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  • Friday, October 27, 2006

    Republican Corruption in Virginia

    The Republican culture of corruption is coming back to bite the so-called "moral party" in the behind. I have particularly written about how the Ohio, Missouri and Kentucky Republican parties are among the most corrupt state parties in the nation. Virginia does not appear to have corruption quite at the level of Ohio's Taft and Ney, Missouri's father and son team of corruption, the Blunts, or Kentucky's spoils system governor. But, just a year ago, revalations about the Virginia Republican party brought the Abramoff scandal right to Virginia and showed that ties between Virginia Republicans and white supremicists are nothing new.


    In a November 4th, 2005 article in The Nation
    , the following revalations were highlighted regarding key Virginia Republicans:

    Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Jerry Kilgore, fear mongering with the "immigration issue," accepted financial support from US Immigration Reform PAC, an anti-immigrant group with racist ties. But he also took massive contributions from companies known for exploiting illegal immigrants. US Immigration Reform PAC is linked to John Tanton, who is connected with the Pioneer Fund, an organization that advocates eugenics, and which promoted Nazi propaganda films during the 1930s. US Immigration Reform PAC hired Peter Gemma, a Holocaust denier who has spoken alongside David Duke, as a consultant. Gemma also was the media director for the National Policy Institute, a white nationalist think tank. THESE are the people who support Virginia Republicans.

    But Kilgore played both sides. While receiving money from white supremicists who liked his anti-immigration stand, Kilgore also too money from Smithfield Foods, a company that loves to hire undocumented workers then threatens to report them to the IRS if they supported a union. In 2000 Smithfield committed thirty-six labor violations during its union-busting fight in the 1990s. Kilgore got money from anti-labor companies that violate American labor and immigration companies. And this man was the standard bearer for Virginia Republicans just last year.

    Then there is Virginia Republican 2005 Attorney General candidate Bob McDonnell (now the actual Attorney General of Virginia). A graduate of Pat Robertson's Regent University, McDonnell was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates thanks to the support of Ralph Reed's Christian Coalition. This self-rightous man financed his campaign through a possibly illegal slush fund set up by the Republican State Leadership Committee. Through this slush fund McDonnell got nearly $1 million from anonymous donors. One reason this was an issue was the fact that there was concern that McDonnell was tied to gambling interests through his connections with Abramoff. McDonnell hired three former associates of Jack Abramoff. One of those Abramoff associates was McDonnell's campaign manager for awhile but ultimately ended up in prison for soliciting sex with a young boy. I wonder if he hung out with Foley as well. To quote directly from The Nation:

    Two of McDonnell's top consultants and his former campaign manager used a Virginia-based Christian-right organization, the Faith and Family Alliance, to launder casino lobbyist Jack Abramoff's money. The Alliance was founded by two former business partners of Ralph Reed, Tim Phillips and Phil Cox, and was directed by Robin Vanderwall. In 2000, Vanderwall was instructed by Reed to deposit a $150,000 check sent by conservative antitax activist Grover Norquist, then write a new check for the same amount and send it back to Reed's consulting firm, Century Strategies. Both Norquist and Reed were being paid by Abramoff to lobby against a congressional antigambling bill on behalf of his client, e-Lottery.

    "I was operating as a shell," Vanderwall told the Washington Post of his role in Abramoff's operation. "I regret having anything to do with it."

    Vanderwall is a longtime associate of McDonnell. They attended Regent University together, and in 1999 Vanderwall managed McDonnell's campaign for Virginia's House of Delegates. Today, while McDonnell campaigns for draconian penalties against sex offenders, Vanderwall serves a seven-year sentence in state prison for soliciting sex with a 13-year-old boy who turned out to be an undercover cop.


    These people make claims to morality even as they money launder, solicit sex from minors, and make friends with union busters and white supremicists. These are big wigs in the Republican Party in Virginia. McDonnell is NOW the Virginia Attorney General. I personally find this repugnant and un-American.

    But lets also look at the comparisons between Virginia corruption and the corruption in the National Republican Party: both involve close ties with Jack Abramoff (now in prison) and both include solicitation of sex with minors. There is a pattern here. I suggest writing some letters to the editor discussing these scandals within the Virginia Republican Party.

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