Interesting analysis by VPAP, looking at Virginia General Assembly members who “accept political donations from Dominion Energy and those who take money from Clean Virginia.” Overall, from 2019 to 2023, Dominion Energy (the state-“regulated” monopoly utility) donated $3.5 million to House of Delegates members and $2.7 million to State Senate members, while Clean Virginia (which argues that Virginia “should be leading the transition to a clean energy future,” but that “legalized corruption is holding us back”) donated $2.6 million to House of Delegates members and $683k to State Senate members. According to VPAP:
Why we are publishing this data: Once again, electric utility regulation is a major issue this year in the Virginia General Assembly. We were interested in understanding how political donations might suggest fault lines in the debate. For decades, Dominion Energy has been the state’s largest corporate political donor and has lobbied for a regulatory and rate structure favorable to its shareholders. In 2018, Dominion Energy was a donor to 121 of 140 members of the legislature.
That same year, Michael Bills of Albemarle County devoted part of his personal fortune to set up a political counterweight to Dominion Energy. His Clean Virginia Fund called on more robust oversight by the State Corporation Commission on behalf of ratepayers. Clean Virginia also began making political donations in amounts that rivaled those of Dominion Energy. Clean Virginia had one stipulation: Recipients had to pledge not to accept money from regulated public utilities (such as Dominion Energy).
Five years later, the data shows this rivalry has largely reorganized the legislature into one of two camps. Some 130 of 140 current state legislators have either accepted money from Dominion Energy (but not Clean Virginia) or accepted money from Clean Virginia (but not Dominion Energy).
Also interesting, very few House and Senate members take money from NEITHER Dominion Energy nor Clean Virginia, with the overwhelming majority taking from one or the other. As for the partisan breakdown, Clean Virginia money has gone almost exclusively to Democrats, while Dominion Energy gives to both parties…