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Are Republicans Fundraising Too?

Anita Kumar

For weeks, Republican legislators have been attacking their Democratic colleagues for attending fundraisers during the annual legislative session.

Now, Democrats are calling Republicans hypocrites for doing the same thing.

Fliers being distributed at the state Capitol and notices on the Internet publicize several Lincoln-Reagan Day dinners this month featuring Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford) and other delegates and senators.

"It turns out that House Republicans may have been soliciting funds during session,'' said Jared Leopold, a spokesman for the state Democratic party. "It's time for House Republicans to stop the political games and start focusing on the issues that matter to middle-class families in Virginia."

G. Paul Nardo, the speaker's chief of staff, said that when Howell saw his name on a draft flier of Stafford County's event he asked for it to be removed. Some of the fliers are still being distributed though.

"The difference is as soon as we found that we were on the list we had the Speaker and everyone else stricken off of that,'' Nardo said. "The difference is that we are not trying to go out and say one thing and do another. We are trying to be consistent."

The House has spent several weeks bickering about whether legislators and statewide elected officials should be allowed to attend fundraising events, such as the Democratic party's Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner last Saturday.

Under Virginia law, state office holders and the members of the General Assembly are barred from raising money during the regularly scheduled legislative session. Democrats argue that attendance at the JJ Dinner is allowed because they are raising money for the party, not themselves.

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.

By Anita Kumar  |  February 9, 2009; 11:00 AM ET
Categories:  Anita Kumar  
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