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House Continues Bickering, Day 3

Anita Kumar

The House of Delegates spent an hour today bickering about whether legislators and statewide elected officials should be allowed to attend events in which money is raised 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.

The target: The state Democratic party's annual Jefferson-Jackson Dinner. The Feb. 7 event will be held at the Richmond Convention Center.

Even though they complained about the bill, the majority of Democrats voted to send the bill to the Senate, mindful of how that vote might look come Election Day. The Democrat-controlled Senate is expected to kill the bill.

Senate Majority Leader Richard L. Saslaw (D-Fairax) said House Democrats who voted for the bill and then attend the "J-J Dinner" would be "hypocrites."

Del. Robert Brink (D-Arlington) described the bill as punishment by Republicans who are still reeling from election losses last fall.

"Like the (Japanese) soldiers who holed up in caves in the South Pacific and kept fighting long after World War II had ended, some folks haven't gotten the memo that the 2008 campaign is over," Brink said.

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 proposal would prevent them from even attending events, such as the J-J Dinner and the state Democratic party's inaugural ball to be held Monday in Northern Virginia.

By Anita Kumar  |  January 16, 2009; 5:04 PM ET
Categories:  Anita Kumar  
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