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Challenger Jones says Attorney General Herring is using organization to hide donors
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Challenger Jones says Attorney General Herring is using organization to hide donors

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Mark Herring and Jay Jones

Mark Herring and Jay Jones

Del. Jay Jones, the Norfolk Democrat challenging Attorney General Mark Herring in a primary Tuesday, attacked the incumbent in the final week over fundraising.

Herring accepts large sums of money from the Democratic Attorneys General Association, which Jones said disguises some of Herring’s donors.

Jones said Herring and DAGA have a “scheme” to funnel corporate money into Herring’s campaign. Herring reported more than $800,000 of in-kind donations from the organization.

DAGA is funded in large part by corporations such as T-Mobile and Coca-Cola and such electric utilities as Richmond-based Dominion Energy and Detroit-based DTE Energy. DAGA discloses its donors to the IRS, but won’t report again, Jones said, until a month after the Tuesday primary.

But even after DAGA’s donations are disclosed, filing forms don’t reveal if any particular corporation’s donation to DAGA ended up with any particular candidate.

Jonathan Berkon, an attorney at the firm Perkins Coie and general counsel to DAGA, said that “the money is not earmarked for a particular race.”

Jones made a complaint this week to the Virginia elections commissioner about the situation, but Berkon said Jones misunderstands it and that DAGA has complied with the law.

“Mark Herring is using a D.C. PAC to flood Virginia with almost a million dollars in unaccountable corporate money,” Jones said Friday. “It’s making a mockery of the campaign finance system that we have here.”

Herring responded by saying Jones was trying to create a distraction. Herring said he’ll continue focusing on conveying his message to Democratic primary voters.

“I’m focused on my own campaign and making sure that we comply with all of the laws and regulations, which we are,” Herring said.

Mark Herring on why he is the best Democratic candidate for attorney general

Jay Jones on why he is the best Democratic candidate for attorney general

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