As if I needed further proof of just how bad the influence of money on governance in Virginia has become, my local paper recently ran two stories that gave me two additional reasons to be disgusted by the ease with which special interest money can buy our democracy.
One involved a revenue bill which appeared to have no opponents in the General Assembly until it found itself the target of a successful big-money lobbying effort that ultimately doomed it.
The second instance of political prostitution concerned bills that passed this week. Those bills, introduced by Sen. Steve Newman (R-Falwell) at the behest of Gov. Bob McDonnell, give the state a role in the creation - and funding - of charter, online and virtual schools despite objections from some that doing so would raid public school funding in a time of unprecedented budget cuts.
My disgust was caused by the fact that K12, a Herndon company that would benefit greatly from the online education part of the bill, was invited by the governor's office to sit in on working group sessions that essentially wrote the legislation.
I guess K12 got a good return on the $40,000 it donated to Bob McDonnell's campaign and inauguration and the $17,500 it gave to various legislators who sit on the education committees. I knew that the world's oldest profession in a political sense was rampant in Richmond. I just never knew how cheaply those people could be purchased.
Here's more detail of what went on in Richmond.