Editorial: After secrecy in light rail fight, greater transparency is needed in Virginia’s campaign finance law

POSITION: A bill to end an exemption for some nonprofits seeking to influence referenda could mean our public policy and spending choices will be made by better-informed citizens. It deserves support in Richmond. Every Virginian should know who is paying to influence… Continue Reading


DeSteph bill would end exemption for nonprofit advocacy that kept voters in the dark during light rail referendum

BY JOHN-HENRY DOUCETTE VIRGINIA BEACH – State Sen. Bill DeSteph, R-8th District, has introduced a bill to change language in Virginia law that can let some nonprofit groups shield the identities of financial backers and the extent of their spending to… Continue Reading


Light rail, dark money: A conflict between election law and guidance is part of bigger transparency issues

BY JOHN-HENRY DOUCETTE VIRGINIA BEACH — It may be months before Virginia Beach citizens have any sense how much money light rail advocates spent to influence their votes on Election Day – and the sources of that money may never be… Continue Reading


DeSteph wants attorney general to review nonprofit advocacy in light rail referendum that revealed conflict in election law, state guidance

BY JOHN-HENRY DOUCETTE VIRGINIA BEACH – State Sen. Bill DeSteph, R-8th District, wants the state attorney general to determine whether it is appropriate for a nonprofit to advocate a position in the Nov. 8 light rail referendum without forming a… Continue Reading


Air Force letter: Belote campaign improperly used uniform picture, military status in campaign materials

BY JOHN-HENRY DOUCETTE VIRGINIA BEACH — Democrat Dave Belote, a retired Air Force officer, improperly used his uniform and military status while campaigning for the 8th state senate district, according to a letter a senior Air Force official wrote to the campaign. Conrad… Continue Reading


From the Editor: A word or two about our election coverage

BY JOHN-HENRY DOUCETTE PUNGO — Here are two notes about aspects of the recent election coverage in The Independent News and our site. One deals with the way candidates present themselves and my decision to address one example of that shortly before… Continue Reading


Belote, DeSteph hope to follow McWaters in 8th state senate district

BY AMY POULTER COURTHOUSE — Two candidates from Virginia Beach are running to claim the Eighth District seat now held by state Sen. Jeff McWaters, a Republican who is retiring.  Democrat Dave Belote, a retired Air Force officer, and Republican Bill… Continue Reading


Belote campaign says it used uniform photo appropriately, but some uses may be inconsistent with regulation

BY JOHN-HENRY DOUCETTE VIRGINIA BEACH — The photograph shows Dave Belote, a retired Air Force officer running for a state senate seat here, standing before an American flag. He is in uniform in the picture, and he is saluting. This photograph,… Continue Reading


Unofficial GOP primary returns: DeSteph wins in the 8th Senate District, Cosgrove takes 14th Senate

BY JOHN-HENRY DOUCETTE COURTHOUSE – Bill R. DeSteph Jr., a state delegate and former member of the City Council, today defeated airline pilot Craig M. Hudgins to be the Republican candidate seeking to replace state Sen. Jeff McWaters in the 8th Virginia Senate… Continue Reading