Hefty spending on Virginia’s commemorations of 1619

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A review of public records shows how some of the approximately $24 million allocated for events commemorating the year 1619 in Virginia has been spent.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports records on expenditures this year show hundreds of thousands of dollars went to ticketed or private events, public relations firms to lure journalists, speaking fees and donations to Virginia nonprofits.

Lawmakers put up about $24.2 million over five years for the commemorations of the 400th anniversary of key milestones in the state’s history.

Gov. Ralph Northam and House Speaker Kirk Cox said in a joint statement that the events boosted state tourism and generated tens of millions in economic impact.

In 2017, then-Gov. Terry McAuliffe sparred with GOP legislative leaders over the funding, which McAuliffe wanted reduced.

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Information from: Richmond Times-Dispatch, http://www.richmond.com

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