Voters who wish to make government in the United States more responsive to the public advocate for campaign finance reform. This became an especially salient issue after the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision. This ruling opened the floodgates to unlimited spending in elections if done independently of campaigns and parties. Unlimited political spending is undermining our elections and threatening our Democracy itself.

Virginia campaign finance laws are among the most lax in the nation. As long as the contributions are reported, candidates can spend the funds on anything they desire including personal items. In the General Assembly, it is no wonder that Dominion Power, the NRA and the other interest groups lobbying the politicians wield such great legislative clout.

Citizens United allows political action committees to utilize legal loopholes to establish themselves as “social welfare organizations.” This enables billionaires to funnel millions in campaign contributions without the need to reveal their identities. The secret identity of the donors makes it possible to conceal the source of the money so the public does not know who is behind the political advertisements. It is this concealment that gave rise to the moniker “Dark Money.”

A news article published in The Winchester Star on Oct. 16, 2017, revealed Jill Vogel’s law firm as being in the “Dark Money” business. The article reported that “between 2005 and 2016 PACs and nonprofits that have hired Vogel’s firm spent close to $1 billion on federal elections.” So Vogel’s firm is making a fortune trashing American Democracy.

Finally the news article ends with the statement, “legal experts say that as managing partner of the 13-lawyer firm, Vogel is ultimately responsible for its actions, much as a chief executive is responsible for the activities of a corporation.”

It should now be crystal clear to all voters that Jill “Dark Money” Vogel will not be supporting campaign finance reform. Nor is Vogel likely to drain the swamps in Richmond. You can expect as long as she is in the state Senate where money flows, power goes.

Warren Golightly is a resident of Frederick County.

(2) comments

Cleo

SCOTUS ruled that those organizations would need to become public. We saw who the 4 top Dark Money groups were and who benefits from them and surprise surprise it's all Republicans.

DavidSparkman

No rule or law made by man can prevent evil. The author's complaint about dark money is ignorance on display. A corporation is a group of people legally banding together for a common purpose. The important question is not the word "corporate", but the purpose of the corporation. Individual voters cannot afford even a fraction of the cost of political advertising, so they band together to accomplish that act of "free speech." Of course, the courts have ruled that this is permittable. The evil is when the motive of the corporation is to increase its profits by "buying" politicians. This is the correct definition of fascistic. I would submit, as Bernie Sanders pointed out, that this is most prevalent in the Democrat party. Bernie called it crony capitalism, but it is really just old-time fascism as was practiced by the Romans, Japanese, Italians, and Germans. I think you will find that Senator Vogel's support comes from like-minded political organizations expressing free speech, and not the crony capitalists of the Left.

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