March 1, 2024
 |
Virginia Capitol Building

BY SARAH RANKIN

Updated 7:47 PM EST, February 28, 2024

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — On Wednesday the Democrat controlled General Assembly defeated for another year campaign finance reform legislation that would have prohibited elected officials from spending political donations on personal expenses such as mortgages, vacations or gym memberships.

Virginia — which allows unlimited donations from individuals, corporations and special interest groups — is a national outlier for lacking such a ban, and advocates at the General Assembly have been trying for more than a decade to put personal use restrictions on candidates’ spending.

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Their hopes that a bill would reach GOP Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s desk this year ended with Wednesday’s unrecorded voice vote in a House Appropriations Committee, as that measure was the last personal use ban still alive. Another version died in the House of Delegates earlier this session for lack of a hearing.

Democratic Del. Luke Torian, who chairs the Appropriations Committee, said that both he and Democratic House Speaker Don Scott would like to see the bill pass next year. He didn’t explain his reasoning for a delay.

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