There are many great things about Virginia, of course – some of the best public colleges and universities in the country, for instance. But when it comes to campaign finance, ethics, a professionalized legislature, etc., it’s pretty much a complete debacle. For instance, in Virginia, powerful state-regulated-monopoly-utility Dominion Energy gets to lobby and donate unlimited amounts of money to the very legislators who are supposed to be regulating it. Then there’s the issue of Virginia being governed as if we’re still back in an agrarian, 18th/19th-century society, in which “citizen legislators” showed up once a year for 45 days or whatever, with minimal staff and very low compensation (also not nearly enough professional staff), to write the laws for our Commonwealth, which now has nearly 9 million people and an enormous/complex economy.
Anyway, it’s good to see advocates for democracy and good government rallying today in Richmond. Check out their press release, below, which notes that “The Coalition for Integrity recently ranked Virginia 43rd in its state-by-state S.W.A.M.P. Index analysis, which ranks states based on campaign finance reform laws and government transparency”; and that “Polls show that a vast majority of Virginians support these measures, but legislators continue to claim that they are not a priority.” Also, check out video of their press conference (“Speakers from BigMoneyOutVA, UpVote Virginia, FairVote, RepresentUs, Common Cause, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, including Legislators Anderson, Favola, Helmer, Shin, Watts, Davis, and Glass.”). And, of course, contact your state legislator to let them know that you “support legislation that would ban the personal use of campaign donations, set campaign contribution limits, implement ranked-choice voting, and increase disclosure requirements for
campaigns and donors.”
Good Governance Groups Host In-person Democracy Day Lobby Day at General Assembly
RICHMOND, VA – On January 24th, 2023, good governance advocates from across the Commonwealth will descend on the Virginia Capitol to demand action from the legislature on campaign finance and good governance reforms. They support legislation that would ban the personal use of campaign donations, set campaign contribution limits, implement ranked-choice voting, and increase disclosure requirements for
campaigns and donors. Cosponsors of the event include BigMoneyOutVA, UpVote Virginia, FairVote, Common Cause, The Impact Project, RepresentUs, Clean Virginia, The National Transparency Project, the Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN) Action Fund, American Promise, and Freedom Virginia.
Advocates believe that Virginia cannot afford to ignore these issues any longer. The Coalition for Integrity recently ranked Virginia 43rd in its state-by-state S.W.A.M.P. Index analysis, which ranks states based on campaign finance reform laws and government transparency. Polls show that a vast majority of Virginians support these measures, but legislators continue to claim that they are not a priority. A subcommittee created to
address these issues during the off season failed to meet even once in 2022 to address these issues. With that in mind, advocates will be demanding action in this year’s General Assembly session.
To learn more about these issues, please join us on January 24th at 8AM for a rally at the Bell Tower (in Capitol Square), followed by a press conference at 8:30AM in the House Briefing Room in the Pocahontas Building (900 East Main Street, Richmond, VA 23219), where cosponsors will discuss their support of these measures and bill patrons of relevant legislation will be invited to explain and advocate on behalf of their bills. Advocates will spend the remainder of the day at the Capitol testifying to legislation in committees, meeting with legislators, and attending workshops on relevant legislative topics. Organizers will be gathering in the
Shenandoah and Tidewater rooms in the Truist building and press is invited to attend. You can see more details about the event here.