Imagine my shock at reading a Virginia Mercury story that a joint legislative subcommittee empaneled to study reforming Virginia’s half-century-old, anything-goes political finance law was off to a crawling start.
(For those who don’t know that I am a hopeless smart-ass, the preceding paragraph was meant to drip with sarcasm.)
As one of just 11 states that impose no limits on the amounts donors can give to candidates, Virginia has long been considered the Wild West frontier of political money. Candidates can even spend what their campaigns raise on personal perks, something the federal government and at least 47 other states forbid.
Take all you want from rich uncles, Fortune 100 corporations, dominant regional utilities and in-state industries — you name it — but disclose all you take, including by name, address and other identifying information. That’s the way it has been since the current campaign finance law was adopted in 1970.
It’s been such a sweet deal for the powerful and those who seek elective power for more than two generations that, if you were one of the system’s beneficiaries, would you be in a hair-on-fire hurry to close the spigot?