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Updated: Virginia governor's mansion to be a new venue for fundraisers

Anita Kumar

Last year, then-Gov. Tim Kaine abruptly canceled a Democratic fundraiser at the Executive Mansion in part because of concerns that it was to take place at a once-sacred venue.

Traditionally, Virginia governors have not used the mansion to raise money, though no state law prohibits it.

But just last week, Gov. Bob McDonnell held his first fundraiser at the mansion, hosting a reception for the 40 or so people who pledged $1,000 or more to Richmond's soon-to-be-opened charter school. (The school picked up the tab.)

Clearly, the goal was different -- Kaine canceled a reception after he discovered that the event's organizers were advertising it as a fundraiser for the Farm Team, a political action committee formed to help Democratic women seek elected office, while McDonnell was helping Patrick Henry School of Science and Arts, a nonprofit organization he strongly supports.

But the question remains: Will the mansion be a new fundraising venue?

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Yes, says McDonnell spokeswoman Stacey Johnson.

"The governor does plan to host nonpolitical events, for worthy causes which he and the first lady are passionate about, at the mansion in the future,'' Johnson said. Next up: An event for the Healing Place.

It's unclear what definition he will use exactly. Clearly that means there will be no events for the Republican party or political candidates, but what about GOP-friendly groups?

"We hope that Governor McDonnell maintains the precedent established by governors before him and chooses to refrain from holding political fundraisers in the Governor's Mansion," said Jared Leopold, a spokesman for the Democratic Party of Virginia.

Update: We have learned that Virginia FREE held a reception at the mansion in 2007, but it was not a fundraiser, according to Clayton Roberts, the group's executive director. Kaine allowed the group to hold an event for about 100 supporters at the mansion, many of whom had previously given money to the organization.

By Anita Kumar  |  April 7, 2010; 1:22 PM ET
Categories:  Anita Kumar , General Assembly 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell , Timothy M. Kaine  
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Maybe he can hold his Confederate History month events there. Bring your own sheet!

Posted by: MarilynManson | April 7, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

When do the bars and stars begin flying over the place?

Posted by: jckdoors | April 7, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

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