Non-profit

Virginia League of Conservation Voters (VA LCV)

Website:

valcv.org/

Location:

RICHMOND, VA

Tax ID:

54-1973929

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(4)

Budget (2020):

Revenue: $1,047,831
Expenses: $1,013,428
Assets: $227,845

Type:

Environmental Advocacy Group

Executive Director:

Michael Town

The Virginia League of Conservation Voters (Virginia LCV or VA LCV) is a left-of-center environmental advocacy organization headquartered in Richmond that promotes left-of-center environmental policies and supports Democratic candidates for public office throughout Virginia. The organization is one of many state-level affiliates of the League of Conservation Voters, a  large national environmentalist organization described as a “dark money heavyweight” by the left-leaning Center for Public Integrity. [1]

The Virginia LCV consistently promotes left-of-center environmental policies and endorsed exclusively Democratic candidates during the 2021 state elections in Virginia. The group has also been highly critical of center-right environmental policies of Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin (R). [2] [3]

The Virginia LCV also operates an educational arm called the Virginia League of Conservation Voters Education Fund, maintains a political action committee called the Virginia League of Conservation Voters PAC, and employs a “voter mobilization team” as part of a project called the Climate Action Virginia program. [4] [5]

Background

The Virginia League of Conservation Voters is the Virginia state affiliate of the League of Conservation Voters. The organization is aligned with various left-of-center organizations and supports Democratic candidates for office through both independent activity and direct campaign contributions through its political action committee. [6]

The Virginia LCV itself is organized as a 501(c)(4) lobbying organization and an affiliated educational arm, the Virginia League of Conservation Voters Education Fund, that it uses to conduct left-of-center advocacy not related to elections. The organization also operates a political action committee that funds Democratic campaigns. [7] [8]

The Virginia LCV has a full-time staff of twelve employees and much of its activity is centered around lobbying the state legislature on its preferred environmental policies. The organization publishes a legislative scorecard that gives generally high scores to Democratic lawmakers and relatively low scores to Republicans. [9]

Policy Stances

The Virginia League of Conservation Voters supports left of center environmental policy across three main issue areas. The issue areas the organization focuses on include Chesapeake Bay water quality, public health, and the promotion of wind-reliant energy and reduction of conventional fuel usage. [10]

The organization promotes Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulatory efforts within the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. The group also supports an increase in the amount of government-controlled land in Virginia, partnering with the Virginia Land Conservation Fund, Virginia Battlefield Preservation Fund and Virginia Farmland Preservation Fund to promote land acquisition and preservation programs within the state government. [11] [12]

The Virginia LCV also supports subsidizing wind and solar energy and the elimination of offshore oil drilling and coal subsidies. The organization supported former Governor Terry McAuliffe (D) joining the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) and has strongly opposed Governor Glenn Youngkin (R) removing the state from the initiative. [13]

The Virginia LCV has been highly critical of Youngkin since he took office in 2022. The organization began releasing a scorecard for the governor’s office after Youngkin was inaugurated and gave his overall environmental agenda an “F” grade. The Virginia LCV specifically opposed Youngkin’s efforts to reduce the gas tax, his withdrawal from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, and his rolling back of regulations and executive orders enacted by the administrations of Youngkin’s Democratic predecessors. [14]

Legislation Supported

The Virginia League of Conservation Voters tracks dozens of bills during the annual Virginia legislative session, stating support or opposition for most of them on the organization’s website. The organization supports various bills enacting left-of-center environmental policies and opposes many that are seen as favorable to business and agriculture, such as increasing fishing seasons or oyster harvests. [15]

Aside from environmental legislation, the organization supports a host of left-of-center election administration policies under the “good government” section of its bill tracking webpage. The group opposes the use of photo identification for voting and opposes changes to absentee balloting that require an excuse to vote absentee. [16]

Political Activity

The Virginia League of Conservation Voters issues an annual scorecard rating each legislator in the state legislature based on how the legislator voted on a certain set of bills. The group’s scorecard generally gives high scores of over 90 percent to Democrats and generally low score of below 50 percent to Republicans. [17]

The Virginia LCV also endorses candidates for state office in Virginia. The group’s 2021 endorsements included no Republicans, as the group endorsed the Democratic statewide ticket and many Democratic members of the state legislature. Its 2019 endorsements included the endorsement of just one Republican. [18] [19]

Political Action Committee

The Virginia League of Conservation Voters also operates a state-level political action committee (PAC) in Virginia called the Virginia League of Conservation Voters Political Action Committee. The PAC solicits contributions from the public and from other left-of-center advocacy organizations. The PAC is heavily funded by the national League of Conservation Voters, which has given over $9 million to the PAC since 2002. Other top donors to the PAC include NextGen Climate Action, billionaire heiress Jacqueline Mars, the Virginia Plus PAC, and the Green Advocacy Project. [20]

The PAC heavily funds Democratic candidates, giving $700,000 director to former Governor Ralph Northam’s (D) 2017 campaign and spending an additional $582,000 on canvassing services to benefit Northam. The PAC also gave $500,000 to Terry McAuliffe’s (D) unsuccessful 2021 gubernatorial campaign and provided $250,000 to support field organizing for New Virginia Majority. [21]

Coalitions and Partners

The Virginia League of Conservation Voters is a member of the Virginia Environmental Justice Collaborative, a left-of-center advocacy group that includes the Southeast CARE Coalition, Appalachian Voices, the Federal Policy Office of WE ACT for Environmental Justice, and New Virginia Majority. [22] [23] The group has also worked with the American Civil Liberties Union and the Virginia Civic Engagement Table. [24]

People

Michael Town is the executive director of the Virginia League of Conservation Voters. He has led the group since 2014 and worked for local and national conservation groups since 1994. Lee Francis, the group’s deputy director, is a former editor of a local newspaper in the Richmond area. [25]

The Virginia LCV board includes attorney in the Office of General Counsel at the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and former head of the Virginia Conservation Network Carey Whitehead, journalist and unsuccessful Democratic congressional candidate Leslie Cockburn, and president of CARFAX Dick Raines. [26]

References

  1. Michael Beckel. “League of Conservation Voters Becoming ‘Dark Money’ Heavyweight.” November 22, 2013. Accessed December 1, 2022. https://publicintegrity.org/federal-politics/league-of-conservation-voters-becoming-dark-money-heavyweight/ ^
  2. “2021 Endorsements.” Virginia League of Conservation Voters Political Action Committee. Accessed December 2, 2022. https://valcvpac.org/2021-endorsements/ ^
  3. “Governor Youngkin Gets Grade Of ‘F’ In First Conservation Ranking.” Virginia League of Conservation Voters. Accessed December 2, 2022. https://valcv.org/governor-youngkin-gets-grade-of-f-in-first-conservation-ranking/ ^
  4. “Home.” Virginia League of Conservation Voters Education Fund. Accessed December 2, 2022.  http://valcvef.org/ ^
  5. “Home.” Virginia League of Conservation Voters Political Action Committee. Accessed December 2, 2022. http://valcvpac.org/ ^
  6. “Va League of Conservation Voters PAC.” Virginia Public Access Project. Accessed December 2, 2022. https://www.vpap.org/committees/148192/va-league-of-conservation-voters/ ^
  7. “Home.” Virginia League of Conservation Voters Education Fund. Accessed December 2, 2022.  http://valcvef.org/ ^
  8. “Home.” Virginia League of Conservation Voters Political Action Committee. Accessed December 2, 2022. http://valcvpac.org/ ^
  9. “2022 Conservation Scorecard.” Virginia League of Conservation Voters. Accessed December 2, 2022. https://valcv.org/2022-conservation-scorecard/ ^
  10. “Climate and Energy.” Virginia League of Conservation Voters. Accessed December 2, 2022. https://valcv.org/issues/energy/# ^
  11. “Healthy Communities.” Virginia League of Conservation Voters. Accessed December 2, 2022. https://valcv.org/issues/land/ ^
  12. “The Bay and Clean Water.” Virginia League of Conservation Voters. Accessed December 2, 2022.  https://valcv.org/issues/water/ ^
  13. “Climate and Energy.” Virginia League of Conservation Voters. Accessed December 2, 2022. https://valcv.org/issues/energy/# ^
  14.  “Governor Youngkin Gets Grade Of ‘F’ In First Conservation Ranking.” Virginia League of Conservation Voters. Accessed December 2, 2022. https://valcv.org/governor-youngkin-gets-grade-of-f-in-first-conservation-ranking/ ^
  15. “2022 Legislative Positions and Bill Tracking.” Virginia League of Conservation Voters. Accessed December 2, 2022.  https://valcv.org/2022-legislative-positions-and-bill-tracking/ ^
  16. “2022 Legislative Positions and Bill Tracking.” Virginia League of Conservation Voters. Accessed December 2, 2022.  https://valcv.org/2022-legislative-positions-and-bill-tracking/ ^
  17. “2022 Conservation Scorecard.” Virginia League of Conservation Voters. Accessed December 2, 2022. https://valcv.org/2022-conservation-scorecard/ ^
  18. “2019 Endorsements.” Virginia League of Conservation Voters Political Action Committee. Accessed December 2, 2022. https://valcvpac.org/2019-endorsements/ ^
  19. “2021 Endorsements.” Virginia League of Conservation Voters Political Action Committee. Accessed December 2, 2022. https://valcvpac.org/2021-endorsements/ ^
  20. “Va League of Conservation Voters PAC.” Virginia Public Access Project. Accessed December 2, 2022. https://www.vpap.org/committees/148192/va-league-of-conservation-voters/ ^
  21. “Va League of Conservation Voters PAC: Expenditures 2015-2022.” Virginia Public Access Project. Accessed December 2, 2022. https://www.vpap.org/committees/148192/raw_expenditures/?start_year=2015&end_year=2022&order=amount ^
  22. “About Us.” Virginia League of Conservation Voters. Accessed December 2, 2022. https://valcv.org/about-us/ ^
  23. “About.” Virginia Environmental Justice Coalition. Accessed December 2, 2022.  https://www.vaejc.com/about ^
  24. “About Us.” Virginia League of Conservation Voters Education Fund. Accessed December 2, 2022. https://valcvef.org/event/democracy-day-community-celebration-and-family-resource-fair/ ^
  25. “Virginia LCV Staff.” Virginia League of Conservation Voters Education Fund. Accessed December 2, 2022.   https://valcv.org/about-us/staff/ ^
  26. “Board of Directors.” Virginia League of Conservation Voters. Accessed December 2, 2022. https://valcv.org/about-us/board-of-directors/ ^
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2020 Dec Form 990 $1,047,831 $1,013,428 $227,845 $1,468 N $1,046,914 $0 $64 $69,461
    2019 Dec Form 990 $830,141 $814,016 $205,380 $13,406 N $829,831 $0 $310 $62,488 PDF
    2018 Dec Form 990 $968,233 $911,367 $184,579 $8,730 N $968,233 $0 $0 $74,646 PDF
    2017 Dec Form 990 $327,909 $584,642 $145,481 $26,497 N $327,030 $0 $0 $42,411 PDF
    2016 Dec Form 990 $875,791 $597,640 $424,449 $51,387 N $875,563 $0 $8 $43,279
    2015 Dec Form 990 $365,918 $431,647 $113,865 $18,954 N $365,894 $0 $24 $43,156 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $278,003 $278,390 $160,640 $0 N $277,998 $0 $5 $37,207 PDF
    2013 Dec Form 990 $275,482 $295,063 $161,067 $40 N $275,423 $0 $59 $96,478 PDF
    2012 Dec Form 990 $216,944 $273,399 $181,587 $979 N $216,676 $0 $268 $84,807 PDF
    2011 Dec Form 990 $268,322 $281,349 $238,035 $972 N $267,934 $0 $388 $75,100 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Virginia League of Conservation Voters (VA LCV)

    100 W FRANKLIN ST
    RICHMOND, VA 23220-5048