By Steve Haner
Renewable energy donor Clean Virginia Fund was the biggest winner in Tuesday’s Democratic primaries, going head to head against Dominion Energy Virginia in several nomination contests and often winning. Senior incumbent Democrats with strong Green New Deal voting records went down to defeat, because good wasn’t good enough. Continue reading
Ben Paviour at Virginia Public Media has fleshed out additional substantial details on the political activities of Power for Tomorrow, a utility advocacy group with major funding from Dominion Energy Virginia.
Questions asked and issues hinted at by this report on Bacon’s Rebellion now have more clarity.
Yes, Paviour found quite a few Virginia incumbent legislators are being supported by the group, not just Senators George Barker (D) and Siobahn Dunnavant (R). Other beneficiaries include Senator Joe Morrissey (D), Senator Scott Surovell (D), Delegate Delores McQuinn (D), Delegate Buddy Fowler (R) and Delegate Emily Brewer (D). Most but not all are involved in party nomination contests.
Yes, there is a strong correlation with the people receiving support from Power for Tomorrow not receiving support from Clean Virginia, with the exception of Surovell. He has received help from both. Along with the mailings mentioned before, Power For Tomorrow is also spending on digital advertising (as Clean Virginia also does.)
Paviour also found the group is active in South Carolina, another Dominion Energy state, attacking a proposal that South Carolina utilities be forced to join a regional transmission organization. He turned up the 2021 IRS 990 report for “Power 4 Tomorrow,” but of course that is now out of date. The IRS reports for these groups lag badly.
The key issue that somebody needs to keep watching is how all of this is reported – or not – in campaign finance disclosures. No question now, these are political expenses intended to influence an election. Period. Power for Tomorrow still only shows up as having a registered lobbyist on the Virginia Public Access Project database, with no mention of any campaign donations. That is the point where this may be stretching Virginia law and should irritate voters who care about transparency.
An image of Hala Alaya’s answer to a question on Clean Virginia’s candidate questionnaire, released by it in response to her breaking of that pledge.
by Steve Haner
Prince William Democrat Hala Ayala, who had pledged not to accept campaign contributions from Dominion Energy Virginia and took money instead from its opponents, has now accepted $100,000 from the regulated monopoly. Heads are exploding.
Del. Haya Ayala, D-Prince William
The anti-Dominion activist group Clean Virginia had given her $25,000 in her bid for the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor. Now is has announced it will dump $125,000 into a last-ditch digital campaign to defeat her in the June 8 primary. Early voting in the primary has been underway for weeks, however. Early voters upset by this cannot call their ballots back.
Final pre-primary finance reports were released early in the week and word of the contribution quickly hit the Twitterverse, then sparked stories in today’s Richmond Times-Dispatch and Virginia Mercury. Continue reading
by Steve Haner
Two Virginia Democrats who have been loyal soldiers in the army to turn Virginia green as well as blue are under attack in the June 8 primary for the sin of accepting campaign donations from Dominion Energy. It doesn’t matter to the attacker – our old friend Clean Virginia — that Dominion is moving in lockstep with the Democrats to undermine Virginia’s reliable generation mix and replace it with expensive and unreliable renewable power.
The House Democratic Caucus is responding by attacking the “dark money billionaires” who are going after their colleagues. Who? By that they would have to mean that same Clean Virginia, funded mainly by the personal fortune of hedge fund mogul Michael Bills and his wife. The same two people who did more than anybody to give Democrats that majority in the first place.
More proof, in case you needed it, that it is not your enemies you need to watch in politics but your friends. The Democrats started to lose their grip on this state 20-30 years ago because in their lust for power they fell out among themselves, and here we go again. Bring popcorn.
The basics: Delegates Steve Heretick, D-Portsmouth and Candi Mundon King, D-Prince William, face primary challengers. The primary challengers have received major funding from something new called Commonwealth Forward PAC. But as The Virginia Star reported this morning, its money actually comes from Bills and Clean Virginia. Continue reading
Click for clear view. Dominion Energy Virginia donations to legislators on the House Labor and Commerce Committee, compiled by Energy and Policy Institute from VPAP reports.
by Steve Haner
The first major showdown over last-ditch efforts to change the rules on the coming Dominion Energy Virginia rate case occurs Monday in a subcommittee where six delegates received a total of $80,000 from the utility in 2020, and four received $67,500 from its self-appointed watchdog Clean Virginia.
The chair of the subcommittee, Del. Richard “Rip” Sullivan of Arlington, received $15,000 from Clean Virginia, but the chair of the full Labor and Commerce Committee, Del. Jeion Ward of Newport News, might sit in the meeting, as is within her authority. Dominion contributed $50,000 to her campaign in 2020. Both are Democrats. (If Ward is there, the total Dominion donations in the room will reach $130,000.) Continue reading
Capitalist Michael Bills of Clean Virginia: “Dividends are Bad”
By Steve Haner
The big money behind the Clean Virginia activist group was all earned by a Charlottesville hedge fund manager through the great American system of capitalism. That didn’t stop his organization from a recent attack that could have come from Communist Party USA. This one would have made Bernie Sanders blush.
Dominion Energy is paying out dividends in the middle of a pandemic! Shocking.
“Dominion Energy is transferring nearly $3 billion dollars from Virginia families and small businesses to Wall Street shareholders at a time when people are still struggling to stay in their homes and keep the lights on. This is economic injustice at its starkest,” said Clean Virginia Executive Director Brennan Gilmore.” See this news release.
I know I pick on Clean Virginia all the time. Somebody has to call it out. This cannot simply be stupidity. They have to know these statements are nuts and they hurt their own cause.
“The record payouts will arrive on the heels of a new Virginia budget that allows Dominion Energy to pocket over half a billion dollars of customer overcharges while forcing Virginia customers to pay for all outstanding debt that is owed to the monopoly…”
“A new Virginia budget, expected to go into effect next week, compels no refunds of the $502.7 million Dominion overcharged customers since 2017 and puts the financial burden of the COVID-19 crisis and economic fallout on the shoulders of Dominion’s captive Virginian customers, allowing shareholders to pocket excess profits…”
Whatever excess profits Dominion Energy Virginia has earned in the 2017-2020 period are still hanging out there, accounted for somehow on the utility’s books. It is a lie to say they have now been pocketed by shareholders in the 2020 dividend payout. It is also a lie to say the new budget bill allowed that to happen. Continue reading