McDonnell, RSLC questions.

I’ve received a lot of e-mail about the latest revelations in the source of Attorney General Bob McDonnell’s campaign funding. Here are some of the questions and observations that people have provided:

  • The American Tort Reform Association contributed $300,300. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce provided $500,000. Given that these are 501(c)6 organizations, they don’t need to report their donors. That’s a lot of money — a pretty substantial chunk of what the RSLC gave McDonnell. So who gave to them? And did McDonnell encourage any of his supporters to give to either of these organizations during his campaign?
  • It’s clear that McDonnell’s election was paid for by corporations, rather than voters. How does this compare to Sen. Creigh Deeds’ campaign?
  • How many of the corporations from whom McDonnell accepted campaign contributions are currently in a legal dispute with the state, or stand to gain from a reinterpretation of existing law in a manner that is within McDonnell’s power?
  • Among Virginians who voted for McDonnell, what do they make of his receipt of $160,000 from the gambling industry, $25,000 from one of Abramoff’s clients, and $325,300 from the liquor and tobacco industry? Are there 324 people who would have changed their votes to Deeds, had McDonnell’s contributors not been hidden?
  • What to make of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians’ $25,000 to the RSLC on November 30 (a Wednesday) followed by the RSLC’s contribution of $25,000 to McDonnell on December 5 (the following Monday)? Coincidence? Or pass-through?

I’d welcome answers to any of these questions or comments regarding these observations.

Published by Waldo Jaquith

Waldo Jaquith (JAKE-with) is an open government technologist who lives near Char­lottes­­ville, VA, USA. more »

5 replies on “McDonnell, RSLC questions.”

  1. Nice Excel graphic; and not too surprised about McDonnell’s campaign donors.

    I’d especially like to find out the answer to question no. 2.

    Think a little “Open Secrets” might yield something..?

  2. I’ve been trying to ask questions that people could hypothetically answer, not just journalists, but regular folks. I only have time to ask questions now, not provide answers, which arguably makes me worse than useless. But, yes, I’m certain that somebody could answer #2 with only an hour’s work, or thereabouts.

  3. If I were a Mississippi Choctaw, I’d be damned sure that I had my oar in on the Virginia AG race.

  4. I’m sorry Waldo, i’ve been working 12 to 14 hour days… I got to this post after my usual “short glass” and I don’t see where “It’s clear that McDonnell’s election was paid for by corporations, rather than voters.”

    Could you expound on this for your drunken readers?

  5. I believe I might have had a short glass of whiskey before I wrote this, so you’re not alone. :)

    I mean that, having looked through the list of direct contributors to McDonnell’s campaign, as well as the list of indirect contributors (funneled through RSLC), the unmistakable theme emerges that the overwhelming majority of McDonnell’s contributions have come from corporations, rather than individuals. This is based only on reading through the full lists of contributions and noting who the major contributors are, not through any formal analysis, which would consist of taking the complete list of McDonnell’s contributors, marking each as an individual or a corporation, and tallying ’em up. (Hence my asking how McDonnell’s corporate sponsors compare to Deeds’ — I don’t have any numbers.)

    I hope that explains it.

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