Pay For Play The Steve Shannon Way

In the first quarter filing for 2009, Democratic nominee for Attorney General Steve Shannon reported receiving $272,644 in cash and in-kind contributions from 248 individuals, organizations and businesses, more than double the $105,205 raised by the top Republican AG nominee, John Brownlee.  Admittedly that is an awful lot of money, but is it representative of Shannon’s connection to Virginia or to moneyed interests?

A look at Steve Shannon’s filing shows 207 contributions over $100 for $269,500, well over $1000 per donor on average.  But much of that money came from himself, out of state litigators, unions, PACs, and interests that don’t have the best interests of Virginians’ at heart.

$29,475 Friends of Steve Shannon

$25,000 Barroway Topaz Kessler Meltzer & Check LLP
Based in Pennsylvania and California, BTKM&C LLP’s chief practice areas is Securities Class Action, Antitrust and Consumer Fraud litigation.

$12,500 Kaplan Fox & Kilsheimer LLP
Based in New York, New Jersey, California, and Illinois, Kaplan Fox practices antitrust, securities, and general litigation.

$10,000 Consumer Litigation Associates P.C
Actually based in Virginia, CLA PC is, well, a group of litigators.

$5,000 Virginia AFL-CIO

$5,000 Law Office of Philip R. Hochberg
Sports lobbyist

$5,000 Vradenburg Mr. George III

$2,500 AOL

$2,500 Freedom Bail Bonding Co Inc.
Fairfax based bail bonding company.

$1,000 Inc.
Consumer advocacy organization based in California, specializing in information on class action and small claims suits.

$1,000 FPH Consulting
Which lists as one of its clients the Democratic Attorney General’s Association.

$1,000 Kay Management
A Silver Spring, Maryland building management company.

$1,000 United Transportation Union

$1,000 PSI PAC
The lobbying arm of Psychiatric Solutions, Inc (, a private mental hospital company recently in the news for the poor management of a Chicago area facility.

Hospital thwarts police inquiries; violence festered in silence

Riveredge failed to keep patients safe, UIC study finds

$101,975 from himself, corporate, outsider, union, and litigation contributions of $1000 or more.  Not counting the car dealerships funding his campaign.  Or the under $1000 PACs, unions, and interests that show the kind of campaign Shannon’s looking to run – one shaped by moneyed interests who invest in an Attorney General who will represet their interests more than Virginia’s.

You have to shave off an awful lot of Steve Shannon’s money before you start to see how widespread his support in Virginia really is.  Or isn’t.

  • tx2vadem

    How is this different from Bob McDonnell’s 2005 campaign? For 2005 alone, he raised a total of $2,710,258 in contributions above $100. Also, he received a total of $2,065,486 in in-kind contributions. His top 5 , outside Republican PACs, contributors were: Phil Gramm, G Douglas Bevelacqua, Verizon, Marion G “Pat” Robertson, and the Virginia Auto Dealers Association.

    Kaplan Fox & Kilsheimer LLP gave $1,000 to Bob McDonnell’s gubernatorial campaign. You think AOL’s donation to Shannon is big, they gave McDonnell $10k. Kay Management gives most of their money to the Apartment & Office Building Association, which in turn has given $4,500 to the VA Republican Senate Caucus and $4,000 to the Republican Party – Virginia House Campaign Committee.

    Money flows into politics from various sources. Those sources give the most money to people who support their causes. This isn’t news though. But I would advise that unless your candidate is a chaste virgin when it comes to lobbyist, corporate, PAC, or business money to just drop the subject.

    You don’t like Steve Shannon’s views, let’s discuss those. And chances are if you don’t like his views, you won’t like his donors. But the surprise there is what?

  • Figures a “tx2va” democrat wouldn’t notice the VIRGINIANS in McDonnell’s “top 5” – which was the point of the post. And before you scream about Phil Gramm, realize Gramm’s wife works with George Mason University.

  • It makes sense that Shannon would be getting money from law firms – he’s a lawyer. But it does concern me that these are out of state law firms. I don’t have a problem with him getting money from the Virginia AFL-CIO or the UTU. The UTU has over a dozen locals in Virginia. They may be unions but they represent Virginians.

    Other than that, I don’t see much there that’s controversial.

  • Talk about pay for play – check out the Moran brothers:

  • tx2vadem

    Brian, I thought the point of this post was money’s influence in politics. Given these lines: “but is it representative of Shannon’s connection to Virginia or to moneyed interests” and “one shaped by moneyed interests who invest in an Attorney General who will represent their interests more than Virginia’s.”

    I am not really interested in picking a part McDonnell’s or the RPV’s or the RNC’s donor list. But it can be done just as easily as this poster picks at Shannon’s list. My point is that this argument does not hold any water. It is weak. This fails to demonstrate that Shannon has been bought; that he is a corrupt politician. That he will represent Virginia’s interests any less than whoever his Republican challenger will be.

    If we are making the argument about money’s influence in politics, the AG’s job would sometimes put the person across the table from a company like Verizon. If they gave you $35k to fund your campaign, would you be as good a public defender when representing consumers before the SCC?

    Verizon, by the way, is headquartered in New York City and chartered in Delaware. If you want to include in scope of Virginians anyone who does business in Virginia, then of the folks listed, are we certain that they have no business dealings in the state of Virginia?

  • MPH

    Of course, McDonnell didn’t do anything either when PSI staff were abusing and raping children right here in VA at Whisper Ridge Charlottesville. Rather than being closed, PSI paid a paltry $30,000 fine, followed up with a completely unrelated $25,000 donation to Governor Kaine’s PAC.

  • Susan L.

    Many horrifying PSI incidents have happened right here in Virginia. Especially to foster children, including my adopted son who received numerous, serious injuries by PSI staff. VADSS just sent him back for more each time, no abuse, no neglect. Sometimes you have to break kids legs to get them to behave, even when you have removed them from their original home to supposedly keep them safe. My son was never hurt as bad by his original abusive mother as he was by poorly trained PSI staff. MIT actually did a study showing children in abusive homes did better and were physically injured less staying in the home rather than going into residential care.

  • Susan L.

    But I might vote for McDonnell just because he did this which changed the lives for so many families I have met –

    Something simple that help families and special needs children, made sense and saved the state money!

    Now if he or Del. Fralin could encourage Mims to look at a very similar issue regarding VADSS denying adoption assistance to families who take legal custody of their special needs foster children before adopting them. (Which we did after PSI severely injured our son and DSS kept returning him to the PSI facility.) VA Code is skating on thin ice restrictively defining special needs children by placement, not just by their special needs. This is easier effort wise for local DSS workers, but hurts the kids or prevents them from being adopted AND ends up costing the state more money! So much for Virginia encouraging and supporting families!

  • Ignatius


    If you can dissect McD’s donor list then do so or shut up. Shannon has been exposed for what he is–a hack who would use his office to try and turn Virginia into a basket case state like New york, etc., where nothing happens without the express consent of the trial bar. The fact that he relies on shysters, crooks and theives from other states to pad his coffers is even more damning.

  • Susan L.

    McDonnell did take money twice from PSI’s Virginia lobbyist, Kemp Associates. Apparently so did everyone else who would possibly provide oversight to PSI.

    “He who has the gold makes the rules.” No matter what happens to my child, Virginia’s children and other special needs children in PSI facilities all across the country. This is an issue that needs to be addressed. Here’s a most recent PSI report.


    I think it’s hilarious to waive blame from McDonnell, notorious for costing the Commonwealth tons of money by going against federal regulations for nuclear energy [see North Anna] safety standards, and then gripe about legitimate fundraising practices supported by the law. Is that all you have?

  • tx2vadem


    Maybe later I will take the opportunity to dig through McDonnell’s fundraising records. As I said earlier, I don’t have the inclination now to do what would be a time consuming exercise (to do well anyway). And my point is that a bunch of donations fails to establish corruption or that a candidate will be unresponsive to his/her constituents. If you hold positions advocated by any party really, then you get their contributions.

    All you have are unsubstantiated accusations at this point. That and $1.50 will buy you a cup of coffee.

  • Just a thought

    Vis-a-vis the out of state firms….Shannon went to UVA for law school guys. Don’t ya think he might have a former classmate or two who went on to big firms outside Virginia that are willing to support his run?

    As is well known, UVA law is one of the best law schools in the country and its graduates routinely get hired by the biggest firms all over the United States. It’s called personal connections folks, not a thing in the world wrong with that, especially when these people went to law school here in the Commonwealth.

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