The fall-out for Democrats from the NVTC Tech PAC endorsement of Ken Cuccinelli and their subsequent reaction is only just beginning. Let’s revisit what The Washington Post had to say about it:
But e-mails obtained by The Post make clear that the lobbying effort on McAuliffe’s behalf was intense.
“I urge you to stop any endorsement of Cuccinelli,” state Sen. Janet D. Howell (D-Fairfax), told PAC leaders Friday in an e-mail. “The ramifications of his being endorsed will be huge within the Senate Democratic caucus. . . . The response [from legislators] will be frigid and doors will be closed [when the council seeks help with its legislative agenda]. Achieving the goals of NVTC will be difficult to impossible.”
Senate Minority Leader Richard L. Saslaw (D-Fairfax) and Sen. Barbara Favola (D-Arlington) seconded those sentiments in their e-mails.
Let’s repeat the key part of that:
The response [from legislators] will be frigid and doors will be closed [when the council seeks help with its legislative agenda]. Achieving the goals of NVTC will be difficult to impossible.
Next, let’s visit the 51st House Dist. where Democrat Reed Heddleston is taking on Republican Del. Rich Anderson. Heddleston has been seeking contributions from state-level lobbyists representing different companies and industries. Apparently, like McAuliffe and Senate Democrats, he doesn’t take rejection well. In at least one instance where he was refused a contribution, he reportedly erupted in anger with words to the effect that he was going to win and that person (whose name we are witholding) had passed their last piece of legislation in the House of Delegates.
What do both of these incidents have in common? Specific threats against specific industries and/or companies that their legislative priorities would be deep-sixed if they did not endorse and/or contribute to certain Democrat candidates regardless of the merit of their legislative proposals.
For those who feel that this type of thing seems vaguely familiar, there is a term for it: “Pay-to-Play.” Or, to paint a more vivid picture with a recent example of it…
Yes, it seems that the Chicago / Illinois Democratic ethos (or lack thereof) epitomized by jailed former Gov. Rod Blagojevich has permeated the Virginia Democratic party.
A different, but no less intriguing, angle to this “pay-to-play” culture of political corruption is manifesting itself over in the race for the 31st Dist. where Democrat Jeremy McPike is taking on Republican Del. Scott Lingamfelter. Willie Deutsch has written an extensive piece based upon news reports about McPike firing an African-American whistleblower who was raising questions about a project for the City of Alexandria where McPike works as its Director of General Services. The story so far centers on sketchy invoices approved by McPike for phantom materials totaling $2 million from a contractor. The whistleblower successfully sued the City of Alexandria and McPike for $450,000 over his termination.
What hasn’t been reported yet is how this all relates to McPike’s pet project of the Alexandria Farmers Market. McPike, looking to burnish his credentials with his employer, sought out companies and individuals to contribute their time and materials pro bono for this project at no cost to the City of Alexandria. Who was one of the contractors that McPike was going after for this project? The same one that the whistleblower was raising questions about. What was the price for their participation? Draw your own conclusion. Pay-to-play…
None of this is politics as usual. At a minimum, these activities are borderline criminal. A special prosecutor should be appointed to investigate Sens. Howell, Saslaw and Favola to determine whether they have broken any laws relating to bribery, extortion or illegal gratuities as there is a very specific quid pro quo involved here. The same goes for Heddleston should any of the individuals that he threatened with such retaliatory action wish to publicly step forward. Undoubtedly, we haven’t heard the last of the McPike case, either.
What a team the Democrats have fielded here in Virginia this year…