RICHMOND, Va (WTVR) — CBS 6 obtained an email sent out by Governor Terry McAuliffe and his newly formed political action committee (PAC), Common Good VA.
The governor is using the PAC to solicit donations for his causes and like-minded politicians, a practice not unknown in the state, but one that comes on the heels of legislation and strong remarks against the influence of money in politics.
“When ethical questions about government arise, they place a cloud over the government’s public servants,” said McAuliffe during his State of the Commonwealth address.
The PAC packages include a number of offers to donors, ranging in cost from $10,000 to $100,000.
Donors giving the largest amount to Common Good VA get regular access to McAuliffe, including a private reception, a round-table discussion with state leaders, a retreat and a private dinner with McAuliffe and his family.
“Why don’t we cut the head off of this snake right now?” asks government watchdog and Democratic strategist, Paul Goldman.
Goldman tells CBS 6’s Lorenzo Hall, he is puzzled by McAuliffe’s PAC offers, especially because the governor spoke repeatedly about the need for ethics reform in Virginia and imposed a $100 gift limit on himself.
Access to the governor in exchange for a donation could be seen as questionable after the indictment of former Governor Bob McDonnell, who is charged with accepting unreported gifts from a wealthy donor and leaving prosecutors wondering what favors that donor received in return.
We contacted the governor about his PAC by phone and email today.
In response, his press secretary, Rachel Thomas, sent us an email stating, “Any questions regarding the PAC need to be directed to them. Thank you!”
Goldman says McAuliffe limiting gifts he can receive is useless when wealthy donors can still get access to the governor through his PAC.
“Before long, you won’t be able to get in to talk to some high profile person or policymaker before they say, where’s your ticket? You didn’t pay $10,000 or $50,000? Well, I can’t talk to you. I got a long line of people that paid to talk to me,”says Goldman.
CBS reached out to Common Good VA for comment, but they haven’t responded.