Our View: Common Good (defined)

Posted: March 19, 2014

How does one define “common good”? Well, here in Virginia, it seems, you don’t even get a bite at that apple until you pony up. A cool $100,000 is the going price, though you can provide a letter or a word to the definition — and perhaps even an idea or two — for a few bucks less.

Common Good VA, in case you haven’t heard, is Gov. McAuliffe’s new PAC. As hard-boiled political commentators Paul Goldman and Norman Leahy stated in their Washington Post blog, 100-large will get the donor “special access to (Mr.) McAuliffe and the governor’s policy advisers.”

Is it our imagination, or didn’t Bob McDonnell invite all kinds of trouble by allegedly granting “special access” to Jonnie Williams?

The governor, political fund-raiser extraordinaire in an earlier life, obviously believes he can navigate that minefield. And yet, as Messrs. Goldman and Leahy observe, “(H)ow can (Mr.) McAuliffe ever do anything for these donors — as well as the ones who get less access for only giving $50,000 — without sending everyone to the penitentiary? What do federal prosecutors do when such donors wind up on a university board or if the governor makes an appearance or says something in public that results in good publicity for their businesses?”

Good questions awaiting answers. One answer already revealed is why Mr. McAuliffe pushed for a special session to resolve differences over Medicaid. When the Assembly adjourns and a special session is called, pols are free to fund-raise. The governor apparently had plans that wouldn’t wait.