Action
July 23, 2021

Major House District Upset, Record Number of Democratic Primary Candidates Running on Refusing Contributions from Regulated Utilities
By Cassady Craighill | June 9, 2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT:

Cassady Craighill, Clean Virginia Communications and Advocacy Director cassady@cleanvirginia.org, 828-817-3328

Major House District Upset, Record Number of Democratic Primary Candidates Running on Refusing Contributions from Regulated Utilities 

June 8, 2021

CHARLOTTESVILLE  — In response to the Virginia Democratic primary election results, Clean Virginia Executive Director Brennan Gilmore said, 

“Thanks to years of a growing movement to limit the influence of utility monopolies in Virginia politics, Nadarius Clark, a stalwart community organizer deeply committed to the people of House District 79, won a valiant upset campaign over an entrenched incumbent with a long track record of prioritizing the interests of Dominion Energy over his constituents.”

“In total, thirteen Democratic primary candidates who refused contributions from Dominion Energy won their races. This common-sense move of refusing money from the utility monopolies General Assembly members are elected to regulate  — a move that not long ago was considered political self-sabotage — has become the standard for both statewide and district-level races. These candidates have simply changed the conversation in Virginia by campaigning on platforms of accountability for Virginia’s corporate utility monopolies.”

“Today’s primary elections mark the first time in Virginia history in which the Democratic nominees for Virginia’s Governor and Attorney General have refused utility monopoly campaign contributions. While our endorsed statewide candidates — Delegates Jennifer Carroll Foy and Jay Jones — fell short of victory, Clean Virginia is proud to have helped these incredible leaders tell their stories and advocate for a Virginia that puts people over profit.  We congratulate Gov. Terry McAuliffe, Delegate Hala Ayala, Attorney General Mark Herring, and all of tonight’s successful House of Delegates candidates on their Democratic nominations tonight and their hard-fought campaigns.”

“Clean Virginia will continue supporting candidates and amplifying voices that traditional power brokers in the Commonwealth have often ignored. This is part of our sustained commitment to confronting the outsized political influence of Virginia’s corporate monopolies, transitioning equitably to a clean energy economy, and ensuring ethical and transparent governance in Virginia.”

Clean Virginia endorsed and financially supported former Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy for Governor and Del. Jay Jones (D-Norfolk) for Attorney General. Clean Virginia also supported the Lieutenant Governor campaigns of Delegates Glenn Davis (R-Virginia Beach), Mark Levine (D-Alexandria) and Sam Rasoul (D-Roanoke), and Sean Perryman. Clean Virginia withdrew support for Del. Hala Ayala (D-Prince William) after Ayala accepted $100,000 from Dominion Energy last week. (Delegate Elizabeth Guzman (D-Prince William), who withdrew as a candidate for Lieutenant Governor, was also supported). In addition to statewide endorsements and support, Clean Virginia to-date has endorsed 29 Democratic House of Delegates candidates, including 27 incumbents, and plans to roll out further endorsements in the coming weeks. See the full list of endorsements here. 

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Clean Virginia is a 501(c)4 independent advocacy organization with an associated Political Action Committee, Clean Virginia Fund. Clean Virginia works to fight corruption in Virginia politics in order to promote clean energy, a robust, competitive economy, and community control over our energy policy. We are motivated by the core belief that our democracy should serve average Virginians over special interests.


About The Author

Photo of Major House District Upset, Record Number of Democratic Primary Candidates Running on Refusing Contributions from Regulated Utilities
Cassady Craighill (she/her)

A North Carolina to Virginia transplant via D.C., Cassady has spent over a decade engaging audiences about energy, climate change, and civic engagement. After earning an M.A. from Georgetown University and publishing research about public perceptions of complex technologies, Cassady worked for Greenpeace USA where she developed strategies for communicating about climate impacts, the influence of the oil and gas industry on our democracy, and the energy footprint from the internet. An expert in rapid response communications, Cassady’s quotes have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and Associated Press. She lives in Charlottesville with her husband and daughter.

BREAKING: Del. Hala Ayala Accepts $100K Donation From Dominion Energy, Betraying Public Commitment
June 2, 2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

Diana Williams, Clean Virginia Communications Lead
diana@cleanvirginia.org, 540-836-8125 

BREAKING: Del. Hala Ayala Accepts $100K Donation From Dominion Energy, Betraying Public Commitment
Running for lieutenant governor, Ayala now the only statewide Democratic candidate to take campaign contributions from Dominion 

CHARLOTTESVILLE — Virginians learned this morning that Delegate Hala Ayala, candidate for lieutenant governor, accepted $100,000 from Dominion Energy despite publicly promising to refuse donations from the state’s largest electric utility monopoly. This has made Del. Ayala the only Democratic candidate running statewide to accept any campaign contributions from Dominion. Clean Virginia had previously supported Ayala’s campaign for the House of Delegates and contributed $25,000 to her current run for lieutenant governor based on her previous public commitment to refuse utility monopoly money. She reiterated this commitment in Clean Virginia’s candidate questionnaire for both the 2019 and 2021 election cycles. 

“In the final days of the primary campaign for Virginia’s lieutenant governor, with tens of thousands of votes already cast, Del. Hala Ayala chose to break a public commitment taking $100,000 from Dominion Energy and betraying the public’s trust,” said Clean Virginia Executive Director Brennan Gilmore. “Virginians should know that Del. Ayala chose to side with a corporate monopoly that has unjustly overcharged Virginians by $1.3 billion.”

In response, Clean Virginia will be launching a $125,000 statewide digital ad campaign in the final days of the lieutenant governor primary campaign to ensure that voters across the Commonwealth are aware of this broken promise and the harmful effects of decades of Dominion’s legalized corruption on everyday Virginians. Dominion has overcharged Virginians by more than $1.3 billion since 2015 and Virginia customers pay the 6th highest bills in the country. Yet, Dominion refuses to issue refunds and has even requested an increase to its authorized profit level from 9.2% to 10.8% as part of its rate review by the State Corporation Commission. If approved, this request would immediately raise bills even higher. 

“Del. Ayala’s actions are uniquely disappointing and deceptive – she has campaigned for statewide office on a promise to Virginians that she would hold polluting utility monopolies accountable and then accepted a massive contribution from Dominion Energy. That is not leadership — it is desperation,” said Clean Virginia Executive Director Brennan Gilmore.

Through the Clean Virginia Fund, Clean Virginia’s political action committee, Clean Virginia transparently and predictably gives to Virginia candidates or incumbents who refuse contributions from Virginia’s regulated utility monopolies (i.e., Dominion Energy and Appalachian Power Company) and their employed registered lobbyists and who do not own stock in those corporations. Del. Ayala denied accepting contributions in Clean Virginia’s 2021 Statewide Candidate Questionnaire: “I did not accept campaign contributions from Virginia utility monopolies or their employed lobbyist during any of campaigns, and I will not accept them while running for Lieutenant Governor.” 

Clean Virginia also contributed to the Lieutenant Governor campaigns of Delegates Glenn Davis (R-Virginia Beach), Elizabeth Guzman (D-Prince William County), Mark Levine (D-Alexandria),Sam Rasoul (D-Roanoke), and Sean Perryman.

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Clean Virginia Announces First Round of Candidate Endorsements in Virginia’s General Assembly Elections
May 12, 2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

CONTACT:

Diana Williams, Clean Virginia Communications Lead
diana@cleanvirginia.org, 540-836-8125

Clean Virginia Announces First Round of Candidate Endorsements in Virginia’s General Assembly Elections
Endorsed Candidates Refuse Utility Monopoly Contributions and Demonstrate Commitment to Clean Government and Clean Energy

Charlottesville – Clean Virginia endorsed today 29 candidates running in Virginia’s 2021 House of Delegates primary and general elections. All supported candidates in this first round of endorsements have made a principled stance against taking campaign contributions from Virginia’s regulated utility monopolies and owning stock in those corporations.

“Clean Virginia continues to invest in a diverse group of candidates and incumbents who champion clean energy, embrace transparency and are committed to putting their constituents’ interests before those of our utility monopolies,” Clean Virginia Executive Director Brennan Gilmore said. “We are thrilled to endorse these candidates and support them in their runs for office.”

In addition to the House of Delegates races, Clean Virginia has endorsed Jennifer Carroll Foy for Governor and Delegate Jay Jones (D-Norfolk) for Attorney General. Clean Virginia also contributed to the campaigns of Delegates Hala Ayala (D-Prince William), Glenn Davis (R-Virginia Beach), Mark Levine (D-Alexandria) and Sam Rasoul (D-Roanoke) as well as Sean Perryman for Lieutenant Governor. (Delegate Elizabeth Guzman (D-Prince William), who withdrew as a candidate for Lieutenant Governor, was also supported.)

Clean Virginia endorses candidates based on a variety of criteria, including: 

  • Responses to our 2021 Candidate Questionnaire on clean governance and clean energy policy
  • Public statements
  • Legislative record (for incumbents)
  • Stance on accepting contributions from and directly owning stock in Virginia’s regulated utility monopolies — like Dominion Energy and Appalachian Power Company — and their employed lobbyists 

In addition to announcing financial support for 29 candidates and incumbents in House of Delegates races, Clean Virginia launched a paid media campaign this week for the campaigns of Jennifer Carroll Foy for Governor and Del. Jay Jones for Attorney General. 

An additional round of endorsements will follow later this month. Visit https://www.cleanvirginia.org/2021-clean-virginia-endorsements/ for details about each endorsed candidate. 

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Clean Virginia is a 501(c)4 independent advocacy organization with an associated Political Action Committee, Clean Virginia Fund. Clean Virginia works to fight corruption in Virginia politics in order to promote clean energy, a robust, competitive economy, and community control over our energy policy. We are motivated by the core belief that our democracy should serve average Virginians over special interests. 

 

Clean Virginia Endorses Delegate Jay Jones for Attorney General
April 1, 2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 1, 2021

Clean Virginia Endorses Delegate Jay Jones for Attorney General

Advocacy organization’s PAC also donates an additional $150,000 to Jones’ campaign

Charlottesville — In its first 2021 endorsement for a statewide candidate, Clean Virginia announced its endorsement today for Delegate Jay Jones’ candidacy for Attorney General. The clean energy and good governance advocacy group initially supported Delegate Jones’ (D-Norfolk) bid with a contribution of $100,000 from Clean Virginia Fund, the political action committee associated with Clean Virginia, when Jones announced his run in July 2020. With the additional $150,000 committed this month, Clean Virginia has contributed a total of $250,000 to Jones.

“We’re thrilled to officially endorse Del. Jay Jones for Attorney General, the top consumer protection officer for the state. Del. Jones has demonstrated time and again that he will champion energy reform and protect working Virginians through his bipartisan leadership in the fight against legalized corruption in the Commonwealth,” said Clean Virginia Executive Director Brennan Gilmore.

Jones and Clean Virginia share a commitment to empowering regular Virginians as a crucial part of ensuring a just, clean energy transition in Virginia. As a Delegate, Jones has championed multiple major pieces of legislation seeking to return hundreds of millions of dollars of Dominion Energy overcharges back to Virginia families and businesses as well as legislation designed to help facilitate access to rooftop solar panels for low-income communities.

“As a partner in the fights for fair energy policy and ending legalized corruption, I am honored to have the endorsement of Clean Virginia. I am running for Attorney General to ensure that the interests of all Virginians are protected, not just those of large corporations,” said Jones. “And this fight against corruption has never been more important than it is today.”

Jones was also the first endorsement of the 2021 cycle by Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam. In his statement, Northam said, “As a state delegate, Jay has led from the front in fighting for long-overdue justice reform, prioritizing our consumers, and protecting our environment.”

Clean Virginia joins Gov. Ralph Northam, Rep. Elaine Luria (D-VA), over 30 state legislators, and dozens more local elected officials and community leaders in endorsing Jones.

Jones is a Norfolk native who comes from a long line of public servants. He was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates in 2017 representing the 89th District.

CONTACT:

Cassady Craighill, 828-817-3328, cassady@cleanvirginia.org

Samson Signori, 757-625-8989, Samson@jayjones.com

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Jay Jones is a state Delegate from Norfolk, VA. In the legislature, Jay has championed protection for our environment, holding utility companies accountable, and standing up for workers. If elected, Jay would be Virginia’s first Black Attorney General.

 Clean Virginia is an independent advocacy organization with an associated Political Action Committee, Clean Virginia Fund. Clean Virginia works to fight corruption in Virginia politics in order to promote clean energy and community control over our energy policy. Clean Virginia’s funding is provided by founder Michael Bills. For details on Clean Virginia’s financial reports and political giving, please visit our listing at Virginia’s Public Access Project.

BREAKING: Dominion Energy Requests Massive Profit Increase
April 1, 2021

UPDATED WITH CORRECTION, APRIL 5: This press release has been updated to reflect that in its rate case filing, Dominion Energy appears to request that $67 million in customer refunds from 2018 be counted as a cost of service, which would result in customers paying Dominion back for those “refunds” in their monthly electricity bills. The original press release stated that it was requesting that $200 million in customer refunds be counted as a cost of service.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT:

Diana Williams, Clean Virginia Communications Lead
diana@cleanvirginia.org, 540-836-8125

April 1, 2021

BREAKING: Dominion Energy Requests Massive Profit Increase
Virginia’s largest utility monopoly demands customers pay back 2018 refunds

Richmond — Dominion Energy filed its first triennial rate review application yesterday to the State Corporation Commission (SCC), marking the first time since 2015 that regulators will examine the base rates Dominion’s customers pay for energy in Virginia. Base rates currently account for approximately 60% of a typical customer bill. The SCC will also examine Dominion’s earnings during the review period.

In the filing, Dominion requests a significant increase in its annual profit, admits to overcharging Virginians for energy, and asserts that Virginians should be required to pay back $67 million in “refunds” the monopoly was compelled to grant in 2018 as part of the Grid Transformation and Securities Act (GTSA).

“Dominion Energy’s audacious request to increase its profits adds insult to injury for Virginians whom Dominion already overcharged by over $500 million since 2017. Dominion has gotten away with ripping off families and small businesses and pocketing money that should be refunded back to customers — and now it wants more,” said Brennan Gilmore, Clean Virginia Executive Director.

Key initial takeaways from Dominion’s filing:

  1. Continued customer overcharges: Dominion’s application indicates that it continues to overcharge Virginians by hundreds of millions of dollars per year. Further, the monopoly concedes that it has overcharged Virginians even after taking into account COVID-19 debt forgiveness.
  2. Request for massive profit increase: Despite years of record low interest rates and an extremely favorable regulatory environment in Virginia, Dominion requests to increase its authorized profit level from 9.2% to 10.8%. This profit increase would also immediately raise customer rates and bills. The SCC denied a similar request in 2019, a request the agency estimated would have cost Virginians $1.4 billion over 25 years.
  3. Turning refunds into “payday loans:” By including the $67 million in customer refunds Dominion was compelled to grant Virginians under the 2018 GTSA in its earnings test, Dominion requests that Virginians pay back their own “refunds.”

“In this filing, it appears that Dominion has employed every accounting trick in the book to hide the hundreds of millions of dollars it has overcharged Virginians. Virginians desperately need reform of our broken regulatory laws so utilities are not rewarded with extra profit made by overcharging customers for electricity,” Gilmore said.

Virginia residents pay the sixth-highest electricity bills in the nation, according to data collected by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). Dominion’s current review will only examine the monopoly’s “base rates,” which make up approximately sixty percent of an average customer’s monthly utility bill, according to a Virginia Poverty Law Center report.

The SCC will issue a ruling on the rate case in November after several months of testimony and public hearings.

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Clean Virginia: Legislative Session Reveals Eagerness of Some Lawmakers to Push Forward Comprehensive Energy Reform and Ethics Policies
March 11, 2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Diana Williams, Clean Virginia Communications Lead
diana@cleanvirginia.org, 540-836-8125

March 11, 2021

Clean Virginia: Legislative Session Reveals Eagerness of Some Lawmakers to Push Forward Comprehensive Energy Reform and Ethics Policies
New Generation of Legislators Make Their Presence Felt at the General Assembly

Richmond — The two houses that make up Virginia’s General Assembly split in sometimes stark ways over a suite of bills addressing electricity rates and regulations as well as measures to address lawmaker ethics during this year’s legislative session.

“The pandemic limited constituent access to their representatives, but despite the challenges of a remote legislative session, Virginians made their voices heard. We’re also seeing a new group of legislators join veteran champions, especially in the House, who are prioritizing the needs of their constituents,” said Clean Virginia Executive Director Brennan Gilmore. “We saw thoughtful, well-crafted energy and governance reform bills that were fiercely defended by patrons and will pave the way for similarly good measures in the future.”

In one of the more striking acts of the 2021 session, a bill establishing a new grant program for the transition of Virginia’s school buses to an all-electric fleet, championed by Del. Mark Keam (D – County of Fairfax (part)), passed the House late on the final night of session. Unlike other proposals, Keam’s bill prioritized bus replacements in school districts with high rates of air pollution and asthma. That same night, the House voted down an alternative proposal championed by Dominion Energy that would have prioritized the monopoly’s profits over school needs.

“The legislature sent an unambiguous message this session: without serious rate reform, they will not continue to approve gold-plated projects designed to maximize monopoly profits while regular Virginians struggle to pay the 6th highest energy bills in the country. Dominion’s influence over legislators is notably waning,” Gilmore said.

A bipartisan and diverse group of legislators worked diligently to shift the power from utility monopolies, like Dominion Energy, back to regulators at the State Corporation Commission (SCC) and Virginia energy customers. The House of Delegates passed with bipartisan support five significant ratemaking bills designed to strike pro-monopoly provisions in Virginia’s code and restore crucial oversight authority to the SCC, but the Dominion-backed Senate Commerce and Labor committee failed to advance them on February 15th.

Dominion invested a record-breaking $1.3 million in contributions to Virginia lawmakers, including during last year’s special session and leading up to the 2021 General Assembly session. Senate Minority Leader Tommy Norment, who with Majority Leader Dick Saslaw led the charge against the utility rate reform bills, owns up to $250,000 in Dominion Energy stock, according to public disclosures, and has received over $180,000 in campaign contributions from the utility monopoly. Saslaw has accepted over $460,000 in campaign contributions from Dominion. In total, eight state senators sitting on the Commerce & Labor committee voted not to advance any of the five bills that would have given regulators the ability to set fair and reasonable electric rates. Combined, those eight senators alone have received more than $1.2 million from Dominion throughout their careers.

Legislators on both sides of the aisle also looked to strengthen Virginia’s lax campaign finance laws and to provide professional development opportunities for legislative staff. Although both efforts were widely supported in the House, each ultimately failed in the Senate.

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BREAKING: Consumer Coalition in House of Delegates Blocks Dominion Profit Grab
February 28, 2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

Diana Williams, Clean Virginia Communications Lead

diana@cleanvirginia.org, 540-836-8125 

February 28, 2021 

BREAKING: Consumer Coalition in House of Delegates Blocks Dominion Profit Grab

A bipartisan coalition determined that Virginia students deserved a better deal on electric school buses

Richmond — Late Saturday night the House of Delegates blocked SB 1380, a bill that would have approved a controversial plan by Dominion Energy to establish a substantial foothold in the electric transport sector through the development of electric school buses. The measure included inflated costs to ratepayers, sky-high profits for Dominion, and utility monopoly control over bus batteries – even if that use was not in the interests of students. The House of Delegates had already defeated the bill earlier in the day on a tie 46-46 House vote, but in a highly unusual move, Democratic House leadership resurrected the bill for another attempt at passage before it finally died 41-49 in the final vote of the 2021 legislative session. A total of 21 Democratic delegates joined 28 Republican colleagues in killing the measure. A similar bill was also defeated on a bipartisan basis in the House of Delegates in the 2020 General Assembly session.

“Dominion has a well-established history of manipulating the General Assembly to secure utility-friendly legislation, but those days are over,” Clean Virginia Executive Director Brennan Gilmore said. “A new generation of lawmakers have joined veteran consumer protection champions to restore necessary balance to the creation of energy policy in the Commonwealth, and putting the interests of consumers first.” 

The electric school bus expansion plan, announced by Dominion last year, came in the context of a “strategic repositioning” touted by Dominion Executive Chairman Tom Farrell as an opportunity to “allow us to increase our long-term earnings growth rate guidance by around 30 percent.” Dominion followed this repositioning with a record-breaking $1.3 million in contributions to Virginia lawmakers, including during last year’s special session and leading up to the 2021 General Assembly session.

“Virginia should entrust the duty of converting diesel school buses into clean, electric fleets to an appropriate entity that puts students first,” said Lizzie Hylton, Clean Virginia’s Political and Legislative Director. “The General Assembly should never give the keys of a massive transportation project to a monopoly whose profit model exclusively rests on building things as expensively and inefficiently as possible. Utilities should be taking direction from policymakers, not giving it.”

Had it passed, SB 1380 would have saddled Virginians with a needlessly expensive electric school bus transition program managed by the state’s largest utility monopoly. In addition the measure also:

  • Lacked cost safeguards that would prevent electricity rate increases for all Virginians and stop Dominion from earning an annual profit every year the buses were in circulation.
  • Would have cost ratepayers approximately $250 million for the buses alone – without factoring in the cost of the charging infrastructure or Dominion’s annual profit from both  – and would have cost school districts a further $100 million (approximately).
  • Enabled Dominion to use bus batteries — without providing compensation to schools in case of disrupting student transportation.
  • Utilized a regressive payment structure that would have most burdened low-income households, making them pay for buses through electricity bills despite already shouldering an unaffordable energy burden in a state with the sixth-highest energy bills in the nation.

The 2021 session also saw the defeat of measures to curb loose campaign finance laws by banning the personal use of campaign contributions and stopping lawmakers from accepting campaign contributions from Dominion and Appalachian Power, utilities they are elected to regulate.

Opponents of the bill included the Virginia Conservation Network, Southern Environmental Law Center, Piedmont Environmental Council, Appalachian Voices, Virginia Organizing, and others.

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BREAKING: Dominion-stacked Senate committee kills overdue electricity rate reform
February 15, 2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

CONTACT:

Cassady Craighill, Clean Virginia Communications Lead

cassady@cleanvirginia.org, 828-817-3328 

February 15, 2021

BREAKING: Dominion-stacked Senate committee kills overdue electricity rate reform 

Virginia utility monopolies donated over $1.2 million to deciding Senators 

Richmond — In a chaotic and abbreviated meeting, the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee failed to advance a suite of electricity rate reform bills that would have strengthened consumer protection measures for all utility customers and prevented Dominion Energy from pocketing overcharges from its customers. Dominion Energy and Appalachian Power Company have contributed over $1.2 million to the eight Senators who voted against a bill introduced by Delegate Dan Helmer (Fairfax) that would have allowed the State Corporation Commission to adjust future rates up or down to reflect a utility’s cost of service and rate of return. 

“$1.2 million is the price Dominion Energy has paid in campaign contributions to a handful of Senators on the Commerce and Labor Committee to cheat Virginians out of over $500 million of refunds and fair electricity rates,” said Clean Virginia Executive Director Brennan Gilmore. “Instead of voting to reform Virginia’s unjust ratemaking system that leaves customers paying the 6th highest energy bills in the country, this powerful committee and roadblock to fair energy policy, once again, batted for Dominion Energy.” 

Senator Minority Leader Tommy Norment, who with Majority Leader Dick Saslaw led the charge against the utility rate reform bills, owns up to $250,000 in Dominion Energy stock, according to public disclosures, and has received over $180,000 in campaign contributions from the utility. Senator Norment voted last month to pass by a bill that would have ordered Dominion Energy to refund 100% of the money the utility overcharged Virginians, claiming that bills aimed at protecting Virginia consumers were a “legislative assault” on the utility and expressing concern about the impact of the bill on Dominion’s “desirability in Wall Street’s perspective.” Saslaw has accepted over $460,000 in campaign contributions from Dominion Energy. 

“What we witnessed in today’s committee is a blatant corruption of the democratic process. Until voters change the makeup of this committee, powerful utility monopolies will continue not only to write favorable legislation, but to rig the entire legislative process thanks to Senators compromised by their clear financial and personal interests,” Gilmore said. 

The five consumer protection ratemaking bills put forth during this year’s General Assembly session would have restored the State Corporation Commission (SCC) with its full regulatory authority to protect consumers during Dominion’s next earnings review this year — HB1914, HB1984, HB2049, HB2160, and HB2200. All passed the House of Delegates with bipartisan support and earned endorsements from a broad spectrum of stakeholders including the Office of the Attorney General, environmental groups, low-income advocates, faith organizations, the business community, and conservative grassroots coalitions. 

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Clean Virginia Statement on Delegate Dave LaRock
January 10, 2021

In our effort to combat corruption and undue utility monopoly influence in Virginia’s energy sector, Clean Virginia Fund, Clean Virginia’s Political Action Committee, operates with a transparent, predictable giving policy for the General Assembly: we will donate $2,500 and $5,000 a year to House Delegate or State Senator candidates or incumbents, respectively, if they refuse contributions from Virginia’s regulated utility monopolies (i.e., Dominion Energy and Appalachian Power Company) and their employed registered lobbyists and do not own stock in those corporations. This policy means that we support legislators from both parties and a wide variety of political viewpoints, and often may not agree with these legislators on issues beyond the scope of having a principled stance against accepting money from the utilities they regulate.

However, some actions are so egregious and contrary to the values of our organization that we must on occasion make exceptions to this universal giving policy. Clean Virginia Fund revised our giving policy last fall to ensure it was in line with these organizational values, including the respect and dignity for all people and communities and a commitment to ethical standards and the integrity of the democratic process.

Due to his reprehensible statements denigrating the LGBTQ community, Clean Virginia Fund concluded last year it would no longer provide campaign funding to Delegate Dave LaRock, who had previously received a standard contribution for House of Delegates members who refuse utility monopoly money. Delegate LaRock’s recent promotion of baseless conspiracy theories about the results of the November Presidential election, followed by his attendance at the events of January 6 and comments that the insurrectional violence was the result of “paid provocateurs” are also of grave concern. These actions are anathema to the values of our organization and reinforce our conclusion that Delegate LaRock will no longer be eligible for our standard contribution.

– Brennan Gilmore, Clean Virginia Executive Director