A Compelling Case for Campaign Finance Reform – Virginia Commonwealth’s Attorneys

by James C. Sherlock

Remind me why, exactly, Virginia permits massive out-of-state campaign contributions to dominate local races.

I can’t hear you.

Because we do, an out-of-state organization is by far the biggest donor to Virginia Commonwealth’s Attorneys races in elections of local prosecutors.

Justice and Public Safety PAC, based in Washington D.C., utterly dominates support to the campaigns of progressive district attorneys in Virginia.  That PAC receives most of its funding from billionaire George Soros and his Democracy PAC.

VPAP reveals that Justice and Public Safety PAC‘s list of biggest donations have been:

  • $861,039  to Biberaj for Loudoun County Commonwealth Attorney – Buta. That amounted to nearly all of the campaign funding not contributed by the Biberaj family.
  • $621,145 to Dehghani-Tafti for Commonwealths Attorney – Parisa (Arlington/Falls Church). It contributed more than 75% of her total fundraising. She received $11,362 from San Francisco-based Real Justice PAC.
  • $601,369 to Descano for Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney – Steve. See Descano’s top donors. It speaks for itself.
  • $177,231 to Faheti for Norfolk Commonwealth Attorney – Ramin. When we examine the average spent by winners in November 2021 elections, we see that Mr. Faheti was the spending leader (select Commonwealth’s Attorney) in a landslide. He spent five times as much money as any other Commonwealth’s Attorney winner in the November 2021 election. Other major Faheti donors were Brooklyn’s Working Families Party and Soros’ D.C.-based Democracy PAC.

So, Virginia’s highest profile county and city Commonwealth’s Attorneys are being funded primarily with out-of-state money. Perhaps some enterprising reporter can ask about that every time one of the prosecutors listed above steps to a microphone.

And perhaps the General Assembly can rethink Virginia’s open borders policy when it comes to campaign donations.

Limits on out-of-state donations would be a terrific improvement to the already ground-breaking HB 85, along with limits to corporate and PAC donations that will attract Democratic support.

Both caucuses can scan what 90% of other states have set as campaign donation limits to come to a compromise.

Democrats. Hawaii is a deep blue state. Start there. Contributions from non-Hawaiian residents may not make up more than 30% of the total contributions of a candidate for office. Look at Massachusetts’s PAC limits. Look at Rhode Island, California.

Republicans. Missouri is a red state. Look there. Look at North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Arkansas.

There is a bipartisan deal to be had if both sides have seen enough.

Certainly the citizens have.