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Fact Checker: Democrats at Candidates' Forum

The three Democrats running for governor have been spending more time participating in debates and forums in recent days, giving them ample opporunity to boast about their records and promise dramatic changes for the state.

But occassionally, those off-the-cuff pronouncements can cross from campaign trail bluster into outright embelishment. And at times that was the case last night, when R. Creigh Deeds, Terry McAuliffe and Brian Moran participated in a candidates' forum in Richmond.

As needed, we'll use this space to step in and attempt to set the record straight. Here's what caught our attention:

Deeds, a state senator from Bath County, spoke first, and was asked a question about his position on firearms. He told the audience that he was a leader in trying to close the so-called loophole that allows some private vendors at gun shows to make sales without background checks. He then said he wrote the changes to the bill that got the gunshow loophole bill out of the committee earlier this year.

Deeds did help the bill get out of the Senate Courts of Justice Committee, 8 to 7, by proposing several amendments -- though supporters of the measure viewed the changes as weakening the bill. His amendments would have made the gunshow promoter responsible only for guns sold on the property that the promoter rents or leases, which means it would not apply to those sellers who set up outside the building. The amendments also would have exempted those purchasing antique guns and those who already have concealed-weapons permits.

McAuliffe, former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, went next, and during his presentation he told the crowd of his vow to refuse campaign contributions from Dominion Virginia Power, one of the most influential companies in the state. He said he made this pledge in part because the company is resistent to government-mandated use of renewable fuels.

McAuliffe has not accepted any donations directly from Dominion, but he attended a gathering in his honor last week at the home of Thomas E. Capps, the company's retired president and chief executive officer. Capps donated $2,500 to his campaign. Eva Teig Hardy, a former executive and chief lobbyist for the company, contributed $7,750. Another executive Christopher B. Rivers contributed $1,700.

Then came Moran, a former delagate from Alexandria. He told the audience that he has cracked down on payday lenders, who offer high-interest, short-term loans, while he was in the General Assembly.

Moran voted for a bill in 2002 that opened Virginia to payday lending. Lawmakers from both parties thought the bill would license and regulate the industry, but instead payday operators quickly multiplied. (They now have a very heavy presence in the neighborhood where the forum took place.)

Three years later, Moran did vote to enact some of the nation's most stringent reforms of the payday loan industry, though many opponents did not think it went far enough.

Since 1996, Moran has taken $30,200 in donations from lending or consumer credit companies..

By Anita Kumar  |  April 22, 2009; 3:42 PM ET
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , 2009 Governor's Race Fact Checker , Brian J. Moran , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Terry McAuliffe  
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Next: National GOP Getting Involved in AG's Race


The axiom "getting pissed on and told it's rain" has some application here. It's no surprise there is a disparity between what they say they give and what we end up getting. I don't want the next governor looking after my financial welfare when he doesn’t know the difference between taking a stand and taking a bribe--excuse me, a "contribution".

Posted by: kd2unit | April 29, 2009 2:27 PM | Report abuse

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