On October 25, 2019, 10 days before Arlington County held its elections, the Sun Gazette published an editorial about Christian Dorsey’s acceptance of a $10,000 donation by the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 689 for his re-election campaign. The ATU has business before the Metro board, which Dorsey is a member of. But, by October 29, 2019, the article no longer appeared on the Gazette website.
Here is a copy of that article
EDITOR’S NOTEBOOK: IT MAY NOT BE
October 25, 2019
… but it doesn’t necessarily look, or smell, particularly good.
A little background may help:
Audrey Clement’s perpetual County Board campaign took the offensive at last Saturday’s board meeting, attacking board chairman Christian Dorsey for accepting campaign contributions from unions that potentially could benefit from decision-making during his service on the board of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.
Dorsey declined to take the bait. “We don’t use this forum to talk about campaign issues,” he sniffed said in response from the board dais, suggesting Clement take her comments to the “appropriate forum” – presumably political debates (as she has).
As even those who pay little attention to politics have learned in recent months, Virginia has an anything-goes policy for campaign contributions. So the acceptance of $10,000 from Amalgamated Transit Union Local 689 by Dorsey certainly isn’t illegal or even, by Virginia standards, particularly amoral.
But it does carry with it a wee stench. Anyone who has changed a baby’s diaper after the little one has processed a meal of strained carrots and peas will recognize it well.
Now, I have had no reason, over these many years of acquaintance, to question Dorsey’s moral rectitude. Yet a question lingers: Why did he take the moolah?
The most likely answer seems to be that the incumbent doesn’t like to expend effort fund-raising, so if a couple of groups offer him ample checks, that pretty much covers what should be sufficient for campaign signage and whatever other limited activity he’s undertaking on the way to a new term.
Expect any Democrats to join Clement in raising any flags about this? Riiiight: If we saw anything this spring, it was the hypocrisy of some on the local left, who stood by mutely as an Arlington political office (you know the one) effectively was purchased by out-of-town special interests.
The ends, their silence seems to shout, justified the means – and these same folks, of course, would have been screaming their outrage if a PAC supporting a conservative Republican pulled the same stunt. Funny how that works.
In this most recent instance – featuring Dorsey – we have the case of someone who is supposed to be overseeing the Metro system taking cash from a union that stands to benefit, if indirectly, from the Metro board’s decision-making. While it would be a stretch to see any real corruptions in this, you would have to bend yourself into a pretzel shape in an effort to pretend this doesn’t constitute the perception of a conflict of interest.
– Scott McCaffrey
A Google search confirms that the Sun Gazette article existed, but the link no longer works.
On November 6, 2019,the day after Arlington County’s election, which included incumbent Christian Dorsey, who was running for a second term on the Arlington County Board, the Washington Post reported the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 689 donation for the first time.
On November 7, 2019 the Washington Post, posted a subsequent article reporting on the Metro board’s reprimand of Dorsey’s failure to disclose the ATU donation to the Metro board within the required 10 days.
And on November 8, 2019 the Washington Post reported on Christian Dorsey’s bankruptcy filing 3 days after the election, but weeks after the bankruptcy petition took place in mid-October.
Arlingtonians expect transparency from our elected officials and fair and unbiased reporting by the media of our elected officials. This is especially the case when it comes to information which could determine the outcome of our elections.
Washington Post’s publication of relevant information only after the election, as well as the Sun Gazette’s deletion of an editorial containing information about the ATU donation just days before an election, makes anyone wonder, what’s going on here?