Adventures in PAC-ing

Whew, what a week. After several reads of Virginia's Campaign Finance Disclosure Act, calls to the Virginia Department of Elections and the IRS, and several visits to the bank, we're able to get our paperwork off to the Board of Elections, and are now officially operating as a Political Action Committee! For those of you that don't know what that means, it means that we can officially receive contributions and spend funds to influence the outcome of any non-federal election in Virginia. There are no contribution limits in Virginia, although we are prohibited from accepting contributions from any foreign national or contributor. All that is required is that we report identifying information of the contributor on our campaign finance reports.

We are currently accepting contributions by mail and ActBLUE. For the time being, I am listed as treasurer with the State, and will be required to track donations and expenditures and submit quarterly reports. Our first period ends June 30th, and reports will be due July 15th. As the founder of ForVirginia, I will serve as Executive Director and work to select individuals to form our Executive Steering Committee, which will help design our organizational structure and strategy.

Our goal, put simply, is to elect populist-Progressives to every level of government in Virginia, whether at the locality level for school board, city council, or mayor; State Senate or House of Delegate members; or statewide seats for the Governor, Lieutenant Governor. In 2015 Virginia had 140 General Assembly elections, most of which saw incumbents run unopposed, and in every case, those that sought re-election against a challenger emerged victorious. And so our State legislative body remains in control of those that oppose Medicaid expansion, fight clean energy and support the coal and fossil fuel industries, mean to destroy labor unions, restrict women's right to control their own body, or ruin people's lives for the possession of a plant. The list goes on, but the point is that we cannot afford another election where every single incumbent running for re-election holds their seat.

Our plan is provide a conduit for all of those Virginians who have been roused into political activism by the 2016 presidential election, people who realize that our government has been overrun by corporatists and oligarchs who favor their own bottom line over the poor and working class people; who prize profit over prosperity for all people, and over the health of our state's forests, waterways and public lands. In order to continue this mission that thousands of us have embarked on we need to find, support, or field candidates in our cities, towns and counties that share our ideals, and we need to support them. And where there are none, we need to be prepared to run ourselves, to make sure that no neoliberal establishment Democrat or conservative Republican politician runs for office without a challenger.

A Republican party leader in the General Assembly recently bragged during a public event that they would not see the House of Delegate turn blue in his lifetime. We intend to challenge that and support candidates throughout the Commonwealth who are unafraid to call themselves 'liberal', 'progressive' or other leftist terms, and will stand up to the moneyed interests in Richmond in support of the working class, racial and LGBT equality, and social, economic and environmental justice.

There is a reason that we have organized as a PAC, and not a new political party. Many of those that we are working with are members of the Democratic Party of Virginia, and many supporting third party candidates this November. As a state PAC, we cannot contribute to Federal elections, and since locality elections are non-partisan, we will be able to support the local candidates best able to challenge the current establishment, whether that means working with the DPVA, the Green Party, Working Families Party, or any other group that challenges the status quo and shares our principals. There are a number of cities and towns holding elections this November, such as Manassas, and we think, no, we know there are candidates out there that share our ideals and need our help to organize an effective campaign and win a seat.

We will build our movement from the ground up, and for the next year and a half we will focus on these down-ticket and Delegate elections, through voter outreach, and volunteer and leadership training. We want to build an organization and network of volunteers into a world-class political organization with thousands of constituents. Your help is essential to our success, and we look forward to working with you to help manifest the political revolution in our great State.

Please sign up today to join our mailing list and make a contribution to help us get our organization off the ground. And special thanks to all of those that have already signed up or contributed.

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