Youngkin raised a lot of money after the election

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Business interests with businesses before the state government cut big checks on Republican Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s campaign committee following his November to late December win, reports say financial statements filed this week.

Youngkin, who was sworn in on Saturday, raised about $2.2 million in mostly cash as well as in-kind contributions between Nov. 26 and Dec. 31, according to campaign committee financial reports compiled by the Virginia Public Access. Non-partisan project. He said he ended the period with nearly $2 million in cash.

Nothing in Virginia law would prevent campaign donations from being used to repay some of the $20 million in loans that Youngkin, a wealthy former private equity executive, made to his own campaign.

Youngkin, who like all Virginia governors will be barred from running for a second consecutive term in office, could also use the money to help fellow Republicans in future elections.

“The reality is that when you win an election, especially an election where your party hasn’t been favored, there are a lot of people who want to be friendly. So now is the perfect time to raise funds for the next political battles ahead,” said Stephen Farnsworth, professor of political science at the University of Mary Washington.

Campaign strategist Kristin Davison said Youngkin was focused solely on governance and no decisions on how the funds would be used had been made.

The cash contributions that have been made to Youngkin’s campaign in the period that began weeks after his defeat of former Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe came from interests ranging from tobacco to banking to insurance , energy and gambling. Hundreds of people also made smaller donations.

Some of the companies that donated during the reporting period were either new donors to Youngkin or gave much more to McAuliffe during the campaign, including tobacco giant Altria and McLean-based Capital One, according to VPAP records. . Neither immediately responded to a request for comment Thursday about their political donations.

Youngkin’s year-end campaign committee fundraising exceeded what his recent predecessors have contributed over an equivalent period, according to records kept by VPAP. Northam raised $33,590 during the period, for example. McAuliffe, a prolific fundraiser, brought in about $562,000, according to VPAP records.

The campaign money is separated from at least $4.4 million in major donations. Youngkin’s inaugural committee after the election raised a mix of individuals, businesses and interest groups to fund last weekend’s celebratory events. This inaugural figure also far exceeded the amounts collected by its predecessors. Democrat Ralph Northam raised $2.3 million in major donations in 2017, McAuliffe raised $1.9 million in 2013 and McDonnell raised $1.7 million in 2009, according to a VPAP analysis released last week .

The transportation of Youngkin’s inaugural committee could also grow further. The current total only includes donors who have given $10,000 or more. The full table of committee expenses and fundraising activity, including small dollar donations, will not be available until mid-March.

State law prohibits candidates from transferring excess inaugural money to a political action committee. They must either reimburse the donors or give the excess to charity.

Long before the final financial reports were filed, it was clear that last year’s race between McAuliffe and Youngkin – a political newcomer who has vowed to disrupt special interests and “give power back to the people” – has broke previous fundraising records.

Other year-end financial reports have shed light on fundraising activities by members of the House, who all got elected this year, and members of the Democratic-led Senate, who did not. do.

Leaders of the House Republican caucus, which now controls the chamber after its overthrow in November, were among the most important fundraisers of the period. But Democrats still ended the year with a $1.8 million lead on total available cash.

The same was true in the Senate, where the Democrats’ cash advantage was even larger, nearly $2.5 million.

The Senate, where Democrats have so far signaled little agreement with the new governor’s agenda, is slated for the next election in 2023. All 100 House seats were on the ballot in the fall. Members would normally serve two-year terms, but an ongoing lawsuit aims to force elections again next year because delayed census results delayed this year’s redistricting process.

Youngkin reported no donations in recent times from Dominion Energy, a political heavyweight on Capitol Hill whose influence has been under scrutiny for years. But records show the Richmond-based company made two $150,000 donations to GOP House Chairman Todd Gilbert’s PAC in late October, shortly after Youngkin criticized the company for donating to another federal PAC formed to oppose him.

The company, which said it had not thoroughly audited the PAC and asked for its donation, also gave $50,000 to Senate GOP Leader Tommy Norment during the same period.

Dominion declined to comment.

Virginia has some of the loosest campaign finance regulations in the country. A number of bills introduced this year would limit donations or tighten disclosure rules. Reform steps have been taken in recent years, but lawmakers have struggled to reach an agreement.