City State: Morning Roundup

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A NEW POLL IN THE 2012 VIRGINIA SENATE RACE shows that top Republican candidate George Allen and top Democratic candidate Tim Kaine remain deadlocked. Mr. Kaine had 46 percent and Mr. Allen had 44, after being tied at 47 percent in February, according to a survey released Wednesday by the Democrat-leaning Public Policy Polling. The 2-point advantage is within the poll’s 4.2 percentage point margin of error.

“Essentially the only difference is that independents have moved from 50-41 in Allen’s favor to 45-40 in Kaine‘s,” the pollsters said. Mr. Allen and Mr. Kaine, both former Virginia governors, are vying for the seat of Democratic Sen. Jim Webb, who is not seeking re-election. Mr. Allen lost that seat to Mr. Webb in 2006. The survey of 547 Virginia voters was conducted from May 5 to 8.

TIM KAINE, who until recently was Democratic National Committee chairman, publicly made clear the group, the party’s major fundraising arm, does not take PAC and lobbyist money — but Mr. Kaine does. On Tuesday, he spent more than an hour at Cornerstone Government Affairs LLC at a Capitol Hill campaign fundraiser. The lobbying firm represents some of the country’s biggest corporations, including Wal-Mart, Johnson & Johnson, General Dynamics and Boeing.

As DNC chairman, Mr. Kaine often noted that the party doesn’t take money from federal lobbyists. Mr. Obama insisted on the ban in 2008. A spokeswoman for Mr. Kaine confirmed that he would accept contributions from lobbyists and political action committees during his run for the Senate, reports Jim McElhatton of The Washington Times.

D.C. MAYOR VINCENT C. GRAY’S campaign consultant turned political appointee Cherita F. Whiting was earning $98,000 per year, not the $65,000 annually the Gary administration previously reported to the D.C. Council, according to the D.C. government employee listings obtained by Jeffrey Anderson of The Washington Times.

The document shows that Ms. Whiting’s $98,000-a-year salary came with fringe benefits, for a total compensation package of $123,676. Ms. Whiting, a Ward 4 activist, was hired as a special assistant in the Department of Parks and Recreation. Her hiring is among a number of political appointments that raised questions soon after Mr. Gray took office, such as whether his administration engaged in nepotism or skirted accepted hiring practices for people who supported his candidacy.

MR. GRAY says he “not going to speculate” about why a House oversight committee has asked him to testify today on the D.C. budget — a move that raised the specter of the congressionally imposed financial control board, according to The Washington Times. Rep. Trey Gowdy, South Carolina Republican and chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform’s D.C. subcommittee, called the hearing “to examine the fiscal sustainability of D.C. spending,” according to his office.

WHEN IT COMES TO CAMPAIGN FINANCE, Virginia is a state with no limits, writes Norfolk Virginian-Pilot columnist Vivian J. Paige, courtesy of Tom Whipple’s definitive roundup. Contributions can be from just about any person or organization and of any size. The only thing required is that the contributions and information on the donor be disclosed for amounts in excess of $100.

For years, candidates filed financial disclosure reports on paper, making it virtually impossible for the average citizen to view and analyze the data. That changed in 1997 with the creation of the nonpartisan, nonprofit Virginia Public Access Project. What began as the simple entering of data from the paper reports has evolved into a must-view website for anyone interested in following the money in Virginia politics. All of the state-level candidates and committees are included.

VIRGINIA GOV. ROBERT F. MCDONNELL has asked the Defense Department to delay the relocation of thousands of military workers to the Mark Center in Alexandria. Citing recent reports issued by the Department of Defense inspector general and the Virginia Department of Transportation that foretell of gridlock around the site, Mr. McDonnell in a May 6 letter to Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates asked for more time to complete transportation improvements, according to The Washington Times.

The letter, released Wednesday, asks the Defense Department to delay the part of the Army’s Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) plan mandating that 6,400 DOD employees be moved to the Mark Center by September.

© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

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