Richmond, VA - Yesterday, the Virginia Public Access Project released a report detailing the torrent of outside money, much of it from undisclosed donors, that is pouring into Virginia. Instead of admonishing this practice of secret money and championing disclosure as he’s done in the past, George Allen has continually accepted the help of these outside groups that run false, negative attack ads.
Twice in the race for U.S. Senate, Tim Kaine has offered George Allen ways to blunt or eliminate the influence of outside money and secret money. And twice, George Allen has refused, going back on his praise for transparency in campaign donations. As recently as December 2011 and as far back as 2000, Allen voiced his support of disclosure. Most recently, Allen said “I’ve always been an advocate of disclosure and freedom. I like Virginia’s approach, Virginia laws that are based on disclosure and freedom.”
But now that outside secret money is aiding his campaign, George Allen is singing a different tune saying donors to super PACs may suffer “intimidation” if required to disclose their identities.
The Roanoke Times reported, “[A]bout half of the money has been spent by groups who don’t have to disclose their donors to the public,” meaning more than $18 million in secret money has been used to influence elections in Virginia.
From the Roanoke Times:
“Outside political and interest groups have bought $37 million worth of television advertising time in state’s top four media markets, according to the nonpartisan Virginia Public Access Project. About half of the money has been spent by groups that don’t have to disclose their donors to the public…More than half of that total has come from conservative super PAC American Crossroads and a spinoff group, Crossorads GPS [sic]. Both have ties to Republican strategist Karl Rove, a key adviser to former President George W. Bush. Crossroads GPS, which does not have to disclose its donors, has committed $2.4 million to the Roanoke market and American Crossroads has added about $950,000. The other big spender is the conservative group Americans for Prosperity, which has spent more than $1 million in the region. By contrast, liberal groups have barely made a dent in the regionn [sic]. Majority PAC, a committee working to protect a Democratic majority in the Senate, has spent $309,015 in the region. The group has run ads promoting Kaine’s record and attacking Allen’s. Kaine, who has been critical of the influence of secret-money groups, has been the target of attack ads produced by Crossroads GPS and Americans for Prosperity.”
BACKGROUND – GEORGE ALLEN’S LONGSTANDING SUPPORT FOR DISCLOSURE
Allen In 2011: “I Like Virginia’s Approach, Virginia Laws That Are Based On Disclosure And Freedom.” At the AP Debate, Allen said, “Let me give you my broad sense as far as what we need as far as campaign finance reform. And I’ve always been an advocate of of disclosure and freedom. I like Virginia’s approach, Virginia laws that are based on disclosure and freedom.” [AP Debate Transcript, 12/7/11]
2004: Allen Said That Virginia’s Campaign Finance Laws, “Based On Freedom And Disclosure,” Were “The Way It Ought To Be.” In an interview on Meet the Press, George Allen said, “I like the way we do things in Virginia. It's based on freedom and disclosure, and that's the way it ought to be.” [NBC, Meet the Press, 8/22/04]
2002: Allen Spokesman: “(Allen) Is In Favor Of A Campaign Finance System Like We Have In Virginia, One That Trusts People But Also Has Full And Vigorous Disclosure.” According to Gannett News Service, “‘(Allen) is in favor of a campaign finance system like we have in Virginia, one that trusts people but also has full and vigorous disclosure. He views McCain-Feingold and similar legislation like Shays-Meehan as completely counter to that,’ Allen spokesman Matt Raymond said.” [Gannett News Service, 3/21/02]
2001: Allen Proposed “Political Freedom And Accountability Act,” Which “Is Modeled Closely After Virginia Laws That Require Public Disclosure Of Campaign Gifts But Put No Limits On Contributions.” The Virginian-Pilot reported, “He first figured he'd ‘probably get three people’ - a sympathetic colleague guessed he might get 15 - but U.S. Sen. George F. Allen insists lack of support will not deter him from pushing a radical approach to campaign finance reform. Allen, R-Va., hopes to add to the Senate floor debate on reform today with a proposal to eliminate limits on contributions by individuals, political parties and political action committees. ‘I don't like limits. I don't like restrictions unless you're clearly harming someone else,’ Allen said in an interview. Allen said his proposed ‘Political Freedom and Accountability Act’ is modeled closely after Virginia laws that require public disclosure of campaign gifts but put no limits on contributions. Allen made a brief pitch for the idea during debate Tuesday over another campaign finance proposal; his staff was negotiating with the Senate leadership for time to present it in full. . . . Allen's plan would set him apart, even from fellow conservatives, in the debate and was greeted derisively this week by reform advocates in Virginia.” [The Virginian-Pilot, 3/28/01]
2000: Allen Campaign Spokesman: “If You're Going To Accept Cash From People, You Ought To Be Willing To 'Fess Up To Whose Money You're Taking.’” According to the Richmond Times Dispatch, “Both campaigns said they want to review proposed bipartisan congressional legislation introduced last week to close the 527 loophole. Allen supports full disclosure, his campaign staff said. ‘If you're going to accept cash from people, you ought to be willing to 'fess up to whose money you're taking,’ Allen spokesman Tim Murtaugh said.” [Richmond Times Dispatch, 5/22/2000]
Allen: “Individuals And PACs Can Contribute What They Want And Disclose It Immediately . . . I Like The Concepts Of Freedom And Disclosure.” The Washington Post reported, “During the hour-long show, Allen addressed a range of issues, including campaign finance reform. He said he did not support efforts to tighten limits on contributions from political action committees or to ban soft money. Rather, he said existing limits should be increased to reflect the rising price of campaign advertising, postage and other costs and ideally should be eliminated. ‘Individuals and PACs can contribute what they want and disclose it immediately,’ he said. ‘I like the concepts of freedom and disclosure.’” [The Washington Post, 8/3/2000]
Allen: “We Need Disclosure, So We Know Who Is Contributing To These Campaigns.” In 2000 debate for U.S. Senate between Chuck Robb and George Allen, Senator Robb stated, "The passage of the McCain/Feingold law would send us in the right direction. It isn’t perfect, but it’s at least a step in the right direction. I’m a co-sponsor of it. I’m for it. I wonder if my opponent would join me in agreeing to sponsor it." Allen responded, "Here’s what we need. We need disclosure, so we know who is contributing to these campaigns. And I think that the people of Virginia ought to know who are making those contributions." [Allen/Robb Senate Debate, 10/22/2000]