A few weeks ago, we reported that money in support of Amendment 1 was pouring in from out of state and from major GOP donors, including to Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy. At the time, we asked, why would someone like [“conservative philanthropist” Jay W.] Faison, a conservative from North Carolina, give $25,000 to an effort in Virginia to pass a redistricting amendment? It just seems very random, like suddenly this out-of-state right winger is into good government and fair Virginia districts? Riiiiiight. So clearly, something else is going on here. The question is what, exactly?
Well, today’s another day ending in the letter “y,” and yet another large chunk o’ change from conservative sources in support of Amendment 1 has popped up on VPAP. Check out the screen shot below, which shows that something called “Conservatives for Redistricting Reform” received $50,000 from the “State Government Leadership Foundation.” So what are these groups?
- According to this post on the “Jefferson Policy Journal” (a publication of the climate-change-denying, Trump-loving, Koch-brothers-connected Thomas Jefferson Institute): “Delegate Jason Miyares serves as a Member of the Virginia House of Delegates from Virginia Beach (R – 82nd District). He recently launched Conservatives for Redistricting Reform and is available to speak to groups about this important reform vote, and may be reached at Jason@jasonmiyares.com.”
- As for the “State Government Leadership Foundation,” according to ProPublica, it’s a “Republican dark money group” funded by “Exxon, Pfizer, Time Warner, and other corporations [who] put up at least 85 percent of the $1.3 million the foundation raised in the first year and a half of its existence, starting in 2003.”
- Even worse, according to ProPublica, the “State Government Leadership Foundation…paid for Republican redistricting consultants to draw new congressional district maps in North Carolina. The resulting gerrymander helped flip the state’s congressional delegation to Republicans.” That’s right, this is a PRO-REPUBLICAN-GERRYMANDER group! Now why on earth would they support Virginia’s supposedly (yeah, right) anti-gerrymandering redistricting amendment?!?
- A bit more on this group, again from ProPublica: “In recent years, the foundation has also funded TV ads targeting Democrats during the 2011 Wisconsin showdown over collective bargaining rights; attacking President Obama in Virginia over his energy policy; and accusing teachers unions of ‘destroying our children’s future’…The foundation also gave $1.25 million in 2011 to the Indiana Opportunity Fund, a state-level nonprofit that ran anti-union ads featuring Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels.”
- And: “The foundation’s affiliated organization, the Republican State Leadership Committee, focuses on winning state-level elections for the GOP and also gets corporate money, including from tobacco and insurance giants…Besides running ads attacking Democrats, the foundation was involved in redistricting in several states to, as the foundation put it in a letter to Republican legislators, draw ‘legislative lines that we will have to defend in 2012 and beyond.'”
So, again, can anyone explain why all this right-wing, pro-Republican, pro-gerrymandering money is pouring in to Virginia in SUPPORT of an amendment that’s supposedly opposed to gerrymandering? Hmmm…
P.S. That was, of course, a snarky, rhetorical question; the obvious reason right wingers are supporting this amendment is because they think it benefits them – a LOT!