My latest op-ed, title above, appeared in The Virginian-Pilot Thursday. One of the best things about writing is the research that goes into it. It never fails that I end up learning something new.
In this case, it was the link between the last major scandal Virginia endured – that of Norfolk state senator Peter Babalas – and the change in the disclosure laws it prompted. This article from the Richmond Times-Dispatch sums it up quite neatly, and prompted me to spend some time in the Pilot archives. (One Babalas obit can be read through Google here. And I had a hard time locating an image of Babalas. The one shown was found here.)
We are all too familiar with the Phil Hamilton saga, which basically produced no changes in the laws. In the wake of the McDonnell scandal, the question now is which of the instances the legislature will follow. Will it do Babalas or Hamilton?
From here on out, that’s going to be my question for the candidates in the fall.
Separately, while I included a reference to the Byrd Machine in my article, prompted by the recent death of “Little Harry,” understand that there are a lot of folks who believe that the total control of the machine meant any scandals were kept out of the public eye. There may be some truth to that but I’ve not found anything specific that confirms it.
My column appears in The Virginian-Pilot every week, usually on Thursdays. You can see the columns as they are published here, or navigate to them from the PilotOnline.com homepage by clicking on Opinion and then choosing my name at the bottom of the dropdown list. You can also see the columns by liking my Facebook page. Although my column appears weekly, I am not and have never been an employee of The Virginian-Pilot.Follow @vpaige