Contemptuous disregard for campaign laws

Do whatever you need to win now, risk a wrist-slap later

The Virginia Democratic Party failed to properly disclose a $200,000 donation it received in early September from a labor union, party officials admitted today.

In Virginia, there are no limits on how much an individual or organization can give to a political candidate or party, but all donations of $10,000 or more have to be reported to the State Board of Elections within three business days. The information is then uploaded on the State Board of Elections' website so the public can keep track of who is funding political committees and candidates.

On Sept. 4, the Laborers' Political League Education Fund gave the state party $200,000, which at the time was the largest contribution the state party had received in at least a decade, excluding transfers from candidates or other Democratic committees. But the state party never reported it until Oct. 15, when it filed its quarterly campaign finance report.

After being questioned by the Washington Post, party officials said they mistakenly failed to abide by the law.

"The Democratic Party of Virginia's compliance operation missed advance reporting on a September contribution," said Jared Leopold, a spokesman for the Virginia Democratic Party. "The Party acknowledges the error. Today, the Party reached out to the State Board of Elections to report the oversight and remedy the situation."

The disclosure comes as the state party has been collecting record amounts of money from organized labor during the final weeks leading up to Election Day, even though federal law prohibits most of those donations from being used to influence this year's races.

Since Sept. 1, the party has collected $570,000 from four labor unions, including $205,000 on Oct. 21 from the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, campaign finance records show.


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