prevent future gun tragedies from happening (Cox, among others, has made this very clear from his tweets, etc.).
Why are Virginia House Republicans like Kirk Cox and Tim Huog acting like this? Mostly, because they are deep in the pockets of the gun lobby, including $700k+ over the years in donations to Virginia Republicans from the NRA (that includes thousands each from the NRA directly to Hugo, Cox, etc.).
Despite these Republicans’ opposition to commonsense gun violence prevention measures, VISA is actually – believe it or not – holding a $5K-per-host fundraiser for Del. Hugo and Speaker Cox today, from 5 to 6:30 PM, at the company’s DC office (325 7th St NW). That’s in addition to all the other corporate donors who have claimed to be cutting ties with the NRA, yet continue donating to folks like Tim Hugo, who is A-rated by the NRA. Given all that – not to mention the fact that Hugo et al have also blocked progress in Virginia on many other issues, from LGBTQ equality to women’s reproductive freedom to the climate crisis to the ERA to…you name it, it’s both astounding and completely unacceptable that corporations like VISA continue showering these folks with $$$. That really needs to stop – and IMMEDIATELY, not sometime down the road.
By the way, it’s worth pointing out that this disturbing nexus of guns and corporate money going to House of Delegates Republicans could play a significant role in determining control of Virginia’s General Assembly this November. Which is why it’s so important that people like Dan Helmer (D), who’s running against Hugo, are calling out VISA for funding these NRA A-rated lawmakers. See below for a video on Helmer’s call by Now This, as well as Helmer’s tweet with additional details here (also see below):
@TimHugo has stopped every commonsense gun law from passing in VA. @Visa has given him $26K to become Caucus Chair and are hosting a fundraiser on Tuesday. They should cancel, demand a refund, and send $ to victims of gun violence #EnoughIsEnough @VisaNews https://t.co/lKRpKd7r8H
— Dan Helmer (@HelmerVA) June 14, 2019
This candidate is confronting VISA for funding his opponent, an NRA A-rated lawmaker pic.twitter.com/gPc3OYocou
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) June 14, 2019
Finally, here’s a press release from Dan Helmer, challenging Hugo’s corporate donors to stop subsidizing gun violence. I couldn’t agree more.
Helmer Challenges Hugo’s Corporate Donors to Stop Subsidizing Gun Violence
Today, Dan Helmer, the Democratic nominee for Virginia’s 40th House District, called on Visa and other corporate donors to Republican House Caucus Chair, Tim Hugo, to seek refunds of their donations to his campaigns. Helmer suggested these organizations send that money to the families of Virginia Beach victims, their families, and other victims of gun violence. Helmer also called on Visa to cancel a $5,000 per person fundraiser they are hosting for Hugo on June 18.
As Republican House Caucus Chair, Hugo helped prevent more than 70 gun safety laws receiving an up or down vote in 2019. He has refused to endorse new gun safety laws after tragedies like Virginia Tech and now Virginia Beach. Hugo has an A-rating from the NRA and has taken thousands of dollars in NRA money. He has voted to allow guns in the workplace and schools; voted to repeal the one gun a month purchase law; voted against enforcing federal gun legislation in Virginia; and voted for Virginia’s “Bazooka” law. Today, more Virginians die from guns than die in car accidents, and Republican House leaders have already indicated that they are unlikely to support commonsense gun safety measures in a Special Session called for July 8th.
Said Helmer, “Gun violence in Virginia demands action and leadership. It’s time to support commonsense measures that would save lives, from universal background checks to bans on dangerous weapons and accessories. Corporate donors to Tim Hugo like Visa have been subsidizing his elections, ensuring our lives are more dangerous. Virginians want to be safe. Visa and Tim’s other corporate donors should stop providing him venues to collect money, demand a refund, and send the money to the families of Virginia Beach victims and other victims of gun violence.”
Helmer’s call for action was featured as a video on Now This. https://www.facebook.com/NowThisPolitics/videos/305443716999527/
In addition to Visa, which has donated $25,650 to Hugo’s campaigns, multiple corporate donors who have cut ties to the NRA have supported Tim Hugo. This includes WalMart ($5,750), United Airlines ($500), Enterprise Rent a Car ($4,500), Citigroup ($4,250), and Bank of America ($9K).
Dan Helmer is a veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, a businessman, and a Rhodes Scholar. He is the Democratic nominee for the House of Delegates in Virginia’s 40th District. His wife, Karen, is a public school teacher, and their sons, Aaron and Harris, attend Fairfax County Public Schools.