Updated: Democrats Ask GOP Chairman to Return Money
Democrats are calling on Del. Jeffrey M. Frederick, chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia, to return donations he received after Jan. 14, the start of the annual legislative session, in response to a recent fundraising letter.
Frederick (R-Prince William) mailed a letter to supporters seeking money for the party on Jan. 9, five days before the 45-day session began. Some letters arrived last week, including one sent to a Northern Virginia Democratic delegate, which Democrats say violates state law.
"What I was wondering is this: how do you send a letter out on January 9th soliciting funds, expect people to receive it, open it, respond, write a check, and send the check back - and not be in violation of our law that says you can't receive funds during the General Assembly session?" Del. Joseph D. Morrissey, (D-Richmond) asked on the House floor Friday.
Under Virginia law, state office holders and the members of the General Assembly are barred from raising money during the regularly scheduled legislative session.
"It's ridiculous,'' said Gerry Scimeca, a spokesman for the Republican Party of Virginia.
Scimeca said the letter was signed and dated prior to the start of session, which is within the law.
Democrats and Republicans in the House have spent the first week of the legislative session sparring over fundraising rules for legislators and statewide elected officials during the annual legislative session.
For the third straight year, the House passed a bill that would ban lawmakers and statewide officials from attending fundraising events sponsored by a political party, lobbyist or campaign contributors during the legislative session.
Republicans complained that Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) should not have been involved in a pre-inaugural ball held Monday and that legislators should not attend the state Democratic party's annual Jefferson-Jackson Dinner next month.
January 25, 2009; 9:00 AM ET
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