D.C. Mayor Vince Gray is sticking by his story that if his 2010 mayoral campaign did anything illegal, he didn’t know about it.
Gray’s campaign is under federal investigation and public suspicion has intensified after the feds raided the office and home of Jeff Thompson, a big D.C. political campaign contributor. Questions surround Thompson about donations he made to a variety of campaigns in the form of money orders.
At his bi-weekly press conference Wednesday, Gray fended off questions about his relationship with Thompson, Loose Lips reported. He said he asked Thompson to give to his campaign but asked just like he would ask anyone else.
He also said the rules were followed, he never handled any cash or money orders and didn’t witness any donations being handled improperly.
* Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell signed into law Wednesday the controversial bill that requires women to have abdominal ultrasound exams before undergoing abortions.
The legislation will go into effect in July for abortion providers across Virginia.
The originally proposed bill made headlines nationwide and called for women to get an invasive, transvaginal ultrasound prior to getting an abortion.
* It may only be March, but the Maryland congressional race is already heated.
Democratic candidate John Delaney accused his main opponent’s campaign of sending a campaign tracker to shoot video of him as he dropped off his kids at school.
Delaney is in a tight race for the Democratic nomination with state Sen. Rob Garagiola.
Garagiola’s campaign manager denies the allegations, according to The Baltimore Sun, insisting that the alleged campaign tracker does not work for Garagiola.
Delaney issued a statement on his website saying that Garagiola is running a smear campaign and the latest incident “crossed the line”
"Since the start of the campaign, Rob Garagiola has been running a relentless and misleading smear campaign on his opponent, trying to make political gains by going after Delaney’s philanthropic efforts, experience creating thousands of jobs, and – as of yesterday – his children. Yesterday, his campaign crossed the line by filming John Delaney’s children being dropped off at their elementary school."
"No campaign should ever use or exploit their opponent's children for political gain," Delaney campaign manger Justin Schall said in a statement, which called on Garagiola to apologize for the incident. "As a parent himself, Garagiola should know that,” said campaign manager Justin Schall. “And we call upon Garagiola to immediately cease all efforts to use Delaney’s family, and to personally apologize for this inappropriate behavior.”
* A number of Virginia business groups convened Wednesday to urge the Senate to pass a budget, arguing that failure to do so could harm Virginia’s business friendly reputation.
Senate Democrats responded to the business’ press conference and said that the divisive social issues Republicans are pushing are doing more harm to the state’s reputation.
"As members of the business community around the state have said, the obsessive focus on divisive social issues may hurt Virginia's ability to recruit businesses and talent to our state. Just in case anyone has forgotten, these are the same Republicans who have suppressed voting, mandated ultrasounds, and made it easier for criminals to buy handguns. It only took them six weeks to turn the Best Managed State into a national laughingstock," said Senator A. Donald McEachin (D-Henrico).
* Senate Democrats are contending that local governments will not be hurt by the current budget stalemate.
But Republicans are finding some hypocrisy in that assertion.
According to the Post, Republicans have dug up an eight-year-old letter signed by then-Arlington Country board chairwoman Barbara Favola, who is now a state senator. She is one of the twenty Democrat senators who have voted down two budgets.
In 2004 she signed a letter to then governor Mark Warner laying out the negative impacts of not having a budget:
“Responsible governing dictates that you adopt a budget and comprehensive tax reform package in a timely fashion,” said the letter, signed by Favola and the leaders of six other Northern Virginia jurisdictions.
“... Delayed action or supporting a referendum question on this important matter would be a gross abdication of responsibility, an abdication never seen in the history of the Commonwealth.”
The Washington Post reported that Sen. Mark Obenshain (R-Harrisonburg) shared Favola’s old letter with the rest of the Senate in a floor speech Tuesday. Favola didn’t respond then, but later issued a written statement:
“Eight years ago, in 2004, as Chairman of the Arlington County Board I, along with other mayors and chairs, asked state officials to produce a budget by mid-April,” Favola said in the statement. “Today in the 2012 Session of the General Assembly, we are still in the first week of March. I am confident that the Senate will adopt a budget in plenty of time to fund the next fiscal year’s Programs— which start on July 1, 2012.
* The New Yorker had a good, quick read about Romney’s quiet victory in Virginia. Read here.