To the editor:
A shout out to local Virginia legislators, State Sen. Adam Ebbin and Delegate Elizabeth Bennett-Parker, who voted for all the campaign finance bills introduced in our General Assembly this year. After the most expensive elections in Virginia history, including an influx of out of state money funding obscure attack ads aimed at candidates of both parties, citizens know it’s past time for Virginia to move away from pay-to-play politics.
Key legislators understood this too, introducing 24 bills aimed at providing more accountability and transparency in our lax campaign finance system. Virginia is plagued by an inability to monitor and enforce existing campaign finance laws, weak disclosure regulations, a lack of contribution limits for candidates – and, most egregiously, no rules limiting the personal use of campaign donations. Consequently, Virginia places a pathetic 46th in the S.W.A.M.P. Index, a national ranking of states based on transparency and ethics regulations.
Yet at the end of the legislative session, only four campaign finance bills are still in play as many legislators used various means to block common-sense legislation aimed at making Virginia’s elected officials accountable to voters. As chair of the influential Privileges and Elections Committee, Ebbin consistently voted for every campaign finance bill that came before his committee. In addition, Bennett-Parker, along with U.S. Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) and Virginia 8th District candidate Victoria Virasingh (D), signed our American Promise MoneyOut pledge affirming their commitment to campaign finance reform.
Recent polling results released by the Watson Center revealed that 78% of Virginians, irrespective of party, support reducing the influence of deep-pocketed donors. Maybe this won’t be the year of campaign finance reform in Virginia, but history is on our side. We are proud that our legislators are champions of good governance.
-Nancy Morgan, coordinator, Virginia Chapter of American Promise