Press release: February 23, 2021

Senate Fails to Pass Bill Banning Personal Use of Campaign Funds


Diana Williams, Clean Virginia Communications Lead
[email protected], 540-836-8125

February 23, 2021

BREAKING: Senate Fails to Pass Bill Banning Personal Use of Campaign Funds
Virginia remains one of only three states allowing candidates to use funds as a personal piggy bank

Richmond — Legislators in the Virginia Senate voted by voice to refer a bill banning the personal use of campaign funds (HB 1952) back to committee, ensuring the bill’s failure in the 2021 session as committees are no longer allowed to meet. This legislation unanimously passed the House of Delegates 100-0 and nearly every state and the federal government already bans personal use of campaign funds.

“If something as simple as avoiding the appearance of corruption in Virginia can’t pass, then we must seriously consider whether we have the right people representing us,” said Clean Virginia Executive Director Brennan Gilmore. “This bill would have caught Virginia up to 47 other states and the federal government. Yet, despite the bill conforming to widely accepted federal language, a majority of Virginia’s Senators couldn’t get the job done.”

The bill, introduced by Delegate Marcus Simon, passed the House unanimously on Feb. 1. HB 1952 defined “personal use” using the federal “irrespective test,” which states that any expense incurred that would exist irrespective of the candidate’s campaign for office is deemed ineligible for use of campaign funds, with the exception for childcare expenses.

The motion to refer the bill back to the Senate Privileges and Elections Committee occurred against the expressed wishes of Senator Creigh Deeds, the Committee Chair, who asked on the floor that Senators pass the bill instead.