Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Kagan Challenges District 17

Former Delegate and current Senate candidate Cheryl Kagan had something to say to every other District 17 candidate at her fundraiser last week. And no, it wasn’t “let them eat cake.”

Kagan described her fundraiser on her website and said this about her remarks to the crowd:

Most importantly, I pledged to voluntarily cap my campaign contributions. Too often, I believe that voters lose confidence in candidates and their government because campaigns are largely financed by super-rich and by special interests. I announced that I will take no more than 50% of the legal maximum contribution levels of $4,000 per person and $6,000 per political action committee. In addition, my campaign will address the so-called "LLC Loophole" that allows one person with multiple corporate interests to get around the current campaign laws by writing the maximum checks from each account they control. I vowed to accept my reduced contribution limit of $2,000 per person and not per checkbook as is the case now. Because many in the Senate voted to support this move on LLC's, I am optimistic that it will soon become law. In the meantime, I will voluntarily commit to this practice, because it is simply the right thing to do. I am hopeful that every candidate for either the House or Senate in District 17 will abide by these same limits. Wouldn't it be great if we became known as "Clean Seventeen" for our commitment to financing our campaigns using stricter limits than current law requires?!
It’s worth noting that Senator Jennie Forehand, Kagan’s opponent, voted for an amendment to the 2009 campaign finance reform bill that would have closed the LLC loophole. But Forehand did not co-sponsor the bill itself, which was not introduced in the House. As a matter of fact, no District 17 incumbent – including Forehand and Delegates Kumar Barve, Luiz Simmons and Jim Gilchrist – co-sponsored the 2008 or 2007 campaign finance reform bills.

Kagan will have more than enough money to compete even if she abides by her pledge. She had better stand by it because we have caught other politicians breaking campaign finance promises before. We are not about to fall asleep on the job now!

The incumbents are all running on a slate with Senator Forehand. What will they do? Will they accept Cheryl Kagan’s challenge? Or will they ignore it and cede the clean money issue to her? Best of all, will anybody take the pledge and then cheat? We LOVE to catch cheaters!

When the incumbents respond, we will be sure to let you know!