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Updated: Ban Proposed for Mansion Fundraisers

Anita Kumar

Days after Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) abruptly canceled a reception at the governors mansion, House Majority Leader H. Morgan Griffith has introduced a bill that would prohibit fundraising at the house.

House Bill 2657 simply says "Any event at the Executive Mansion for the purpose of soliciting funds for any purpose, other than for charity, shall be prohibited at all times."

Griffith (R-Salem) said last week that he got a "creepy feeling" when he learned of a planned reception at the mansion.

Charlie Kelly, Kaine's political director, said Kaine and his staff did not realize the event was a fundraiser, and canceled it immediately when he found out.

The Farm Team, a political action committee formed to help Democratic women seek elected office, posted a solicitation on a liberal fundraising Web site seeking donations from $25 to $1,000 to attend a series of events. The appeal invited people who purchased a ticket to a panel discussion at the Richmond Marriott to a reception at the governor's mansion.

Under Virginia law, Kaine is prohibited from raising money for himself or state political committees during the 45-day legislative session, which began Jan. 14. Legislators said they did not realize state law did not ban fundraisers at the mansion, though governors have traditionally not raised money there.

Gordon Hickey's Kaine's spokesman, said the governor supports the bill. "We already have a strict rule of not doing political fundraising at the mansion,'' he said. "He recently canceled a reception there when he found out the group was improperly advertising it as a fundraising event without his permission."

The invitation did not mention Kaine but said his wife, Anne Holton, and Lynda Robb, wife of former governor Charles S. Robb (D), were helping host the event. Kaine said he canceled it after he discovered organizers were advertising it as a fundraiser.

The house, located on Capitol Square, is the oldest occupied governor's mansion in the United States and has served as the home of Virginia governors and their families since 1813.

By Anita Kumar  |  January 26, 2009; 9:00 AM ET
Categories:  Anita Kumar  
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