INTERVIEW: Web site tracks political donations

By Ryan Nobles - bio | email | facebook
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Our next guest has made a career of making sure you know what your elected leaders are up to. David Poole is the Executive Director of the non-partisan Virginia Public Access Project.

Ryan Nobles: David, thank you so much for being here.

David Poole: Thanks for having me, Ryan.

Ryan Nobles:  You join us during Sunshine Week, of course, which is a week dedicated to shining the light on government and government business and you have a new rollout on your website this week, but before we get to that, tell me exactly for our viewers that don't know what VPAP does.

David Poole: VPAP makes it easier for the public to follow money and politics. Virginia is one of the few states with no limits on contributions, so disclosure is the only quote-unquote, regulation, so what VPAP does is take the campaign finance reports, puts them online at and makes it easier for people to get access to this information.

Ryan Nobles:  And the easier part is important because anybody can go and get this information, but it's sometimes hard to wade through all the data and you have it in very easy-to-search models, that people can just type names and find out how much money they're getting, right?

David Poole: Exactly. You don't have to look one candidates support, you can a donor and find out all the other candidates they have given too, it's a way to cross reference the information.

Ryan Nobles:  Currently all the information on there is from the most part at the state level, but you have decided to go more local. You've expanded your access to talk about Chesterfield and Henrico. Talk a little more about that.

David Poole: Right., people can now go and find out who is giving the money to candidates in Chesterfield and Henrico County for the board of supervisors. They can sort the information and find out a little bit more about who the candidates are and what the interests might be behind each candidate.

Ryan Nobles:  And I was so excited to see this because I think a lot of times the board of supervisors in particular don't get that much attention, but some of the decisions made at this local level are some of the things that impact people the most directly.

David Poole: That's right. The supervisors control everything, the tax rate to land use planning. It's a lot of important decisions they make.

Ryan Nobles: Okay. And you can get all that information by going to the website, which is David, thank you so much for your work as a political reporter. I go to you guys on a regular basis and it is excellent information. I appreciate you being on.

David Poole: Thank you, Ryan.

See the video at right for the full interview.

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