Big Money Update

by James A. Bacon

Looks like my post of a few days ago arguing that the Democrats were the party of Big Money in Virginia requires an update. The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that Republican state Del. Nick Freitas, R-Culpeper, will report a $500,000 campaign donation from top GOP contributor Richard Uihlein, an Illinois industrialist.

Taking this monster contribution into account, instead of out-raising Republicans in Big Money donations by a 3½-to-1 ratio, Dems are out-raising them by a mere 3-to-1 ratio. Any authoritative conclusions will have to await the final filings after the election.

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9 responses to “Big Money Update

  1. These are the top donors from last year:

    Amount Donor
    $13,240,649 Republican Governors Assn (Washington, DC)
    $7,650,000 A Stronger Virginia (Washington, DC)
    $6,697,811 Republican Attorneys General Assn (Washington, DC)
    $6,447,324 DGA Action (Washington, DC)
    $5,976,464 Republican Party of Virginia (Richmond)
    $5,650,629 House Democratic Caucus (Richmond)
    $3,463,106 Democratic Party of Virginia (Richmond)

    are we looking at a snapshot and not the complete data for this year?

    I see where the deadline is midnight tonight – perhaps tomorrow
    will provide a more accurate picture?

  2. Those are not single year totals, Larry, but perhaps may be the total amounts over a decade or more. You are about as far off base as possible. You should be doing issue research for your favorite D candidates. No question, this year, the big mo’ is not with the GOP. Yes, more data due over the next day or so….

    • No – you’re wrong Steve – I set the filter to last year 2016-2017 – go do it yourself and see.

      If you set the filter to ALL YEARS – it looks like this:

      Top Donors

      All Candidates and Committees

      Amount Donor
      $31,432,737 Republican Party of Virginia (Richmond)
      $28,949,299 Democratic Party of Virginia (Richmond)
      $28,942,780 Republican Governors Assn (Washington, DC)
      $28,357,434 House Democratic Caucus (Richmond)
      $15,878,104 Virginia Senate Democratic Caucus (Richmond)
      $14,439,092 Republican State Leadership Committee (Washington, DC)
      $13,702,347 Dominion Leadership Trust (Fredericksburg)

      What Jim has done is taken a snapshot BEFORE the deadline for all money to be reported AND he did not do as I did which was look at prior years – which would have been more fair and accurate non-partisan look.

      So I went and did it to show the reality – which is – they both spend a bunch of money – it varies year by year and candidates, contests, other various factors but no, the Dems do NOT spend more money than the GOP – traditionally.

      Yes, the Dems get union money, teacher money, environmental groups money – just as the GOP get corporate, NRA, and evangelical money.

      We know that transparency is an issue – some argue against it all together but to accuse the Dems of Dark money and not the GOP – if that’s the claim – it’s ludicrous on it’s face…

      show me the one for the Dems.. bet you can’t find it!

    • re: ” You should be doing issue research for your favorite D candidates”

      why? the money flows big and wide for both parties… in many elections.. it is what it is. I’d like to see it outlawed all together or some really explicit and tight rules that get rid of the loopholes because the way the laws are written now – it’s a mega shell game anyhow.

  3. This is 2019. The race for governor was not last year, but two years ago. The VPAP data you looked at covered two years (2016-17), not one, so it was multi year. You could have said last election. And for the Republican Governor’s Association and the Stronger VA PAC, the RGA gave money to the PAC, so $7 mill or so is listed twice. That kind of cross pollination is common in both parties and means you cannot take the data at face value sometimes. Another thing to remember is candidates give dollars to the party committees to “buy” mailings on their party’s non-profit USPS permits, swelling the party totals.

    You are correct (and I said it first) that reaching conclusions at this stage is silly because the big dollars flow at the end. Jim is correct that so far this year the momentum is on the Democratic side. When the data is up, run the VPAP search again and do 2018-19.

    The real point of what I see on VPAP is that the state GOP is truly sucking wind and would be broke without national money. Not news.

    Are there similar flow charts for Democratic groups? Probably not, but that makes another point of Jim’s – those “non-partisan” groups doing the tracking are actually one-sided, not fair and balanced, and track only their opponents. It is just not a tactic the Republicans engage in, tracking all the trails and whining about it. That chart shows me the money can eventually be tracked.

  4. https://www.vpap.org/money/top-donors/?year=2016

    With all that party money flowing around, what’s interesting on this list is check out Planned Parenthood, the anti-gun Everytown committee, the League of Conservation Voters, another climate action group and our favorite regulated utility…..and be ready to compare in a few weeks. As Jim and I have noted before, Dominion is getting crushed by the enviros and there is the evidence. Green money doesn’t corrupt, right? 🙂

  5. Nick Freitas – now that’s interesting. Depending on how you view it … Freitas is either a disorganized candidate or the nominated person from the Republican Party getting screwed by the Democrats.

    Here is a good summary … https://www.dailyprogress.com/orangenews/news/nick-freitas-plans-write-in-campaign/article_943b4fa2-be08-11e9-8493-5365432b1562.html

    As usual, one can smell the stench of the Richmond elite-based Byrd Machine without much trouble …

    “State law allows for two elections board members from the sitting governor’s party and a third from the opposition.”

    I’m glad Freitas got the money. I hope he wins his write in campaign. Anything that challenges the power of The Imperial Clown Show in Richmond (regardless of which party is in power) is good for Virginians.

    What next? Somebody bankrolling a libertarian candidate? Heads in the Richmond elite would be exploding if that ever happened. Might even be time to limit campaign contributions.

  6. The conspiracy theories are all internal, the ongoing ideological war. Recall that Freitas participated in kneecapping Chris Peace, and Mrs. Freitas was running a primary against the GOP chair of Senate Finance, Emmett Hanger. Not all are losing sleep over his troubles.

    Bottom line, though, he and his staff just screwed up, failing to check at least two major filing boxes (those that missed only one box got a pass.) Second bottom line, a successful write in campaign won’t be that hard if they can organize it. Smell what you want, the issue is the basic one – either the rules mean something or they don’t and he failed to file in a timely manner. You see things under the bed which are not there because it fits your narrative.

  7. “Smell what you want, the issue is the basic one – either the rules mean something or they don’t and he failed to file in a timely manner.”

    “Bottom line, though, he and his staff just screwed up, failing to check at least two major filing boxes (those that missed only one box got a pass.)”

    You really don’t see the dichotomy in those two statements?

    Do the rules say that “those that missed only one box get a pass” or was that just an arbitrary and capricious violation of the actual rules by some rampallians from Richmond’s elite appointed by Gov Coonman to randomly apply the actual rules? Why not check all the boxes? Why not be able to miss two boxes?

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