Monday, November 30, 2020
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Following Dominion’s Money and Influence

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Dominion Leadership Trust Top Donors photo DominionLeadershipTrustMoneyIn_zpsbf5a109f.jpg Yesterday I discussed the few members of our General Assembly who haven't been directly touched by Dominion. One such fellow is Delegate Bloxom (R-Eastern Shore/Norfolk). However he has received funds from a PAC that Dominion has generously supported for years: Dominion Leadership Trust. Dominion is this PAC's second largest contributor.

Over the years, Dominion Leadership Trust, just one of many PACs Dominion Resources supports, has "invested" $10,973,016 influencing Virginia government. Though Dominion Resources' portion of that amount accounts for only about 4.4% of the total, that places the corporation second among those with clout in a PAC of like-minded members. And looking at the top donors, it is quite a gallery of influence. Dominion Resources leverages its direct donor influence by having a hand setting the agenda across the political spectrum in any number of PACs.

There is another gent on yesterday's list who has received funds from Dominion Leadership Trust: that would be Delegate Farrell (R-56th). Comparing the amounts the two received is a lesson in influence. Bloxom received $66,874 and Farrell $2,500. While Dominion Resources can only be attributed 4.4% of those amounts ($2980 and $111 respectively) when they respond (even if they did the math) to Dominion Leadership Trust, Dominion Resources's objectives get the attention corresponding to the greater amount.

The single contribution to Farrell did not occur until after he was elected to the House of Delegates and after his first two full sessions. Of the contributions to Bloxom, on the other hand, about $60,000 was reported during his campaign for a seat formerly held by Democrat Lynnwood Lewis and the remainder in the month after Bloxom's election. Dominion Leadership Trust accounted for over 43% of the funds "raised" by Bloxom. To whom is Delegate Bloxom beholden? It isn't the grassroots.  

Financing Responsive Government In Virginia

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Dominion's Beneficence photo 140917VPAPDominion_zpsd270d10a.jpgCurious about who's benefited from Dominion's concern for Virginia's political process, I thought I'd survey the contributions to candidates reported on The Virginia Public Access Project. Intending to provide a roster of recipients, it became clear that it is easier to list General Assembly members who have missed the beneficence.

    Members of the Virginia Senate who are not beholden to Dominion:
  • None

    Members of the Virginia House of Delegates who are not beholden to Dominion:
  • Sullivan, Richard C. (Rip), Jr. (D-48th)
  • Rasoul, Sam (D-11th)
  • Lindsey, Joseph C. (D-90th)
  • Farrell, Peter F. (R-56th)
  • Bloxom, Robert S., Jr. (R-100th)
  • Berg, Mark J. (R-29th)
  • Adams, Leslie R. (R-16th)

The range of contribution amounts ranges wildly from a quarter thousand to a quarter million dollars and seems directly proportionate to some combination of seniority and influence. The fact that the highest percentage of contributions (but not by far: 54 to 43) goes to Republicans follows that logic but I have not looked at trends over time. The "honor rolls" for both chambers will be presented separately.