Business as Usual in the Virginia Senate – “Dominion Dick” Saslaw Delivers

Sen. Dick Saslaw (D)

by James C. Sherlock

Associate Press headline Feb. 15: “Virginia Senate Democrats kill electric rate reform bills.”

Fish gotta swim, Senator Richard L. “Dominion Dick” Saslaw gotta be Senate Majority Leader and Chairman of the Virginia Senate Commerce and Labor Committee.

Saslaw has received nearly a half million dollars in campaign donations from Dominion Energy and its previous CEO, Thomas Farrell. The Chairman literally would be cheap at ten times the price.

From the AP:

“The Senate Commerce and Labor Committee on Monday swiftly killed the last of more than half a dozen bills this session that aimed to reform Virginia’s system of electric utility rate review, which is seen by Wall Street investors as favorable to the utilities and by critics as an example of legislative capture by companies with an outsize influence over the General Assembly.”

Dominion sweeping all before it actually gives some sense of stability to the General Assembly.

Below is a list of campaign donations by Dominion Energy and Tom Farrell to the Senators who voted with Dominion on the closest vote, 8-7 to table Virginia HB1132 Electric utility regulation; initial triennial review, requirements, sponsored by Del. Jay Jones (D).

  • Dick Saslaw (D)- $460,508* + Farrell $27,500
  • Tommy Norment (R) – $187,240 (#2 behind Bankers) + Farrell $15,200
  • Louise Lucas (D) – $170,950* + Farrell $5,000
  • Lionell Spruill (D) – $152,569* + Farrell $10,000
  • Mark Obenshain (R) – $99,853* + Farrell $15,000
  • Dave Marsden (D) – $51,236 (#2 behind auto dealers) + Farrell $2,500
  • Lynwood Lewis (D) – $55,000 (#3 behind Planned Parenthood and Realtors)
  • George Barker (D) – $42,227* + Farrell $2,500

*Top Donor

No word on the position of Ralph Northam ($316,751 from Dominion Energy, $21,000 from Tom Farrell) on these bills.

Nothing to see here other than the usual auctioning of votes to the highest bidder.

Dominion has narrowly focused interests and deep pockets, so it literally doesn’t ask for much in the way of support to its position in the few bills that arise every session that affect its interests.

But if readers think businesses like Dominion are the highest bidders behind much of the legislation being pushed through the General Assembly, they should check it out at

The progressive left, both organizations and individual donors, has invested massively in General Assembly Democrats.  The top donors (VPAP) to Virginia politicians in 2020-2021:

  • $1,335,350 Dominion Energy (Richmond)
  • $1,195,460 Pamunkey Indian Tribe (King William) – famous gambling enthusiasts.
  • $1,177,500 Unite America (Denver, CO) – avowedly centrist organization
  • $1,002,500 Bills, Michael D (Charlottesville) – Hedge Fund Manager – Headline: “Major Democratic donor in Virginia aims to counter Dominion donations with his own money”.  He’s at least $330,000 behind the lead horse in 2020-2021.
  • $907,500 Clean Virginia Fund (Charlottesville) – “Clean Virginia is an independent advocacy organization with an associated Political Action Committee, Clean Virginia Fund. Clean Virginia works to fight corruption in Virginia politics in order to promote clean energy and community control over our energy policy. We are motivated by the core belief that our democracy should serve average Virginians over special interests.”  So Clean Virginia Fund gives over $900,000 to Virginia politicians to fight corruption.  Can’t make it up.
  • $600,600 Zinc Collective LLC (Los Angeles, CA) – “We strive for a post-scarcity society by: Creating and capturing value with human-centered, sustainable digital products and services. Redistributing that wealth in a way that rectifies socioeconomic power imbalances.”
  • $558,567 Action Now Initiative LLC (Houston, TX) –  a center-left advocacy nonprofit created by liberal donors John and Laura Arnold.
  • $522,000 Smith, S Sonjia (Charlottesville) – “Smith—the spousal beneficiary of a hedge-fund-husband—has cash to lavish, previously having supported Soros-adoptee and former Fifth District Congressman, Tom Perriello, to the tune of $650,000 in his recent gubernatorial run.”

And they are reaping a bumper harvest.