Sen. Amanda Chase wanted to ban out-of-state donations. Then she accepted $28,000 from outside Virginia.

By Keya Vakil
August 1, 2019

In 2016, state Senator Amanda Chase (R-Midlothian) introduced SB 723, a bill that would have prohibited candidates for the Virginia General Assembly from accepting campaign donations from outside of Virginia. 

That same year, Chase accepted $7,600 from out-of-state donors, including companies like Comcast and Pfizer, according to campaign finance reports filed with the Virginia Department of Elections. In fact, since 2015, Chase has accepted more than $28,000 in campaign donations from outside the Commonwealth.

Even though Chase has accepted over 50 out-of-state donations since 2015, she has continued to rail against the practice. 

During a September 2018 episode of her “Cut to the Chase With Senator Amanda Chase” radio show, Chase said she sponsored the bill because it “upset” her that outside money was coming into the Commonwealth. “If I live in Virginia I cannot vote in North Carolina’s primaries or California’s primaries but you’re saying that I can donate money and basically influence an election,” Chase said. 

Chase did not mention that she herself accepted over $2,000 from two California donors; the Amgen Political Action Committee and Tesla Motors, Inc.

During that same September 2018 radio segment, Chase said she knew that the bill she introduced was unconstitutional and wanted to challenge that rule. She also said she intends to propose an amendment to Virginia’s Constitution to ban candidates from accepting out-of-state donations in the future.

She then accepted $3,500 from out-of-state donors from October 2018 through December 2018.

In an emailed statement, Sen. Chase reiterated her desire to ban out-of-state campaign donations, but said she would continue to accept them herself until then. “I still want to ban out of state campaign donations and will continue to work hard to make that happen. In the meantime, I’m not going to give my opponent a leg up by playing by a different set of rules,” the statement read.

Chase’s out-of-state donations were shared with The Dogwood by American Bridge, a left-wing Super PAC.

The incumbent Senator has a had a rocky re-election campaign as she fights to hold onto her seat representing Virginia’s 11th Senate district. In March, Chase got into an altercation with a Capitol police officer and made even bigger waves in June when she waded into the debate over gun laws on Facebook and said “it’s those who are naive and unprepared that end up raped.” 

Chase is running against Democrat Amanda Pohl, an educator and social worker who lives in Chesterfield.

The 11th district tilts Republican, but has shifted to the left in recent years and U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va) won the district by just over 700 votes in 2018. Chase is a favorite to win re-election and has outraised Pohl by a more than 2:1 margin, but Democrats are hoping her controversies give Pohl a fighting chance.

This story has been updated to include Sen. Chase’s statement.

  • Keya Vakil

    Keya Vakil is the deputy political editor at COURIER. He previously worked as a researcher in the film industry and dabbled in the political world.

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