Kaine, Allen spar over third party spending
It was a spark first lit back in December during the first, and so far only, debate for U.S. Senate from Virginia. I asked former Senator George Allen (R) his opinion of third-party spending in his race especially after the Citizens United Supreme Court decision.
Here is the entire exchange unedited:
In case you missed it.. or didn’t feel like watching the video, Gov. Tim Kaine challenged Allen to tell the third party groups to stay out of Virginia.
At the post-debate in the press gaggle, Allen essentially closed any door that he might be open to teaming up with Kaine on a no-SuperPac pledge. After a few months, and the day after a new pro-allen SuperPac launched, the Kaine team decided to embrace Allen’s stance that he supports the way Virginia handles campaign finance. Essentially, unlimited donations but full disclosure where those donations are coming from.
Kaine sent Allen a letter asking him to have the two campaigns meet to carve out a plan to keep third-party “secret” money out of the Virginia senate campaign.
More from my story on NBC12.com:
RICHMOND (WWBT)- A unique proposal in the race for U.S. Senate, Tim Kaine is asking his likely opponent George Allen to team up to ask third-party groups, with secret donors to stay out of Virginia.
This proposal was borne out of a question I asked during a debate in December as part of our “Buying a Voice” segment.
The Allen camp calls Kaine’s idea: “A Washington political gimmick”
Despite being 10 months away from the election third-party groups are pouring cash into Virginia. Tim Kaine told me that Virginians deserve to know where the cash is coming from.
“If you won’t agree to no SuperPacs,” said Kaine “At least we should all be to agree no secret money.”
Kaine thinks Allen should be on board with the plan, based on what he said in the December debate.
“I’ve always been an advocate of ‘disclosure and freedom,’ said Allen.
In a response to Kaine’s request, Allen said it was “Hard to take (Kaine) seriously” because he took a sizeable donation from the AFL-CIO despite hoping to represent a right to work state.
The republican said most union members have no say over where their dues go when it comes to supporting candidates.
…read the full story on NBC12.com
Governor Kaine only spoke to NBC12 about his proposal. Our full interview with him can be found below:
See the transcripts of the letters from both campaigns after the jump.
March 13, 2012
2819 North Parham Road, Suite 210
Henrico, VA 23294
There’s no disputing that outside groups will be a major factor in this U.S. Senate race. To date, outside groups have spent more than $1.5 million in the Commonwealth on misleading advertising with no signs of stopping. And with the announcement of your own Super PAC this week, it is clear that this will continue, unchecked.
During our debate in December, it became clear that we don’t see eye to eye on the role of outside groups. When asked by debate panelist Ryan Nobles, I offered to reach an agreement to eliminate any involvement by outside groups in this campaign if you would. You rejected that opportunity and embraced the involvement of Super PACs and other outside influences.
But, there was a notable point of agreement between us. We both acknowledged an important aspect of Virginia’s approach–full transparency of donations. You even stated–“I like Virginia’s approach, Virginia laws that are based on full disclosure and freedom.”
Since you are unwilling to agree to exclude Super PACs entirely (as candidates in other states have done), how about basing this campaign on the Virginia principle you praised a few months ago? Let’s adopt a simple rule: No Secret Money. Let’s commit that any group running ads or conducting electoral activity for either of us should have to disclose their donors. Virginia voters are entitled to know who is funding this campaign. Contributions directly to either of us are already disclosed. But, the third parties filling the airways get to hide behind a cloak of secrecy.
If you accept the No Secret Money challenge, in accord with your earlier statements, we can work out basic rules for accomplishing it. Virginians will then be assured of a transparent campaign instead of one dominated by secret special interests who are afraid to face public scrutiny. What do you think?
March 13, 2012
2106 N Hamilton Street
Richmond, VA 23230
I am in receipt of your letter from earlier today.
It’s difficult for voters to take talk of transparency seriously when it comes from a campaign that is substantially funded by big union bosses and their organizations. In fact, most will see it as an unfortunate gimmick, typical of the partisan gamesmanship playing out in Washington today. Much of the union money flowing into your campaign will come from the hard-earned wages of workers who still have absolutely no choice in determining whether to donate to your campaign. They are forced to pay union dues – and thereby forced to support campaigns like yours – just to hold onto their job.
That’s not befitting of someone who hopes to represent all of Virginia, which as you know is a Right-to-Work state. If you truly wanted to base this campaign on Virginia principles you could start by disavowing this compulsory union donation system that extracts money from the pockets of working men and women across America. This will perhaps give you more credibility when speaking about transparency in donations.
Meanwhile, my campaign is going to continue focusing on issues that matter to Virginians – creating jobs by reducing taxes and unnecessary regulations on job-creating businesses; unleashing our abundant American energy resources to reduce gasoline, electricity and food costs and make our nation less vulnerable to hostile foreign nations; to address Americans’ health care needs with a system that is controlled by people and their doctors, rather than the government; to ensure the men and women who protect our freedoms daily are equipped to do so and that we honor our commitments to the Veterans who served us honorably; and to secure our future by reining in an over-spending, over-reaching federal government.
These are among the top issues that Virginians talk about as I have listened to them. I respectfully suggest that these are the issues you and I should focus on as well – not Washington political gimmicks.