Sensible finance bill
dies without voting tally
In his Feb. 23 article, RTD reporter Patrick Wilson highlighted the tragic demise of a common-sense campaign finance bill that would have limited legislators’ personal use of campaign donations. After passing in the House of Delegates by a vote of 100-0, lawmakers on the Virginia Senate floor bemoaned specious concerns related to deducting pizza expenses while campaigning. The senators ignored the fact that Virginia is one of the few states where legislators can spend unlimited campaign funds to fly to Paris or to augment their investment portfolios.
The article correctly states that there is no voting record on this bill. Nor was there a vote on another campaign finance bill that had a hearing in the House — the bill sponsored by Del. Lee Carter, D-Manassas, concerned banning corporate contributions to legislators.
Three decades ago, a report to then-Gov. L. Douglas Wilder advocated for campaign finance reform legislation. It’s pretty clear that democracy reform in our commonwealth still hasn’t gotten big money out of politics. Nor does reform extend to transparency on how these bills were voted down in the statehouse. It’s time to call your legislators to tell them to take action on getting money out of politics.