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GOP Hopes to Question Kaine on Fundraiser

Tim Craig

Virginia Republican leaders say they plan to press for answers from Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) on how he can be a sponsor of a Virginia Democratic Party inaugural ball, which is a fundraiser, during the legislative session.

Under Virginia law, state office holders and the members of the General Assembly are barred from raising money during the regularly scheduled legislative session. The session begins on Jan. 14. Kaine, Sen. James Webb (D-Va.) and Sen.-elect Mark R. Warner (D) are hosting "Virginia's Inaugural Ball" on Jan. 19 at the Westin Arlington Gateway.

The black-tie event, which sold- out in hours, is a fundraiser for the Virginia Democratic Party and the Arlington Democratic Party. Tickets are $200 but donors can be listed as sponsors for a $10,000 contribution.

Democratic officials say Kaine's role at the event is within state law. They say the fundraiser is no different than the state Democratic Party's annual Jefferson Jackson Day dinner, which is usually held in February during the legislative session. In recent years, Republicans in the General Assembly have protested the timing of that dinner as well, noting Kaine and Democratic state legislators often attend.

Democratic state office holders have justified their presence at the JJ Dinner by arguing they do not directly solicit donations for the event. But Kaine appears to be soliciting contributions for the inaugural ball. A flier advertising the ball states "Governor Kaine...invites you" to attend.

By Tim Craig  |  December 24, 2008; 3:49 PM ET
Categories:  Tim Craig  
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