News and Analysis

Virginia Power Company Is Attempting To Keep Gun Owners From Voting
A logo on a Domionion Energy company car is pictured on July 6, 2020 in Richmond, Virginia.
Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Dominion Energy, one of Virginia’s largest power providers, is helping to keep Virginia gun owners from voting in this year’s statewide elections.

The Reload’s Stephen Gutowski reported that Dominion’s political action committee donated $200,000 to the Accountability Virginia PAC, which has paid for attack ads against GOP gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin. The ads attack Youngkin from the right, criticizing him for not getting endorsed by the NRA and Virginia Citizens Defense League, two prominent pro-Second Amendment groups.

“However, the group only sprung up in July and is run by a liberal consulting group that processes donations through the biggest liberal funding operation in the country. While it attacks Youngkin from the right on guns, it has not done the same to Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe even though he is much further to the left on the issue,” Gutowski reported. “Rather than a straightforward campaign supporting gun rights, the effort appears intended to suppress gun voters and help McAuliffe win the tight race to become governor.”

Dominion had previously donated to McAuliffe’s campaign directly when he ran for governor in 2013 and won. Dominion at the time donated $75,000 to McAuliffe’s campaign and an additional $50,000 to his inaugural committee.

But when McAuliffe announced his bid for governor this time around, his campaign said he would refuse to accept campaign money from Dominion, a move The Washington Post described as coming from a political party that “has shifted leftward and has become less accommodating to the utility giant.” The Post at that time also noted that “the pledge was new for McAuliffe, who has been socially liberal but friendly to business.”

Dominion spokesperson Rayhan Daudani told Axios that the company is transparent with its political donations.

“Our company’s political donations are disclosed monthly on the company website,” Daudani told the outlet. “We give in a bipartisan, transparent manner as our voluntary disclosures demonstrate and will continue to do so.”

In the company’s latest financial disclosure posted to its website, which covers corporate political contributions from January 1 through September 30, 2021, Dominion has given to both parties, though it has given twice as much to Democrats. Dominion gave $250,000 to the Democratic Governors Association but $200,000 to the Republican Governors Associations.  It also gave $250,000 to each the Democratic Attorneys General Association and the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee. It gave $195,000 to the Republican State Leadership Committee.

In Virginia, Dominion again provided more to Democrats, with $200,000 going to Accountability Virginia PAC, a group that only popped up in July and is tied to a liberal consulting group. Dominion also gave $165,000 to Democrat Hala Ayala’s campaign after she originally said she wouldn’t accept money from the energy provider. Dominion also donated $150,000 to Republican Jason Miyares’ campaign.

That’s a total of $1,115,000 in donations to Democrats and $545,000 (or less than half) to Republicans.

As Gutowski reported, the ads from Accountability Virginia are being targeted to Republican parts of Virginia and come as polls show an increasingly narrow race between McAuliffe and Youngkin. The current Real Clear Politics polling average gives McAuliffe a narrow, 2-point lead.

Editor’s note: A previous version of this article stated that the political action committee donated “4200,000” due to an editing error. It donated $200,000. 

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