Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Tomorrow's Webinar: Last Chance to Register

Register now for tomorrow's webinar! At 2 p.m., the VPAP team will be joined by Jessica Bowman, Chief Deputy Commissioner at the Virginia Department of Elections who will explore the new laws, circumstances and expectations for Election Day next week.

The discussion will cover the changes in the way results will be reported this year and how VPAP is preparing for the unprecedented election. Attendees will be invited to submit questions during the webinar.
Register Now
Registration is limited to 500 people. By registering now, you'll receive an email with the Zoom link tomorrow. The confirmation email you'll receive upon signing up will have the option to add the webinar to your calendar.
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P.O. Box 1472
Richmond, VA 23218

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Monday, October 26, 2020

Now Live: Pre-Election Campaign Finance Reports

VPAP has posted campaign finance disclosures filed with the Virginia Department of Elections by 5 p.m. today.

The reports from local candidates on next week's ballot and committees seeking to pass or defeat ballot issues cover funds raised between Oct. 1 - 22.

The deadline is midnight tonight, so not all reports will be available. VPAP will update its site overnight.

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Coming this week: VPAP will integrate information from the reports throughout its website.

Copyright © 2020 Virginia Public Access Project, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you are either a VPAP Donor or you signed up for updates on VPAP.org.

Our mailing address is:
Virginia Public Access Project
P.O. Box 1472
Richmond, VA 23218

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You Won't Believe the Help Wanted Ad I just saw!

Experienced Campaign Expert to Help Raise Taxes!

Dear Friend,

This “Help Wanted” ad that just came out doesn’t quite say that … but the message is clear: The campaign to raise your taxes next year has already begun!

The Thomas Jefferson Institute has been warning about “The Transportation and Climate Initiative” (TCI) for more than a year.

In February, delayed a vote on TCI for a year. But it will be back in the General Assembly in January.

TCI will –

·     Raise your gas and diesel fuel taxes to 50 cents a gallon.
·     Lead to gasoline rationing at the wholesale level.
·     Move gas tax money away from road repair and construction to bike lanes, walking lanes, subsidies for electric vehicles, and electric charging stations.

Fortunately, our team at the Thomas Jefferson Institute is already hard at work to stop it again!

Just this morning, we met to discuss our new report showing how much TCI will cost taxpayers in Virginia. I can’t provide specifics, but … it’s a lot! And when we release the report, you’ll be among the first to receive it!

The Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis – a left-centered organization with a $1.3 million budget – is leading the charge to raise your taxes. About $900,000 of their funding comes from just seven Big Money left-wing foundations.

Our budget is much, much less. But we’re going to go up against them. And Governor Northam. And the Democrat-controlled General Assembly. And do it with every weapon at our disposal.

I know your focus is on the election. But clearly, the Left is gearing up, and we cannot wait.

So I need to ask: Will you make a tax-deductible gift to the Thomas Jefferson Institute right now, to help us finance a fight against the Transportation and Climate Initiative? You can do so by clicking here.

Your gift is tax-deductible. A gift today of $500, $100 … even only $25 will help us bring the resources to bear to stop this tax increase. You can make your gift by clicking here.

How much gas do you use in a year? Because if we fail, the taxes on each gallon will rise to 50 cents a gallon.

Isn’t that worth a donation of $25, $100, $500 or more today? Please chip in to defeat this proposal by clicking here.

I cannot hope to compete with those seven Big Money foundations paying for the "raise taxes" campaign. But with your help, we can fight them and win!

Thank you for your consideration.

Christian N. Braunlich
Support the work of
The Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Your October 25th Sunday Summary

Dear Friend of TJI,

Democrats are threatening to take away Senator Diane Feinstein’s ranking position on the Senate Judiciary Committee for the egregious act of hugging Chairman Lindsey Graham after the Amy Coney Barrett hearings and thanking him for the way it was conducted … acts once considered simply civil and polite. For them, the Left’s dogma does not live sufficiently loudly within her.

Meanwhile …

1.) The General Assembly’s special “Covid and Cops” session is all but over, with the result that many of their actions make economic recovery harder. Steve Haner, Jefferson Institute Senior Fellow for State and Local Tax Policy has the story here.

2.) On a nearly straight party-line vote, General Assembly Democrats passed a bill (here) prohibiting police for stopping anyone with a broken brake light or missing headlight, among other things. Governor Northam amended it to apply only if both headlights are out at night or all three brake lights are missing (here). Missing headlights on dark and stormy days are to be ignored. Steve Haner observes that it appears okay to masquerade as a motorcycle. To stay safe, perhaps it is best just play by your Mom’s rules: “Don’t go out in the rain and get home before dark.”

3.) The bill’s sponsor, Delegate Patrick Hope, says he didn’t know headlights were in the bill (here). This follows State Senator Jennifer McClellan and Delegate Rip Sullivan admitting they were unaware of changes raising the cost of their Clean Economy law by $2 billion (here). It's an excuse we've heard before (here). While it would be cumbersome for legislators to have to read every bill they vote on, they should at least have to read their own.

4.) Or they could just read the Virginia Public Access Project. It is an incredible and straightforward website, rich with data about elections and public policy in Virginia. Want to know how many people in your county have already voted? Click here. Want to know who is winning the “money race” in this year’s congressional elections (and, by clicking through, who gave it)? Click here. Want to know how much is being spent on political ads, for who, and what they say? Click here. We recommend it.

5.) After a state Inspector General’s report accusing the Parole Board of breaking the law was redacted, Republican leaders insisted on getting unredacted copies and then introduced bills to ensure more transparency … but Democrats killed them in the House and Senate (here). Now, the IG has found more problems with victim and prosecutor notifications … but those reports are redacted, too (here). Why? Public Safety Secretary Brian Moran suggests it’s because GOP leaders dared to make public the last reports. Veteran reporter Robert Zullo, writing in the progressive Virginia Mercury (here), says “Motives shouldn’t matter when it comes to FOIA requests,” and draws a comparison to Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn’s violation of FOIA law for which she was fined (here) – an extremely rare punishment pretty much ignored by the mainstream media. The much more conservative Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star (here) agrees with the Virginia Mercury, which brings together Right and Left and leaves those acting imperiously as they run the state outliers in the public’s right to know.

6.) Have conservatives lost sight of American aspiration? Ryan Streeter, of the American Enterprise Institute, argues we have … and its time to get back toward a politics of the American Dream (here).

7.) The American Dream is inextricably linked to an improving American economy, which is why you’re invited to our presentation on “Post-Election Economic Priorities” with the former Chairman of President Trump’s Council of Economic Advisors, Kevin Hassett. Offered in co-sponsorship with the National Review Institute, the online program is on Tuesday, November 10, from 7:00 to 7:45 pm. To register, click here.

8.) Last week, we reported that, in another example of censorship, Amazon blocked, without reason, distribution of Shelby and Eli Steele’s new film, What Killed Michael Brown (here). The suspicion by conservatives was that Shelby Steele’s position as a black conservative commentator made him unacceptable to the established orthodoxy. Backlash commenced, and the good news is that Amazon has relented, and you can now rent the film over either Amazon, where it has risen to the top of their list (here). Peaceful protests work; making the work of conservatives profitable to Big Tech works even better.

9.) Kyle Mann, editor-in-chief of Christian conservative satire site The Babylon Bee, observes that the bigger problem is algorithms that can’t distinguish and have no sense of humor, after Facebook demonetized their page for quoting lines from Monty Python (here). After becoming the subject of satire themselves (here), Facebook has now apologized (here). A reminder that not everything is a conspiracy, but sometimes a machine doing the thinking for us.

10.) The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors has voted to allow public employee union organizers into their buildings to recruit. Current law prohibits collective bargaining, but that changes in May and local Boards (and School Boards) will be flooded with efforts to create collective bargaining agreements (which customarily raise the cost of local governments where they have been imposed). Many local supervisors and city councils are unaware this is about to happen. Union lawyers, meanwhile, have likely already written draft collective bargaining agreements. Jim Bacon, over at Bacon's Rebellion, has the story here.

Finally … Ever get the feeling that all the promises sound the same from The Candidates?

Happy Sunday, Everyone.

Go watch What Killed Michael Steele. Or subscribe to The Babylon Bee. Or both.

Chris Braunlich
Support the work of
The Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy