Kaine calls for full disclosure in Virginia Senate race
March 13th, 2012
05:28 PM ET
11 years ago

Kaine calls for full disclosure in Virginia Senate race

(CNN) - Following the creation of a new super PAC supporting Republican George Allen's Senate bid in Virginia, Democratic opponent Tim Kaine sent a letter to Allen Tuesday urging that anyone or any group spending money on the race do so openly.

"Virginia voters are entitled to know who is funding this campaign," the letter stated. "Contributions directly to either of us are already disclosed. But, the third parties filling the airways get to hide behind a cloak of secrecy."

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The letter points to a December debate in which the candidates-both former governors of the state–agreed they admired Virginia's "sunlight" approach to campaign finance. According to state law, any individual or corporation can donate unlimited amounts of money to a campaign or PAC, as long as those contributions are disclosed (and amount to more than $100).

However, donors must comply to federal laws when contributing to a federal campaign, including U.S. Senate campaigns. And with a super PAC now involved, where donors are permitted to make un-disclosed contributions, Kaine's team is concerned with what they see as an unfolding lack of transparency in the race.

"Let's adopt a simple rule: No Secret Money," Kaine wrote in the letter.

Kaine's campaign did not spell out guidelines on how the campaigns would actually hold outside groups accountable to full disclosure practices, especially given that campaigns are legally prohibited from coordinating with super PACs.

The proposal echoes similar sentiments from the Massachusetts Senate race, where both candidates have pledged to self-impose a penalty and donate money from their own campaigns to charity if an outside group spends money on the race.

On Monday, the Kaine campaign sent out a release attempting to fundraise off the formation of the new super PAC dedicated to helping Allen reclaim the Senate seat he lost in 2006. Paul Bennecke, former political director of the Republican Governors Association, will lead the PAC.

Allen's campaign responded with its own letter Tuesday afternoon, dismissing Kaine's proposal as a "gimmick" and pinning the candidate for accepting union contributions.

"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," Allen said in the letter.

Allen went further and called on Kaine to disavow what he called a "compulsory union donation system."

"This will perhaps give you more credibility when speaking about transparency in donations," he said.

Responding to Allen's letter, Kaine's communications director Brandi Hoffine described their opponent's move as hypocritical.

"The very definition of a 'Washington political gimmick' is saying one thing and then doing another. George Allen told Virginia voters that he has 'always been an advocate of disclosure and freedom,' but today he showed he is unwilling to back up his words with action," Hoffine said, adding that the campaign hopes Allen will reconsider.

Filed under: 2012 • George Allen • Senate • Tim Kaine • Virginia
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Dominican mama 4 Obama (the real one)

    Well you may not get your wish Mr. Kaine but at least you'll be shining a spotlight on their unwillingness to disclose who they are. That's something.

    March 13, 2012 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  2. Mikey

    Here goes hundreds of millions more to buy yet another office. What happens when the very few (the richest 0.001%) have bought most of the Senate and House of Representatives? What if they buy the Presidency? Get the Supreme Court they've paid for? What is left then for "We the People"?

    March 13, 2012 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  3. IndependentMom

    @Mikey, that's why We, the People need to get out and vote!

    March 13, 2012 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  4. NVa Native

    Tim Kaine was a great Governor who worked hard for all the people of Virginia, not just his base – as every GOP politician does. And Kaine will be a great Senator working hard for all Virginians and all Americans – not just the religious radicals or very wealthy as GOP politicians do.

    March 13, 2012 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  5. Talkytalk

    Okay, so the same rule applies to President Obama's campaign? Does he also have to divulge all his donors and the amounts?

    March 13, 2012 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  6. me

    what if? The office of the president has already been bought how else could a nobody senator be elected president. it is well known that the unions bought him the office

    March 13, 2012 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    Somewhere between 60-80% of ALL campaign funds on BOTH sides comes from less than 200 people. And that, people, is how the 1% of the 1% have corrupted our government and nation.

    March 13, 2012 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  8. scott

    Kaine will not get elected, the we the people of Virginia are to smart for that again.

    March 13, 2012 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  9. are you4 real?

    I applaud Mr Kaine. This is not some kind of trick. If Mr. Kaine does, in fact, want to keep things honest and transparent, he should do so. If his opponent doesn't want to follow suit, well, that says something – doesn't it?

    March 13, 2012 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  10. Larry L

    Once again we see how the right-wingers on the Supreme Court changed democracy in America to a constest between the highest bidders from the fat-cat club.

    March 13, 2012 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  11. Nobodies Pon

    Glad to know america is for sell Romney got some very wealthy friends president Obama may need more than a billion to get re-elected.

    March 13, 2012 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  12. S. B. Stein E.B. NJ

    It is better to show who is doing what with the money being poured into the political races. We need more transparency and less money in polical races. It is getting such that only the wealthy can run for office. It eliminates many people who would do a good job in office; eliminated because they don't have the cash to get their face out there and run their opponet through the mud.

    March 13, 2012 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |