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Senate Gets Tough on Raising Money

Tim Craig

Democrats in the state Senate have successfully pushed through a rules change that tightens restrictions on senators who try to raise money during the legislative session.

For years, state law has prohibited delegates and senators from raising money for their campaigns during the legislative session. But two years ago, Sen. Ken Cuccinelli II (R-Fairfax) solicited funds for an anti-abortion organization that was gearing up to support legislation before the General Assembly.

Some senators, including Republicans, condemned Cuccinelli, saying he was violating the spirit of the law. Cuccinelli, who argued he did nothing wrong because he wasn't raising money for himself, successfully argued he was on solid legal ground.

But now the Democrats set the rules in the Senate.

Sen. Mary Margaret Whipple (D-Arlington), chairwoman of the Rules Committee, unveiled a rules change earlier today that states senators cannot raise money during the session for advocacy groups that seek to influence public policy.

Senators can still raise money for civic organizations, such as the American Heart Association.

Even though he didn't formally object to the change, Cuccinelli said in an interview he thinks Democrats have overstepped their authority.

"There are real First Amendment problems with telling me I can't raise money for another group," Cuccinelli said.

By Tim Craig  |  January 9, 2008; 11:31 PM ET
Categories:  General Assembly 2008 , Tim Craig  
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Comments

Cuccinelli should know the first amendment doesn't protect Republicans. Raising money is hate speech.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 10, 2008 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Senator Cuccinelli should know better than to think that the First Amendment would have any sway with a Democrat-controlled legislature.

I also love how agenda-driven liberal journalists identify pro-life groups as being "anti-abortion." The devil's in the details, I guess.

Posted by: A Voter | January 10, 2008 1:12 PM | Report abuse

the first amendment only protects flag burning, not speech or free association

Posted by: Anonymous | January 10, 2008 2:07 PM | Report abuse

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