It would be hard to count the number of times private entities have been accused of using their deep pockets to buy influence in the political sphere.
Finally, action is being taken to expose the offenders: a major Virginia Democrat donor has allegedly been caught spending millions of dollars to influence the state legislature there, according to the Washington Free Beacon.
Quid pro quo alleged
Hedge fund manager Michael Bills donates significant amounts of money to Democrat candidates in Virginia, according to reports. But during the most recent statewide election, Bills allegedly attempted to use his considerable wealth to defeat the leadership aspirations of legislator he did not like: Eileen Filler-Corn.
Filler-Corn is a rising star on the Virginia political scene, and Bills reportedly wanted her blocked from becoming speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates, because of one of her donors, Dominion Energy, is seen as a foe by Bills’ group, Clean Virginia.
Bills and his wife reportedly spent close to $2 million to incentivize 88 candidates to decline contributions from Dominion Energy and spent hundreds of thousands to convince the Democratic Party of Virginia to do the same, while also urging the recipients of their largesse to vote against Filler-Corn for the speaker’s position.
The accusations against Bills were made by Democrat State Sen. Dick Saslaw.
“I had heard that they or their representatives had made phone calls to get people to vote against Eileen,” Saslaw said. “You know, quite frankly, you’re getting awful close to that quid pro quo line when you’re doing stuff like that.”
He went on: “I don’t take, nor does our caucus, we don’t take any contributions that come with any conditions. To me, you’re getting into dangerous territory when you accept a deal like that.”
Even with all of his money, though, Bills’ efforts were unsuccessful, because Filler-Corn was ultimately selected as the speaker.
“[The effort] didn’t work because the Democrats in the House of Delegates caucus have a lot more common sense,” Saslaw said. “We’re not for sale.”
Radio host John Fredericks, who maintains a strong advertising relationship with Dominion Energy, said: “I think Dick Saslaw just cracked the dam and opened the floodgates about the quid pro quo, strong-arm tactics Clean Virginia has utilized to buy the general assembly…It’s all going to come out.”
This is something that must be addressed everywhere, because we cannot allow people like Bills to continue to buy public offices when they are supposed to be representative of the will of the people, not a select few individuals with big bank accounts.