Del. Chris Saxman (R-Staunton) is doing something impressive—he’s reporting every single contribution he receives, including $1 from one Richard A. Hotz. (I see that NBC-29 weatherman Eric Pritchett contributed $50.) Under Virginia campaign finance law, the only contributions that need to be reported are those that exceed $100, though a contribution of any size may be reported. (First-time candidates’ first campaign filing often lists all contributions, because they don’t yet know better, or at least their treasurer doesn’t.) So a small fish like me that gives a lot of $25, $50, and $100 contributions doesn’t have much of a public contribution trail. I wouldn’t object to them being reported, but I have to wonder if some donors—like Pritchett—anticipated that the size of their contribution would allow them to remain anonymous, and might now be surprised to find that their support of Saxman is public.
Virginia law should require that contributions of any size be disclosed, and I think that filings should be required far more frequently, perhaps as often as every couple of days. But no candidate would want to be the first to do that voluntarily, or so you’d think, and yet here we have Saxman kicking that off. I hope that other candidates rise to this implicit challenge.