Dominion CEO Thomas Farrell isn't influencing legislation, he's just sitting next to his childhood friend while he signs a bill at Dominion headquarters.
At least, that's what they'd have us believe.
The recent revelations of the Virginia Tobacco Commission giving Dominion millions of dollars in corporate welfare beyond what the mega-corporation even asked for, in order to build a pipeline through Virginia land, lead to some embarrassing and potentially illegal details.
Despite this, VPAP lists Farrell giving McDonnell lavish meals in summer and fall 2009: $303 for "Catering" in May 2009 and $166 for "Meeting Expenses" in October 2009 - and a whopping $60,000 in direct donations. Then, he was a chair of McDonnell's transition team, responsible for handing out patronage appointments.
Are we expected to believe that lobbying activity ceased at this point when, it seems, no one in Virginia was a more potent lobbyist than Thomas Farrell?
If he had registered as a lobbyist in 2008-9, then certainly he would have ample reason to re-register. But McDonnell's lawyers never met a gift they didn't lie about.
The lobbying rules for Virginia are very strict - people must register if they try to affect any of the following:
As always, the following list isn't meant to be comprehensive, so feel free to add your suggestions in comments section. Thanks, and here's hoping for a better 2015 for Virginia Democrats!
Winners 1. Rep. Dave Brat (R): The guy's nuttier than a port-o-potty at a peanut festival, as the saying goes, but he's now CONGRESSMAN crazy, having pulled the upset victory of the year, over none other than the Republican Majority Leader in the U.S. House of Representatives, Eric Cantor.
2. Ed Gillespie (R): He lost the U.S. Senate election to Mark Warner, but by a tiny margin in a race that wasn't even supposed to be close, proving you CAN win by losing sometimes. Now, Gillespie has turned himself into a serious power in Virginia politics, the only question being what he will do with that power.
3. Rep. Scott Rigell (R): After a crushing victory in November, Rigell's starting to look entrenched in the 2nd CD. That's very unfortunate for the 2nd CD, but good for Scott Rigell!
4. Barbara Comstock (R): Right-wing and hyperpartisan as they come; nonetheless, she managed to not just win, but utterly TROUNCE her Democratic opponent, John Foust. The only questions now are: a) can Democrats beat her in 2016, possibly their last chance to do so before she is totally entrenched; b) when will she be seriously talked about for national office (e.g., U.S. Senate, VP)?
5. Sen. Tim Kaine (D): It seems to me that the "junior" partner in the relationship with Mark Warner has now moved to the top of the heap. Kaine has handled himself very well in the U.S. Senate, really come into his own, and set himself up for...I dunno, running mate to Hillary Clinton in 2016 perhaps?
6. Virginia Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment (R): He's got the majority, not that he'll do anything good with it. Now, let's see if he can keep it.
7. Don Beyer (D): Came back from Switzerland to run for the seat of retiring Rep. Jim Moran, and won in a landslide (both in the primary and the general election). I'd also note that 8th CD Democrats arguably get someone with all the strong qualities of Jim Moran, without Moran's numerous (ethical and other) downsides.
8. AG Mark Herring (D): A great year for him on the policy and political fronts (marriage equality, in-state tuition for "dreamers," etc.), no matter how you look at it. The only question is, can he match (or top) his 2014 accomplishments in 2015 (hint: time to take on environmental issues, the corrupt State Corportation Commission, and pay-to-play politics as exemplified by Dominion Power!), and how much of a leg up does this give him for the 2017 Virginia governor's race?
9. John Vihstadt (R), Libby Garvey (D): They didn't lead Arlington in a positive direction in 2014, nor were their claims about the streetcar (and other issues) correct in most cases, but they won big time in 2014. Highly unfortunate for Arlington's future...sigh.
10. Dominion Virginia Power: This company has used its capture of Virginia's government to benefit...well, itself of course. To the tune of tens of millions of $$$$$ in taxpayer-funded corporate welfare, a "study" by the State Corporation Commission that might as well have been by Dominion (was it?), and continued efforts to hold back the transition to a clean energy economy for Virginia. Yeah, the rest of us all lose, but Dominion keeps on keepin' on...so I guess that makes them a "winner," in an utterly warped sense.
The following list is inspired by GQ's just-published "America's 20 Craziest Politicians" (Steve King, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Joe Barton, etc.). For my list, I'm sticking to Virginia elected officials, people who have been Virginia elected officials, or current/past candidates for elective office in Virginia. Obviously, this list is subjective, but what it is NOT intended to be is a measure of how far to the right (or left, for that matter) the politician is, per se. I mean, I could easily fill up the list with people who deny climate science, as in my view that's definitive proof that you're either a fossil fuel industry tool, an imbecile, or nuts. Instead, this list is comprised of people who are just "crazy," in the colloquial sense, regardless of what party they're in (although note that the vast majority are Republicans - shocker, huh? - and it's not for lack of trying to come up with Democrats to make it more "even" - the fact is that today's GOP attracts "teh crazy" like....well, crazy!). Anyway, enjoy!(?)
1. E.W. Jackson (R): Has anyone ever heard anything come out of his mouth that wasn't at least a bit "out there?" OK, need specific examples of this guy's insanity? For starters, he's obsessed with Barack Obama (e.g., how Obama's supposedly not a Christian, how he's supposedly an anti-Semite, blah blah blah); how "Planned Parenthood has been far more lethal to black lives than the KKK ever was;" how gays are "frankly very sick people psychologically, mentally and emotionally," who are attempting to "poison our children, divide them from their parents and the teaching of the church and basically turn them into pawns for that movement so that they can sexualize them at the earliest possible age." What's truly shocking about this guy isn't so much that he's an extremist and an all-around lunatic, but that the Virginia GOP nominated him for Lt. Governor of our state in 2013! What does that say about them? Anyway, E.W. Jackson has the "honor" of being #1 on this list. As Chris Cillizza likes to say, "Congrats...or something!" LOL
2. Ken Cuccinelli (R): Again, where do you even start with this guy? I mean, this is someone who - in addition to the de-rigeur-among-wingnutsclimate science denial - also tried to make it easier for people to discriminate against gay people, claimed that Virginia can disobey federal laws it disagrees with, believes the government is tracking his kids via Social Security numbers, and talks to a toy elephant named "Ron", is a "birther," rants about a "vast left-wing conspiracy" and the "Humanist Manifesto," claims that liberals "cannot tolerate god" and that Barack Obama has "helped destroy this country," compared immigrants to rat families, etc, etc. Most appallingly, "the Cooch" actually was elected to be Virginia's Attorney General, where he spent four years on a bunch of crazy, mostly failed, crusades. He also was, appallingly yet again, the Virginia Republican Party's 2013 nominee for governor of our state. It says a great deal about said party that they'd nominate such a lunatic, not to mention extremist, as Ken Cuccinelli. Come to think of it, maybe Cooch should have been #1, and E.W. Jackson #2, on this list?
3. Sen. Steve Martin (R): What more do you need to know than this ("Child's Host" State Senator: Torture Justified "no matter what body parts are lost in the process")? Basically, Martin makes the stereotypical "cave man"/Genghis Khan look like enlightened, sensitive people.
The following email was sent by the young woman in the middle of the case against Del. Joe Morrissey. Although she's 18 years old, ergo an adult, I've deleted her name, as I'd rather not be the one to publicly "out" her in such a sensitive case like this one. Her email is in response to this statement by the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus, calling for Del. Morrissey to "resign from office immediately," and including Senator Mamie Locke's comment that Morrissey had "abused his position of authority and his continued service brings blight on an institution that has stood as an aspiration for democracies for over 400 year." The email further cites the "basic human right to not be preyed upon, especially in the workplace."
Dear Senator Locke,
My name is ***** ***** and I am the young woman in question in regards to the Joe Morrissey matter. I have come across your statement made in respect to the situation. First, let's be clear about one thing, I have not been asked by anyone to comment back upon your statement. I would like to express my deep disappointment of your statement. You have made harsh comments to which you have absolutely no knowledge about. In your statement, you have stated two things that are troubling. 1. The Democratic Party cannot be an organization that stands for the rights and interests of women yet allow someone who has admitted to endangering a young woman to continue to serve as one of our colleagues in the General Assembly. 2.This includes the basic human right to not be preyed upon, especially in the workplace. I intend to make a few things clear.
1. I was NOT "preyed" upon, but rather given an opportunity to explore my passion of becoming and attorney and to pay for my college expenses that my father, whom I've been estranged from since 9 years old had no intentions of doing. For what's its worth Mr. Morrissey and his law firm has been gracious and provided me with more than my father has in my entire life.
2. You have stated that YOU and your democratic colleagues stand to protect the rights and interests of women, however, if that's so, where were YOU and YOUR colleagues when my father was physically abusing me? Where were YOU and YOUR colleagues when my father stole my tuition money, but yet YOU and YOUR colleagues are about "protecting the rights and interest of woman".
Despite the circumstances that I raised in and yet again another tragic issue in my life, I have continued to move pass all evil. I was accepted into a governor high school and finished up in 3 years as an A student. While in high school, I was 1 of 3 students to be accepted to attend Stanford Law School to participate in a mock trial. I have gone on to attend college and still maintain straight A's. I intend help Mr. Morrissey clear his name and reputation. If not for me lying about my age and my family intending to extort money from Mr. Morrissey, he would not be in this situation. I appreciate him dearly for making the decision to enter an Alfred plea (to which he has NOT ADMITTED GUILT), sparing me the trauma of a trial and the embarrassment of my family. Next time you decide to express your opinion and pass judgment, I suggest you reach out and have your facts straight and focus on young ladies who have been beaten, victimized and raped.
Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Wednesday, December 17. Also, check out the video of President Obama announcing his "action to protect one of America's greatest natural treasures by signing a Presidential Memorandum to protect Bristol Bay." Good news!
Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Tuesday, December 16. As for the news story on Gov. McAuliffe's gun proposals, I'm including it mostly because they interview Lori Haas, whose daughter Emily was shot and wounded at Virginia Tech on April 16, 2007.
Here are the (strong) rumors -- which I've now heard/had confirmed from multiple sources over the past couple weeks -- as of now. What you're hearing? Thanks.
*Steve Pazmino out as Virginia Democratic Senate Caucus Executive Director after many years. His last day will be Dec. 31, 2014.
*Brian Zuzenak heading over from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (where he's political director) to take over for Pazmino.
*Michael Halle, currently Coordinated Campaign Director for the Democratic Party of Virginia, heading to New York to (reportedly) join "Hillaryworld."
Any interesting rumors you're hearing today? :)
P.S. I love how people "play dumb," claim they have noooo idea, etc, even as the rumor ship is leaking like a sieve...
P.P.S. This all seems highly consistent with a Hillary Clinton for President announcement in the next few months.
UPDATE: I finally caught up with Steve Pazmino this morning. He said this was the "job of a lifetime" (that he's held since January 2003), that he's had a "fantastic run" and is very proud to have built a program here (from every little when he started) in Virginia which others think is worthy of emulating. He said that Gov. McAuliffe and his people have a right to bring in whatever folks they want to run the program. He noted that we've had our ups and downs, going from 16 Senate Dems to 22 to 20 to 19. Looking forward, Pazmino says we obviously we can't control the national political climate, but we need to have good candidates here in 2015, run strong campaigns, and motivate the base to turn out and vote. Finally, we talked about Virginia's evolution from more of a "Southern" state back in 2003 to more of a "mid-Atlantic" state today. Of course, it's not inevitable that it will continue in this direction, but the demographics make that path look more likely than not. Still, Democrats obviously can never take anything for granted, and will need to work to convince people to vote for them - and to turn out! Anyway, good luck to Steve Pazmino in whatever he does next, and good luck to the team that's coming in for 2015!
Of course, Republicans won't pass these commonsense/no-brainer ideas, because they're totally in the pocket of gun interests, but thanks to Gov. McAuliffe for pushing ahead anyway.
~ Proposals include common-sense measures to protect Virginia communities and keep dangerous weapons out of the wrong hands ~
ARLINGTON - Governor McAuliffe today announced a series of legislative proposals aimed at protecting Virginia residents and families through common-sense gun violence prevention efforts. The proposals include prohibiting the possession of firearms for persons subject to protective orders and those who have committed certain misdemeanor offenses, such as stalking, sexual battery, and domestic violence, as well as revoking concealed handgun permits for parents delinquent on child support payments and closing the gun show loophole.
“As Governor, there is no greater responsibility than ensuring the health and safety of the citizens I serve,” said Governor McAuliffe. “Our Commonwealth and our nation have seen too many tragedies as a result of dangerous weapons getting into the hands of the wrong people. These common-sense proposals will keep guns out of the hands of criminals, will keep our communities safe, and will help to build a new Virginia economy.”
“These are responsible policies that will benefit Virginia’s neighborhoods and families and will create safer environments for our law enforcement officials,” added Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran. “By implementing these common-sense measures, Virginia can lead the way on curbing gun violence and can prevent dangerous individuals from illegally obtaining firearms.”
Governor McAuliffe’s legislative package on preventing gun violence includes:
Prohibit the possession of firearms for persons subject to protective orders According to the American Journal of Public Health, when a gun is present in domestic violence situations, the risk of homicide for women increases by 500%. This proposal will aim to prevent domestic violence tragedies from occurring in Virginia by prohibiting the possession of firearms for persons subject to protective orders, which covers acts of violence against family members, inter-partner violence, and other dangerous behaviors. Prohibit the possession of firearms for misdemeanor domestic violence offenders Past violence is one of the biggest predictors of future violence, as handgun purchasers with violent misdemeanor convictions are 8 times more likely than those without prior convictions to be convicted of a new violent offense. This proposal will aim to stop that disturbing trend by prohibiting possession of firearms for certain misdemeanor offenses, including stalking, sexual battery, assault and battery against a family or household member, brandishing a firearm, and having two more convictions of assault and battery.
Curtail handgun trafficking by reinstating the one handgun a month law
As a gun owner and a supporter of the Second Amendment, Governor McAuliffe believes in the right to bear arms, but in a responsible way that prevents dangerous people from stockpiling and trafficking dangerous weapons. This common-sense measure, which was Virginia law for 19 years, limits handgun purchases to one a month and aims to reduce the chances of handguns causing violent tragedies in Virginia and across the nation.
Revoke concealed handgun permits for parents delinquent on child support payments In order to build a new Virginia economy, it is essential that parents are receiving support payments and are able to provide for their children and families. Currently, there are 8889 parents with concealed handgun permits delinquent on child support payments, collectively owing over $15,675,000.
Keep handguns out of the wrong hands by closing the gun show loophole Under current Virginia Law, only Federally Licensed Firearms Dealers are required to conduct criminal background checks prior to selling or transferring firearms. At gun shows, private vendors are not required to conduct criminal background checks, creating an easy avenue for criminals to illegally gain access to guns. Governor McAuliffe’s legislative proposal changes that, requiring universal background checks for all purchases at gun shows.
Give Virginia State Police authority to process voluntary background check requests Today, the Virginia State Police does not have the authority to process background check requests even when they have been submitted to them by private vendors. This proposal will give Virginia State Police the statutory authority to do so. Governor McAuliffe also is including an additional $100,000 in his budget to ensure that the Virginia State Police will be at every gun show in Virginia and available to perform these voluntary background checks.
Make unlawful purchases more difficult by clarifying what information can be displayed by gun show vendors
Today, gun shows can advertize that they are not required to conduct background checks, creating an easy environment to solicit business from individuals legally prohibited from buying firearms. This common-sense proposal will reduce the chance of dangerous people from illegally obtaining firearms at gun shows by preventing gun shows from advertising that they are not required to conduct background checks.
1. Jackson reiterates his frequently-expressed, yet still completely false, view that Barack Obama "is not a Christian."
2. Jackson also reiterates his frequently-expresses, yet still completely false, view that America is a "Christian nation."
3. Jackson claims that Barack Obama thinks he's "smarter than the Bible" and "smarter than god." (is this guy utterly obsessed with Barack Obama or what?)
4. He says if "any Christian who goes to a church where they say you ought to support the Democrat (sic) Party...you ought to get out of that church...[because churches like that] do not include the Bible and the word of god."
5. "I say to black people in the Democrat (sic) Party who are caught up in it, as I was once caught up in it...I say to them...touch not the unclean thing."
6. "It is clear that the Democrat (sic) Party has become the godless, anti-Christian, anti-faith, anti-bible, anti-family, anti-life party...Think about the progressive coalition that the party is part of...at some point as a Christian one has to ask, am I being on the lord's side in associating myself with these people...all Christians must come out of the Democrat (sic) Party."
7. "If I love god, and these people are demonstrating they hate god...because god is in the way of their amoral vision of what life ought to be...well then why in the world would any Christian or believing Jew want to be associated with them?"
8. He claims Barack Obama is an anti-Semite (because Obama won't do everything Bibi Netanyahu wants him to do and because he follows long-standing U.S. policy about a two-state solution, settlements, etc.). Yes, Jackson's completely bonkers, but remember, Republicans nominated him last year for Lt. Governor of Virginia.
9. Showing absolutely no self awareness of sense of irony, Jackson says he won't follow Louis Farrakhan because Farrakhan is "full of hatred and evil and lies." Speaking of "full of hatred" and "lies," Jackson really needs to look in the mirror once in a while.
10. He strongly recommends watching Fox News, claims it's really "fair and balanced." He also recommends Rush Limbaugh as a "tremendous source of information." Shocker.
The following political cartoon, sent to us by a talented artist, refers to this story on "Dominion's Strange Tobacco Money."
Dominion Resources, the powerful, Richmond-based utility with $13 billion in revenues, has strangely been getting $30 million public funds to bring a natural gas pipeline to a new generating plant in Brunswick County.
Odder still (or maybe not so) the public funds are coming from the GOP-controlled Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission which has figured in a wave of corruption since it was formed in 1999.
Keep in mind, as the AP story points out, that "Dominion is without peer in terms of political sway in Virginia and routinely gets friendly legislation passed with broad bipartisan support." Not coincidentally, Dominion "is the single biggest donor to state-level politicians, as well as one of the biggest gift givers - often treating lawmakers to Washington Redskins games or paying for them to attend events like the Masters golf tournament in Georgia."> Oh, and "CEO Thomas Farrell II and McDonnell are childhood friends."
Also worth noting is that Farrell - pictured in the political cartoon - received $10.9 million in compensation in 2013, while his company earned $545 million in the third quarter of 2014 alone. Does this sound like a company that needs any taxpayer-funded corporate welfare at all, let alone $30 million?!? In this case, the money came from the Virginia Tobacco Commission, headed up by that fine, upstanding public servant, Del Terry Kilgore - the same guy who offered Phil Puckett a job on his commission if he'd quit the State Senate and throw it to Republican control. Charming, eh?
Of course, this is the same company which has spent millions of dollars over the years to purchase our legislature, and with it the right to control Virginia's energy policy. Keep in mind that this is a regulated utility with massive amounts of business before the state. The fact that they're allowed to basically purchase the people charged with regulating them should be unacceptable to Virginians of all political persuasions. Also, just curious, but why is Bob McDonnell going to jail for 10 years regarding Star Scientific, when Dominion Power and its bought-and-paid-for legislators (e.g., Terry Kilgore) have been doing that sort of thing for much, much longer - and on a far, far larger scale?
P.S. As a reader points out, see this article about Tom Farrell essentially buying his son a seat in the state legislature, and also this article about how "Farrell and his father, Dominion CEO Thomas Farrell, made a movie last year about VMI cadets in the Civil War. The project got $800,000 in tax credits and, laughably, a $200,000 grant." More taxpayer-funded welfare for the wealthy. Perhaps the Tea Party should be protesting crap like THIS for a change?!?
Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Sunday, December 14. Also check out Eric Byler's video of what he calls a "haunting, artful demonstration at #BlackLivesMatter event in Washington DC."
A strong statement from Virginia House Democrats, with Minority Leader Toscano stating that Morrisey's conviction "disqualifies him from serving in the House," and with the entire caucus demanding that Morrisey "should resign immediately." Now, we'll see if he does, or if he needs to be expelled.
Richmond, VA - In light of his conviction for Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor, the House Democratic Caucus calls for the immediate resignation of Delegate Joe Morrissey. The House of Delegates is the oldest legislative body in the United States of America and should hold its members to the highest standards of ethical conduct. A conviction arising out of sexual misconduct involving a minor, accompanied by significant active jail time, and legislative service while serving in a jail work release program is not consistent with those standards.
"This is a very troubling case," said Minority Leader David Toscano, "and disqualifies him from serving in the House. Our citizens are looking very closely at their legislators and the integrity of the body and his trust with his constituents and his colleagues has been broken. For the good of the General Assembly and the Commonwealth, he should immediately resign, and we are actively exploring all available options, including removal, if he does not."
"The House Democratic Caucus believes that Delegate Morrissey should resign immediately so that that the People of the 74thDistrict can be served by a member who can focus on their needs without significant personal distractions," said Caucus Chairman Scott Surovell.
Also, Del. Krupicka tweets, "I encourage Mr. Morrissey to resign immediately. His acts related to his improper relationship with a minor discredit our legislature." Aneesh Chopra tweets, "I'm with Rob."
Yep, just another quiet day in ever-so-ethical Virginia (snark). By the way, let me be one of the first Virgnia Democrats to call on Del. Morrissey to resign immediately for his appalling behavior (even though, this being Virginia and all, he's allowed to work in the House by day, go back to the "big house" at night, to paraphrase Jeff Schapiro).
UPDATE 8:11 am Saturday: Sure hope we get a statement from the Virginia House Democratic Caucus today. So far...continued chirping crickets.
UPDATE 8:34 pm: Other than Atif Qarni, not a single one of the 15 or so Virginia Dems I contacted a few hours ago has responded. I'd say while I'm not surprised, I'm disappointed.
UPDATE 6:34 pm: Just checking Twitter, I see that another Democrat - Jeremy McPike, who's also running for State Senate in the 29th district - tweeted, "Morrissey enters plea. Time for change. #MorrisseyTimeToResign"
UPDATE 5:43 pm: I forgot, but actually Del. Mark Keam called for Morrissey to resign on July 1, 2014. At the time, Keam said, "Virginians deserve better from their public servants. For the sake of the Commonwealth and its residents, I call on Delegate Joe Morrissey to resign immediately and to deal with his legal problems as a private citizen."
UPDATE 5:32 pm: Democrat Atif Qarni, who almost defeated Del. "Sideshow" Bob Marshall last year for House of Delegates, and who is running this year for State Senate in Virginia's 29th district (currently held by Chuck Colgan), has called for Joe Morrissey to resign. According to Qarni, it's "disgusting" and "predatory behavior" for a 57-year-old man to engage in a sexual relationship with a child. Regardless of party affiliation, Qarni adds, Morrissey's behavior is "unethical" -- "what's wrong is wrong."
UPDATE 5:08 pm: Dead silence. The sound of crickets quietly chirping...
UPDATE 4:46 pm: I'm checking with Virginia Dems to see if any of them will call on Morrissey to resign. So far, seems pretty quiet... By the way, note that Morrissey's district is super "blue"/safe, so THAT is no excuse.
After refusing to support all-day kindergarten, Craig Parisot is now scrambling to hide his unpopular position -- and has the chutzpah to expect voters will fall for his empty platitudes.
A WAMU article yesterday noted that "Republican Craig Parisot says he does not have a position on whether or not Loudoun County should offer full-day Kindergarten." Full-day kindergarten, of course, is a very important issue in Loudoun County, as it is one of just four localities that lack this vital service. Kathleen Murphy, Democratic candidate for Delegate, supports funding full-day kindergarten and has said she will make it a priority when elected.
After taking heat all day for his refusal to support this critical funding, Craig Parisot abruptly flipped his position and posted a late-night Facebook update claiming new, convenient support for all-day kindergarten. Absent from his empty release, however, was any substantive policy offerings.
"Loudoun voters will see right through Craig Parisot's political pandering," said Morgan Finkelstein, press secretary for the Democratic Party of Virginia. " "His statement to WAMU was clear as day, Craig Parisot refuses to support all-day Kindergarten in Virginia. Nomidnight press releases or Facebook posts can change the facts."
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