Who’s buying their votes? And why? Deep dive into campaign finance

campaign money

Photo Credit: kentoh

Money makes the American political world go ‘round, to borrow from the old saw.

Candidates need money to run campaigns. That much is obvious. TV and radio ads, newspaper spots, Facebook ads, flyers, it all costs money, gobs of it.

Where does it come from?

In Virginia, where there are no upper limits on how much any one person or entity (cough-cough PAC) can contribute, the bulk comes from those with a vested interest in making sure laws are written, and stay written, to their benefit.

PACs are political action committees, which operate by getting people with like minds on whatever the issue may be to put their money together, hire lobbyists, and make sure those who represent us know what they’re thinking.

The way those lobbyists make sure they’re in the room where it happens is through campaign donations, and in a state with no upper limits on how much can be given, it can get to be a bit ungodly.

We can pretend that the money, in denominations of $500, $1,000, $2,000, $5,000, $10,000 and more, isn’t what it is, but, seriously.

Insert Name of PAC Here isn’t throwing money around to candidates here, there and everywhere because it has any kind of actual interest in good government of the people, by the people and for the people.

The money guarantees access. It makes it so that your calls get returned when you have a problem. It gets your lobbyist in with the committee staff when legislation is being drafted, gets you a sidebar conference during markup.

We spent way too much time today going page for page through the campaign reports of our local candidates for the General Assembly.

What follows is a snapshot, looking specifically at PAC money on those reports.

20th House District

John Avoli

  • Virginia Dental Association PAC $2,500
  • Virginia Beer Wholesalers Association $2,000
  • Virginia Wine Wholesalers $2,000
  • Virginia Beverage Association $1,000
  • Virginia Automobile and Truck Dealers PAC $500
  • Virginia BankPAC $500
  • Virginia Propane Gas Association $500
  • Virginia Taxicab Association $500

Jennifer Lewis

  • Clean Virginia Fund PAC $2,500
  • VA NOW PAC $600
  • People for the American Way $500

24th House District

Ronnie Campbell

  • Virginia Dental Association PAC $4,000
  • Carpenter Legislative Program of Greater Pennsylvania $3,000
  • Virginia Transportation Construction Alliance PAC $2,500
  • American Electric Power Committee for Responsible Government PAC $1,000
  • Southern States PBA PAC Fund $1,000
  • Fedex Corporation PAC $600
  • HCA for Good Government $500
  • Realtors PAC of Virginia  $500
  • The Doctors Company Virginia PAC $500
  • Virginia BankPAC $500
  • Virginia Sheriffs’ Association PAC $500
  • Verizon Good Government Club of Virginia $500

Christian Worth

  • Clean Virginia Fund PAC $2,500
  • Together Virginia PA $939.50
  • Local Alliance for Urban Rural Advancement $500

25th House District

Chris Runion

  • Virginia Dental Association PAC $2,500
  • Virginia Wine Wholesalers PAC $2,000
  • Virginia Beverage Assocation PAC $1,000
  • Virginia Taxicab Association PAC $1,000
  • Virginia Automobile and Truck Dealers PAC $750
  • I-81 Federation PAC $700
  • Home Builders Association of Virginia HBAV Build PAC $500
  • Associated Builders and Contractors of Virginia $500
  • Virginia Bankers Association BankPAC $500
  • Virginia Credit Union PAC $500
  • Virginia Equine Political Action Committee $500
  • Virginia Poultry Growers Cooperative PAC $500
  • Virginia Propane Gas Association PAC $500

Jennifer Kitchen

  • Vote Mama PAC $2,500

26th House District

Tony Wilt

  • Virginia Transportation Construction Alliance PAC $7,500
  • Virginia Dental Association PAC $3,500
  • Betting on VA Jobs PAC $3,000
  • Realtors PAC of Virginia $3,000
  • Virginia Beverage Association PAC $2,250
  • Virginia Beer Wholesalers Association PAC $2,055
  • American Electric Power Company Virginia Committee for Responsible Government $2,000
  • Maritime Issues Council $2,000
  • Metro Virginia PAC $2,000
  • Virginia Cable Telecommunications Association PAC $2,000
  • Virginia Wine Wholesalers PAC $2,000
  • Virginia Beer Wholesalers Association PAC $1,555
  • Virginia Poultry Growers Cooperative PAC $1,500
  • Norfolk Southern Corporation $1,250
  • Service Corporation International PAC $1,250
  • Associated General Contractors of Virginia Inc. PAC $1,000
  • Comcast Corporation $1,000
  • Committee for Effective Government Virginia Natural Gas Inc $1,000
  • International Paper Political Action Committee $1,000
  • Let’s Grow Virginia PAC $1,000
  • Medical Facilities of America $1,000
  • NiSource Inc PAC $1,000
  • Raytheon Political Action Committee $1,000
  • Reed Smith LLP PAC $1,000
  • Virginia Association of Health Plans PAC $1,000
  • Virginia Bankers Association PAC $1,000
  • Virginia Credit Union PAC $1,000
  • Virginia Manufactured & Modular Housing Association PAC $1,000
  • Virginia Ready-Mixed Concrete Association PAC $1,000

Brent Finnegan

  • Green Advocacy Project $10,000

24th Senate District

Emmett Hanger

  • Virginia Hospital Association PAC $22,792.63
  • Virginia Health Care Associaton $20,250.12
  • Medical Facilities Of America $20,000
  • Virginia Dental PAC $16,500
  • Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield $14,000
  • Virginia Wine Wholesalers $13,000
  • Altria Client Services $11,000
  • Williams Mullen Clark & Dobbins $10,309.44
  • Unite Virginia $10,000
  • Virginia Beer Wholesalers $8,000
  • Medical Society of Virginia PAC $7,500
  • Virginia Beverage Association $7,500
  • Anheuser Busch $7,000
  • Magellan Health $7,000
  • HCA for Good Government PAC $6,500
  • Virginia Beverage Association $6,500
  • Virginia Society of CPAS PAC $6,500
  • Huntington Ingalls Industries $6,000
  • NVTC TechPac $6,000
  • UnitedHealth Group $6,000
  • Dominion PAC $5,500
  • Pfizer Inc $5,250
  • Virginia Association of Health Plans $5,000
  • Virginia Association of Personal Care Providers $5,000
  • Amazon $4,500
  • Virginia Cable PAC $4,500
  • Engineering Companies of Virginia PAC $4,000
  • Facebook, Inc $4,000
  • Merck Sharp & Dohme $4,000
  • Raytheon PAC $4,000
  • CVS Caremark $3,500
  • Maxim Healthcare Services $3,500
  • McGuire Woods $3,500
  • Micron Technology, Inc $3,500
  • Betting on VA Jobs $3,000
  • Mednax Inc $3,000

Annette Hyde

  • Clean Virginia Fund PAC $5,000
  • Mid Atlantic Laborers Political Education Fund $1,000
  • Virginia AFL-CIO $500

Story by Chris Graham


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