Public Comments for: HB71 - Campaign finance; prohibited contributions to candidates, Phase I Utility and Phase II Utility.
Last Name: Nicholls Locality: Chesapeake

HB71 - VEPCO's comments on 2/1/22 were that they had first amendment rights. They do, but NOT to run this state and its people into the ground in the name of profits. Virginia: owned and operated by VEPCO is a saying that should not occur but it is. HB85, HB174, 205, 524, 575, 973, 1296, 1302 - This helps the people. Please move to report.

Last Name: Nicholls Locality: Chesapeake

HB205: This legislation would make it illegal for an election official to accept money from any individual or entity except the government to fund an election, protecting public elections from influence by private wealthy individuals and entities. HB71: If adopted, this bill would add protection from bias to elections. It would protect from corruption in the marketplace by prohibiting public utility entities from making financial contributions to candidates campaigning for political office.

Last Name: Morrissey Organization: Money Out Virginia/American Promise Locality: Sterling, Loudoun County

Our team from Money Out Virginia, the VA affiliate of the nation-wide American Promise campaign finance reform advocacy organization, worked hard this past year with the "Joint Subcommittee to Study Comprehensive Campaign Finance Reform," and produced a "Citizens' Report" for the Subcommittee that articulated principles and priorities for improving transparency, preventing corrupt campaign finance practices and moving towards more equity in campaign financing in Virginia elections. The partnership between the Subcommittee and Money Out Virginia has resulted in a series of important bills that improve the requirements, process and electronic infrastructure for disclosure of campaign donations. We strongly support Delegate Bulova's HB 492, HB495, and HB500, Delegate Helmer's HB489, Delegate Anderson's HB86 and Delegate Davis' HB125, which provides for penalties for violations of disclosure laws. We also support Delegate Bulova's HJ53 to extend the mandate of the Joint Subcommittee so that we can continue our partnership in developing sensible campaign finance reforms for Virginia.

Last Name: Morgan Organization: VA Chapter of American Promise Locality: Alexandria

I'm the coordinator of the VA Chapter of American Promise. Ideally, we wouldn't need to pass this type of legislation because VA, like 22 other states and the federal government, should ban corporate contributions so this wouldn't be needed. In the absence, however, of any limitations bill which levels the playing field for donors, our group generally supports this bill. Clearly contributions from state-regulated monopolies to legislators who vote on bills influencing these entities is perceived by the public as a conflict of interest. At least 5 states specifically prohibit public utility companies from making contributions to candidates for public utility commissions, including Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, New Mexico, & Oklahoma. So there is precedent in applying this type of rule to public utilities in Virginia.

Last Name: Stephen Spitz Locality: Falls Church in Fairfax County

Virginia is one of only five states that has no limits on the amount of money any individual, corporation, or other entity can contribute to candidates for public office. Virginia is the only state that permits candidates to spend campaign donations on whatever they want. It is past time for Virginia to have real campaign finance reform. The public strongly supports campaign finance reform. Please take this issue seriously this session. I strongly support HB 973, HB 71, and HB 575. There is an inherent conflict of interest for State regulated monopoly public utilities to make contributions, let alone unlimited contributions, to those who are responsible for regulating them. There is a strong public perception of corruption in Virginia when there are no limitations whatsoever on how much money can be donated to candidates nor any restrictions on how such money can be spent. My own State Senator brags that he is the largest recipient of money from one of the public utilities and also openly states that he launders money from that utility to give to other candidates. That does not give me or my neighbors confidence that he is representing out concerns rather than his funders. The Virginia Way of pay-to-play must end if we are truly going to be a democracy. The proposed campaign finance limits should be reduced to match the limits for Federal candidates. I believe it is reasonable for there to be a child care exception to the ban on personal use of campaign funds. Public confidence in elections and elected officials will only increase if the public does not have the perception that their elected officials are “bought” by special interests. The time for comprehensive campaign finance reform is now. Thank you for your consideration.

Last Name: Stephen Spitz Locality: Falls Church in Fairfax County

Virginia is one of only five states that has no limits on the amount of money any individual, corporation, or other entity can contribute to candidates for public office. Virginia is the only state that permits candidates to spend campaign donations on whatever they want. It is past time for Virginia to have real campaign finance reform. The public strongly supports campaign finance reform. Please take this issue seriously this session. I strongly support HB 973, HB 71, and HB 575. There is an inherent conflict of interest for State regulated monopoly public utilities to make contributions, let alone unlimited contributions, to those who are responsible for regulating them. There is a strong public perception of corruption in Virginia when there are no limitations whatsoever on how much money can be donated to candidates nor any restrictions on how such money can be spent. My own State Senator brags that he is the largest recipient of money from one of the public utilities and also openly states that he launders money from that utility to give to other candidates. That does not give me or my neighbors confidence that he is representing out concerns rather than his funders. The Virginia Way of pay-to-play must end if we are truly going to be a democracy. The proposed campaign finance limits should be reduced to match the limits for Federal candidates. I believe it is reasonable for there to be a child care exception to the ban on personal use of campaign funds. Public confidence in elections and elected officials will only increase if the public does not have the perception that their elected officials are “bought” by special interests. The time for comprehensive campaign finance reform is now. Thank you for your consideration.

Last Name: Martin Locality: Fairfax

Voting is a constitutional right. Any law that restricts rather than expands our constitutional right & DUTY to vote is simply voter suppression. We must not repeal any expansions of absentee ballots. Do not decrease early voting. - extend the number of days allowed. Do not eliminate any ballot box locations- expand. We have no need to re-register absentee ballots every year. No excuse absentee voting is absolutely crucial. The state must provide easy and free access to voter ID if a photo is required. Since the USPS has slowed considerably, we must keep the 3 day rule for receiving ballots after election day. All local elections must be on Election Day (in Nov). Election Day should be a holiday. Until we do a complete overhaul of campaign finance & eliminate dark money/special interests there must be no restrictions on outreach, education & registration or from where a candidate may collect funds. Voter registration up to and including Election Day is absolutely crucial to ensure all citizens vote. I support all bills expanding our rights and abilities to make voting as easy as possible. I oppose all bills attempting to restrict any access to our ballot and our vote. The process is too important for the elected officials to be able to restrict us from our duty to be informed voters. Keep expanding our rights. Do not restrict, suppress or subvert them.

End of Comments