[Sun Gazette editorials represent the viewpoint of Sun Gazette Newspapers, which provides content to, but is otherwise unaffiliated with, InsideNoVa or Rappahannock Media LLC.]
This is being written before the votes are tallied in Democratic primary races across Northern Virginia, but our concern is real no matter the winners.
In two races – for commonwealth’s attorney in Fairfax and also in the adjoining areas of Arlington and Falls Church – a left-wing, out-of-the-area special-interest group has poured in hundreds of thousands of dollars in an effort to unseat the incumbents (Raymond Morrogh in Fairfax and Theo Stamos in Arlington/Falls Church).
From a legal standpoint, there’s nothing improper about the arrangement – Virginia is the Wild, Wild West of campaign finance, so long as it is disclosed in a timely manner, and we have no argument with those who play by the rules, although we did endorse Morrogh and Stamos.
What is concerning, however, is the silence from a large number of Democratic elected officials, particularly those who support the insurgent candidates (Steve Descano in Fairfax and Parisa Tafti in Arlington/Falls Church), but have not been willing to speak out against this infusion of out-of-town cash into strictly local races.
Imagine for a moment if an interest group began dumping hundreds of thousands of dollars into the campaign coffers of otherwise unknown and untested Republican or independent candidates in an effort to influence the election. Just taking an educated guess here: Prominent Democrats would be up in arms, calling it a perversion of the electoral process while making demands for stricter campaign-finance laws to ensure elections are won on the merits, not by he (or she) who has the most cash.
Yet in this case, many Democrats stay silent because it is politically expedient to do so. It sometimes seems moral indignation can be pretty selective, can’t it?