John C Watkins

Money in politics: What do donations buy?

Money in politics: What do donations buy?

RICHMOND – An unethical, quid pro quo relationship between legislators and their donors is hard to prove and, experts say, unlikely for the vast majority of lawmakers. But some say the money flowing into the war chests of politicians affects their psyche, not their floor votes.

Every year in Virginia, hundreds of millions of dollars are donated to politicians running for local, state or federal offices. Everyone agrees that candidates need money to get their name out and win the election, but opinions differ on the lasting effect a check in the pocket of a politician can have.

“If you’re not successful with fundraising, it’s a fact that you’re...