Herring: Political fundraising raffles not permitted under state code

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Political parties and candidates for office cannot use raffles to raise money under Virginia law, per an advisory opinion issued by Attorney General Mark Herring on Tuesday.

The opinion answered a request from Fairfax Democrat State Sen. Scott Surovell, the context of which had to do with several fundraising raffles held by conservative groups in the 2020 election cycle, including one held on Sept. 26 in Fluvanna County that featured a gun raffle benefitting the Bob Good Fifth District congressional campaign.

The Herring advisory opinion notes that a background check would have to be conducted for “any raffle where the prize to be awarded includes a firearm.”

Herring detailed gambling exceptions in Virginia Code for “charitable gaming”, which says “nonprofit organizations may ‘raise funds by conducting raffles,’ but the expenditure of the derived proceeds is limited to the ‘lawful religious, charitable, community or educational purposes’ for which the organization ‘is specifically charted or organized.’”

The AG goes on to say that “(a) political party is not an entity specifically chartered or organized for religious, charitable, community, or educational purposes. Likewise, a campaign for a candidate seeking elected office does not qualify.”

Virginia’s expanded background checks, according to Herring, apply to firearms that are being raffled saying, “the laws that require Virginia citizens to obtain a background check before purchasing a firearm apply with equal force to those who win a firearm in a raffle.”

 


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