Sunday, April 19, 2009

Who Knows, Maybe 80% of Defense Contractors Just Oppose the Surry Plant?

All three candidates have faced criticism over fundraising in this primary campaign.

Criticism over Terry McAuliffe’s fundraising from his Wall Street and Hollywood pals, and Brian Moran’s singular appeal to defense and homeland security contractors, led to several questions and barbs at today’s debate.

At one point, naturally enough, Andrea Mitchell asked whether Virginia needs campaign finance limits like the Federal government. It’s a Beltway thing.

Not that anyone should care what I think one way or another about this, but, FWIW, I think the system we have in Virginia is pretty good.

First, I strongly oppose campaign contribution limits in general. It’s not that I don’t appreciate the corrupting nature of money in politics in general, because I do. But I believe that the ability to donate money to a political campaign is a matter of free speech and personal choice that government ought to stay out of. As much as it pains me to agree with George Will about anything, McCain-Feingold is a law with the best of intentions, and the worst of solutions.

Do some people donate to candidates for shady reasons? Sure they do, but the sunshine of disclosure is the best cure for that particular problem. Indeed, the current debate we are having in this primary is a perfect example.

Maybe you think that Brian Moran is getting all those defense industry donations because of his powerful brother, Jim Moran, and his position on, and close relationship with John Murtha, the powerful chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. Maybe you agree with Terry McAuliffe that the U.S. Attorney ought to look into it.

Or perhaps you are convinced Brian Moran is receiving the preponderance of donations from this industry because, for some strange reason, the defense and homeland security industries, more than any other, oppose the construction of the Surry coal fired plant. (Hey, could be!)

Actually, I’m not really bothered by, but I am a little suspicious of, the reason behind the defense and homeland security largess that is bestowed upon Brian Moran. I don’t think for a moment that there is any quid-pro-quo involved with it or that Brian Moran is party to any chicanery, but I am undecided on the question of whether he the knowing, unwitting beneficiary of some chicanery.

As for Terry McAuliffe, I’m similarly not bothered by his huge out of state donations. “I have friends,” McAuliffe says. I say, G-d bless him, I should have some friends like that.

The point is that the Virginia system both allows and compels us to ask these questions. And to come up with our own answers. Furthermore, these are debates worth having – they go directly to the quality, integrity and ability of our political leadership.

But the guy whose fund raising issues have most perturbed me throughout this primary is Creigh Deeds. While he had a great first quarter, raising money in small donations from people all around Virginia, he’s still not doing enough of it. So, if you’re among the 2 or 3 people to have read this far in the post, drop the guy a few sheckels, will ya?

I’ve got an ActBlue Page


Go to Creigh’s Website


  1. This blog is great. Thanks for supporting Creigh!

  2. The fact is that there is no free speech as long as the powerful corporations are considered to be "people" with the same civil liberties. The corporate propaganda in our public square (they so "own" the media) prevents the average citizen from being able to effectively exercise their free speech rights. Doubt it?

    Citizens cannot even buy advertisements to speak out if the corporations don't agree with the message.

    So I believe we won't get sane legislation until we the people finance the elections with a level playing field .....then "people" will have free speech again and our legislators will begin to listen to us rather than be bought and sold by the highest corporate bidder.

  3. There is an argument to be made that barring corporate contributions is not an affront to free speech. I'd need to think about that a bit, but I see your point.

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