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Democrats postpone this year's Jefferson Jackson dinner

Anita Kumar

Every year, Republicans criticize Democrats for holding their party's annual black-tie Jefferson Jackson dinner fundraiser on this very weekend In February.

That's because Virginia law bars members of the General Assembly from raising money during the regularly scheduled legislative session.

But this year, there will be no JJ dinner -- not during session anyway.

Democrats have decided to delay the event until March 20 after the session ends.

Party spokesman Jared Leopold said the event wasn't postponed to avoid Republican criticism, but privately some Democratic legislators say they told party officials they didn't want to give the GOP any ammunition this year.

Leopold say they wanted more time to put the event together given the transition in the governor's mansion to the first Republican in eight years.

This year's dinner will coincide with a weekend of activities, including grassroots training for many newly elected local committee chairmen.

Democrats argue that attendance at the JJ dinner is allowed anytime -- even during session -- because they are raising money for the party, not themselves.

Last year, for the third year in a row, 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 Senate killed the bill.

By Anita Kumar  |  February 13, 2010; 2:00 PM ET
Categories:  Anita Kumar , General Assembly 2010 , Timothy M. Kaine  
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Without the governor's mansion and in the wake of the additional GOP victories in New Jersey and Massachusettes, Virginia Democrats could not sell tickets.

They've scheduled their JJ dinner outside the session on the day of a campaign seminar for local chairs. Why? Because legislators can't refuse to help sell tickets once the session is over and local Democrats can't say they're not going to be in town for the dinner.

Posted by: blasmaic | February 13, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

This dinner has been a huge success for the past few years. The postponement has nothing to do with what legislators can and can't do. If you think about it, fewer Dem legislators means few people restricted from attending (torpedoing blasmaic's theory). Please try not to read a conspiracy into everything.

P.S. The dinner has always included a weekend of events for local committees. It just happens that committees elect their new leadership in Jan and Feb.

Posted by: dannews | February 14, 2010 4:50 PM | Report abuse

"fewer Dem legislators means few people restricted from attending"

I've read this five times and still can't make sense of it, sorry.

Posted by: blasmaic | February 16, 2010 12:28 AM | Report abuse

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