Jennifer Carroll Foy releases plan to fight corruption in politics
Democratic Party gubernatorial nomination candidate Jennifer Carroll Foy has released a comprehensive plan to fight corruption in politics and elevate the voice of the people in politics.
For far too long, special interests like Dominion have dominated to buy elections and tune out the voices of everyday Virginia voters.
Carroll Foy’s plan focuses on campaign finance reform and lobbying restrictions in order to strengthen democracy.
“When politicians give special interests a seat at the table, they kick the people out of the room,” said Carroll Foy, a former state delegate. “Virginia has a well-earned reputation for corruption, with two governors facing FBI investigations in the last eight years. It’s far past time to pull back the curtain on behind-the-scenes political dealings with corporations and special interests and close the loopholes that facilitate a rigged system.
“Constituents have a right to know who advises their representatives, and cozy relationships with lobbyists must end. We’ll take action as an administration to stop the undue influence and corruption in our government. In order to serve the people, elected officials need to listen to the people, not special interests.”
Highlights of the plan include:
- Ban political contributions from corporations. Large companies with massive financial resources should not get an elevated seat at the table. Under a Carroll Foy administration, Virginia will follow federal leadership and prohibit corporate donations.
- Limit contributions by individuals, PACs and party committees to candidate committees in Virginia to the federal limit, currently $2,800 per election. Campaign finance limits should preserve the right of individuals to donate to political campaigns, but at levels that don’t allow our legislative process to be purchased by the highest bidders. The Carroll Foy administration will work to impose limits on individual political contributions to candidates with a mechanism to index that limit for inflation in future cycles.
- Ban lobbyists, their immediate family members, and their employers from making political contributions to candidates. This proposal has worked in other states, such as Kentucky, North Carolina, and Tennessee.
- Restrict legislators or state elected officials from lobbying for five years after leaving office. Currently, Virginia has one of the weaker cooling off periods in the nation, banning elected officials from becoming a registered lobbyist and lobbying their former colleagues for only one year after leaving office. The Carroll Foy administration will fight for a longer cooling off period.
- Require candidates and officeholders to disclose the names and clients of any lobbyist who works on their political campaigns, paid or unpaid, or on transition teams for new officeholders. Each Virginia campaign or transitioning officeholder will be required to publicly disclose any lobbyist who has worked with them in any capacity, as well as that lobbyist’s clients, so that their constituents know who is advising them.
- Enact a tax on excessive corporate lobbying and raise lobbyist registration fees. Use the proceeds to boost the resources of legislative staff to increase the independence of legislators from lobbyists. Many legislative positions are underfunded. When lawmakers cannot rely on policy experts paid by taxpayers to advise them on legislation, that vacuum is too often filled by lobbyists funded by wealthy special interests.
- Update and modernize the statutory definition of a “lobbyist” to include shadow lobbyists, requiring all who are engaged in de facto lobbying work to register as a lobbyist and disclose their activity. Current Virginia law does not effectively capture all de facto lobbying activity, as it does not include individuals who are technically employed for purposes other than lobbying, but may still interact with elected officials in a manner that constitutes de facto lobbying.