ICYMI: Candidates who sit out “transparency day”

transparencyMy latest op-ed, title above, appeared in The Virginian-Pilot last Thursday.  It seems some local candidates haven’t gotten the message that those who elect them should be able to tell who is paying for their campaigns.

For a while, it seemed that transparency was all the rage. Budgets are online, hearings are live-streamed and so forth. But pulling back the curtain on how those who would represent us get elected has been a slow process. We finally have all of the members of the House of Delegates filing financial reports electronically. The problem is at the local level, and while VPAP does an excellent job with limited resources, it can’t cover all the local races. Worse, as I discovered a couple of months ago, VPAP tracks only two constitutional offices in the entire commonwealth.  For financial information on the others, you have to visit the SBE website.

Voters in the cities of Hampton Roads will see four of the five constitutional offices on the ballot in November. And following the money in these races is made much more difficult because some of them are still filing on paper. I don’t get it; it’s not as if they have to pay to file electronically. But because they file on paper, I’d have to pay to get copies.

Any candidate still filing on paper is basically telling voters “trust me.” Um, no.

I won’t vote for a candidate who doesn’t embrace this little bit of transparency.

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.

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