McAuliffe’s PAC off to fast start, with $254,000 raised in two weeks

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Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s political action committee has collected more than $250,000 in two weeks, far outpacing his most recent predecessor’s state leadership PAC and easily topping totals for other leadership PACs in state government for the first three months of the year.

Common Good Virginia, which officially launched on March 17, raised $254,000 through the end of March, according to statistics compiled Tuesday by the Virginia Public Access Project, a nonpartisan tracker of money in politics. The committee’s largest expenditure was a $100,000 donation to the Democratic Party of Virginia on March 31 and it finished the quarter with $130,670 on hand, though it reported another $100,000 contribution to the state party on April 9.

Mr. McAuliffe’s PAC is off to a much hotter start than former Gov. McDonnell’s Opportunity Virginia PAC. Mr. McDonnell’s PAC was registered on Nov. 19, 2009, and reported about $207,000 in contributions through December 31, 2009, the largest one being a single $100,000 donation from Radford venture capitalist Randal J. Kirk on Dec. 29, 2009.

Former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine’s Moving Virginia Forward PAC, meanwhile, which was registered on Jan. 28, 2006, mustered just shy of $4,400 in the first quarter of that year, not counting $400,000 that was transferred from Mr. Kaine’s inaugural fund into the account of the political action committee.

Mr. McAuliffe’s PAC raised some eyebrows last month when it advertised access to the governor and roundtable discussions with “policy experts” in exchange for donations as low as $10,000. The former Democratic National Committee Chairman, who helped raise millions for President Clinton’s re-election effort in 1996, chalked up the propositioning to “eager beavers” working on the PAC and said he wouldn’t be beholden to the amounts.

“They put out a piece of paper that I had never seen or approved,” Mr. McAuliffe said last month on WRVA Radio’s “Ask the Governor” program. “So we’re not going to do what they said.”

The largest single donation for Common Good Virginia was a $100,000 contribution from the International Association of Firefighters. Other notable donations include $25,000 apiece from Anheuser-Busch and law giant McGuire Woods, as well as $10,000 from the state AFL-CIO affiliate and law firm Troutman Sanders.

As for other state leadership committees, House Speaker William J. Howell’s Dominion Leadership Trust brought in $188,250 during the first three months of the year and spent $263,904, finishing the quarter with $305,095 on hand.

Majority Leader PAC, the committee affiliated with House Majority Leader M. Kirkland Cox, Colonial Heights Republican, reported $47,508 in receipts and $16,687 in expenses and finished the quarter with $70,469 on hand.

Lt. Gov. Ralph S. Northam’s Stronger Together PAC hauled in nearly $80,000 in the first quarter and spent $44,105, finishing with slightly more than $76,704 on hand as of March 31.

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