Public Comments for 01/26/2022 Privileges and Elections - Subcommittee #2
Last Name: Early Locality: Chantilly

I support both these bills. Private money brings in and opens the door to corruption.

Last Name: Loper Locality: LEESBURG

I support these bills. As demonstrated in similar instances, private money opens the door to signifant risk of corruption untelible for our great Commonwealth annd her constituents.

Last Name: Messina Locality: Loudoun

I support these bills. Private money brings in and opens the door to corruption.

Last Name: Davidson Locality: Loudoun

I strongly support these bills.

Last Name: Gilmore Locality: Loudoun

I support these bills. Private money causes corruption.

Last Name: Ballard Locality: Fairfax

I support these bills. Private money brings in and opens the door to corruption.

Last Name: Jonnes Locality: Loudoun county Ashburn

I am in favor of HB205 HB1101

Last Name: Lai Locality: Loudoun county Ashburn

I am in favor of HB 1101

Last Name: George Locality: Loudon County, Leesburg

HB205 and HB1101

Last Name: Ray III Locality: Loudoun

I support these bills. Private money brings in and opens the door to corruption.

Last Name: Cooper Locality: Loudoun County

I support these bills to keep private money, gifts from buying off state and local elections and officials in Virginia. Even under the purest motives, private election funding given to government offices is inappropriate and creates distrust. I am a minority here in Virginia. We work hard to take good care of our family. I am not a millionaire or billionaire, and I have no issue with those who are, but they should NOT be allowed to buy off our election officials and their offices. It is wrong to allow private funding of our government offices by anyone. Thank you for appreciating my position. Please show your support for minorities and regular Virginians by supporting. Do not pass it by or lay it on the table, but vote YES and pass it out of committee. Thank you

Last Name: Cooper Locality: Loudoun County

I support these bills to keep private money, gifts from buying off state and local elections and officials in Virginia. Even under the purest motives, private election funding given to government offices is inappropriate and creates distrust. I am a minority here in Virginia. We work hard to take good care of our family. I am not a millionaire or billionaire, and I have no issue with those who are, but they should NOT be allowed to buy off our election officials and their offices. It is wrong to allow private funding of our government offices by anyone. Thank you for appreciating my position. Please show your support for minorities and regular Virginians by supporting

Last Name: Clarke Locality: Eastville

If you care about Virginia and every person as a voter, I urge you to pass HB205 - Wachsmann and also HB1101 – LaRock to keep private money from influencing and buying off state and local elections and officials in Virginia. The companion bill to this was passed yesterday in the Senate P&E committee it is now up to you to pass this bill in the House P&E! Even under the purest motives, private election funding given to government offices is inappropriate and creates distrust. We work hard to take good care of our family. I am not a millionaire or billionaire, and I have no issue with those who are, but they should not be allowed to buy off our election officials and their offices. It is wrong to allow private funding of our government offices by anyone. Thank you for appreciating my position. Please show your support for minorities and regular Virginians by supporting HB205 - Wachsmann and also HB1101 – LaRock today in this committee. Do not pass it by or lay it on the table, but vote YES and pass it out of committee. Thank you

Last Name: Mott Organization: VA Chapter of American Promise Locality: Arlington

Jessica Mott, VA Chapter of American Promise: HB86 (publicly accessible database): We support this bill. A recent poll indicates that 88% of Virginians support public disclosure of all contributions. This enactment of this bill would strengthen disclosure by requiring that the database containing the information from campaign finance reports be publicly accessible, searchable, and sortable. It also requires that the Board of Elections set standards that should help ensure that the data is complete, accurate, and helps verify compliance with campaign finance legal requirements. Its adoption should help facilitate the efficient use of algorithms and electronic cross-checking to promote compliance by reporting entities and the reliability of the information in the database. It compliments the other proposed disclosure bills, HB495, HB500 and HB489, as well as the proposed oversight bill HB492. HB489 (electioneering): We support this bill, Its passage would help reduce one significant form of dark money support by making this support transparent. It adopts a definition of electioneering that is already utilized in other jurisdictions. It would help ensure that campaign finance disclosure includes not only ads that directly advocate support or opposition to candidates, but also ads close to election dates that imply support or opposition in ways that are likely intended to influence election outcomes. It also requires public disclosure within ads of top 3 donors. SB318, its counterpart, was approved by the Senate with bipartisan support on January 24th. HB 492 (record retention, guidance and review): We support this bill. It deals with a number of issues discussed by the Joint Subcommittee on Campaign Finance. It requires improved instructions for report forms, along with assistance to campaign offices, and clearly defines the campaign office responsibilities for record retention for expenditures above $500. It addresses a fundamental gap in oversight by providing the Department of Elections with the authority to review campaign finance reports and records. The proposed sample sizes are cost effective and appropriate (100% of state-wide candidates, 10% of state legislature candidates and 1% of other offices for campaigns costing more than $25,000). These and other provisions should help enable cross-checking of data, and the use of algorithms for campaigns and reviewers to identify and address report shortcomings related to completeness, accuracy and compliance. We note that it would help ensure meaningful implementation of proposed HB973, restricting personal use of campaign funds. HB495 (electronic filing): We support this bill. We commend the inclusion of electronic filing of independent expenditures, as well as by all candidates except for candidates running for local office who raise less than $25,000. It addresses measures that were discussed and agreed in principle by the Joint Subcommittee on Campaign Finance Reform. The parts of it pertaining to candidates are largely comparable to SB222 which has been approved by the Senate P&E Committee and was approved by unanimous vote by the Senate on January 24. HB500 (electioneering): We support this bill. We appreciate that it enhances disclosure by expanding advertisement provisions to include more forms of electioneering communications. Thank you for the opportunity to comment. Thank you for this opportunity to testify.

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

Nancy Morgan, Coordinator of the VA Chapter of American Promise. Our group supports this bill which provides a valuable updating of definitions in the Virginia Code to allow all legislation to be more legally in tune to the challenges of money flowing into our elections from undisclosed sources. It was a recommendation of the CLC to the Joint Study committee to update many of these definitions in the code.

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

Nancy Morgan, Coordinator of the VA Chapter of American Promise. We support this bill. 88 percent of Virginians want full disclosure, including of independent expenditures. Last year nearly $7 million of opaque ads were funded which was used to attack candidates of both parties. This bill introduces reporting requirements on all independent expenditures as well as improving reporting by candidates and committees. We also appreciate the requirement that all reports be filed electronically. It also closes a loophole which forces out-of-state monies, such as through out-of-state PACs, to be reported to the Dept of Elections. One critical element is that all of this reporting, including independent expenditures, be available to the public through a web based, user friendly portal. This was a recommendation to the Joint Subcommittee on Campaign Finance (which met over the August-October period) by the Campaign Legal Center.

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

Nancy Morgan, Coordinator of the VA Chapter of American Promise. We support this bill because critical to the foundation of a campaign finance system is a solid structure of monitoring and enforcement. Virginia, as mentioned in the Joint Subcommittee, currently doesn’t have the ability to provide oversight of existing regulation, such as the “Stand-by-your ad” nor does it have the regulatory oversight capacity to undertake basic monitoring of campaign finance reports. Part of the reason, VA ranks 46 out 50 in the SWAMP index, a ranking of states based on criteria related to transparency and accountability is deficiencies in enforcing its own regulations. This bill moves to address key deficiencies within the Department of Elections, which include lack of ability/authority to monitor and audit campaign finance reports, require retention of records and identify inconsistencies in filing.

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

Nancy Morgan: Members of the VA Chapter of American Promise support this bill which addresses many of the gaps in the Virginia code related to ensuring more accountability for funding of ads, whether on-line, radio, TV, and print. It addresses independent expenditures also, as does a very complementary bill submitted by Delegate Bulova. 88 percent of Virginia voters want disclosure and more transparency in reporting. We thank Delegate Helmer for this bill which addresses some of the gaps highlighted in the Joint Sub-Committee on Campaign Finance Reform which met last year. It also addresses recommendations on improving disclosure in Virginia by the Campaign Legal Center. This bill mirrors a bill being introduced on the House side by Senator Favola which has passed through the Senate P&E committee and was approved by the Senate on Jan. 24th by a bipartisan vote of 23-15.

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

Nancy Morgan, Coordinator of the VA Chapter of American Promise. We support this bill. It should be noted that the last election was the most expensive in Virginia’s history and a record $7 million in obscure ads were launched, attacking candidates of both parties. There needs to be financial disincentives to launching obscure attack ads against candidates. It should be noted that in order for this legislation to be enacted, HB 492 needs to be passed which is the first step to building an effective monitoring and oversight capacity within the Department of Elections. Right now, the Dept doesn’t have the capacity, either in staff or financing, to undertake effective oversight of any existing campaign finance laws, such as the "Stand-by-your ad" Act.

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

Nancy Morga,n Coordinator of the VA Chapter of American Promise. We support Delegate Anderson's bill. The Department of Election currently has no system for public access to campaign finance data; yet, it is the state’s role, as the only entity that has the ability to ensure the accuracy and completeness of this information, to ensure access to the general public. One of the recommendations of the Campaign Legal Center to the Joint Sub-Committee of Campaign Finance Reform was to ensure access to this information on the Dept’s website through easy-to-use, online portal where voters can search and access public records related to campaign spending and the sources of contributions. This bill responds to that recommendation.

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

Nancy Morga,n Coordinator of the VA Chapter of American Promise. We support Delegate Anderson's bill. The Department of Election currently has no system for public access to campaign finance data; yet, it is the state’s role, as the only entity that has the ability to ensure the accuracy and completeness of this information, to ensure access to the general public. One of the recommendations of the Campaign Legal Center to the Joint Sub-Committee of Campaign Finance Reform was to ensure access to this information on the Dept’s website through easy-to-use, online portal where voters can search and access public records related to campaign spending and the sources of contributions. This bill responds to that recommendation.

Last Name: Millhouser Locality: FALLS CHURCH

I strongly support HB86. It would greatly enhance full public disclosure of campaign contributions, something that is desired by the vast majority of citizens of the commonwealth. The bill specifically requires the State Board of Elections create a computerized campaign finance database, standards for electronic submission of campaign finance, and portal or interface that allows users to easily search for and sort campaign finance information. I strongly support HB495. A vast majority of Virginians want full disclosure, including of independent expenditures. This bill introduces reporting requirements on all independent expenditures as well as improving reporting by candidates and committees. all reports must be filed electronically. It also closes a loophole which forces out-of-state monies, such as through out-of-state PACs, to be reported to the Dept of Elections. Public access to reports, including independent expenditures is also ensured by a web based, user friendly portal. Thank you for the opportunity to provide comments, Bill MIllhouser

Last Name: Mitchell Organization: Big Money Out VA Locality: Arlington

I am writing in support of Del. Tim Anderson HB86 Elections; campaign finance; disclosure reports; searchable electronic database. Requires the Department of Elections to provide an interface to the campaign finance database maintained by the Department that allows users to easily search for and sort information by individual candidates and types of elections, offices, committees, and donors; donations, expenditures, loans, and other categories of information included in campaign finance reports; and late filings, incomplete filings, and other violations. The interface shall also provide users tools for manipulating and exporting data. The bill has a delayed effective date of July 1, 2023. • Public access to campaign finance data by state agencies is a best practice implemented by most states • This type of access and public availability of campaign finance data is appreciated by 88 percent of Virginians who support full disclosure. • It was recommended by the Campaign Legal Center to the Joint Sub-committee on campaign finance reform which met last year over the Aug-Oct period. • Can only improve Virginia’s standing nationally on transparency. Right now we rank 46 out of 50 on the SWAMP Index, a national scorecard for state specific regulations which promote transparency and accountability. • This needs funding and staff allocated. Mindy Mitchell 3601 5th St S Arlington VA 22204

Last Name: Mitchell Organization: Big Money Out VA Locality: Arlington

I am writing in support of Del David Bulova HB 492 Campaign finance; record retention requirements and reviews of campaign finance disclosure reports. Requires campaign committee treasurers to retain certain records that may be used in reviews of campaign committee accounts. The bill gives the Department of Elections the authority and duty to conduct reviews of a percentage of campaign committees and to report the results of such reviews annually to the State Board of Elections, the Governor, the and General Assembly and make such report available on the Department's website. • Currently the Department of Elections has very weak oversight (monitoring and enforcement) of campaign finance regulations. They can’t even monitor existing regulations like the “Stand-by-Your-Ad” act. • The provisions of this bill respond to recommendations in the draft report of the Sub-Committee on Campaign Finance Reform which met over the Aug-Oct period. • It improves disclosure of campaign finance information to the public. • Sets the stage for a robust system of monitoring and enforcing campaign finance reform which is very weak now, as revealed in our ranking in the 2020 SWAMP Index (46 out of 50 states) Mindy Mitchell 3601 5th St S Arlington, VA 22204

Last Name: Mitchell Organization: Big Money Out VA Locality: Arlington

I am in support of Delegate David Bulova Bill 495. The bill requires all independent expenditure and candidate campaign finance reports to be filed electronically with the Department of Elections. Under current law, such expenditure and finance reports can be filed either electronically or in writing with State Board of Elections. Electronic filing made available as soon as possible is an improvement. The bill also shifts administrative duties given to the State Board of Elections, such as the receipt of certain filings, to the Department of Elections which needs more staff and funding. • Responds to VA Voters support for complete disclosure (88 percent of Virginians want disclosure.) • Adheres to recommendations coming out of the Joint Sub-committee on Campaign Finance Reform. • Most other states require electronic filing and it makes it easier for legislators as the Dept can easily identify mistakes and respond quickly to legislators for rectification. • A companion bill in the Senate (Senator McPike SB222) passed through the Senate P&E committee with unanimous consent as it did on the floor of the Senate on Jan 24th. Mindy Mitchell 3601 5th St S. Arlington, VA 22204

End of Comments