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Government transparency is her job

South Boston News
Melissa Neff Gould / January 13, 2014


Danville Register & Bee
Reprinted with permission

(Editor’s note: Melissa Neff Gould is a former Halifax County resident.)

Danville resident Missy Neff Gould has begun her three-year term on the board of directors for the Virginia Public Access Project.

It’s a group she has already served for about three years, and she has used the website in her work in lobbying and government relations. As a board member, she strongly believes in VPAP’s goals of providing transparency in government.

“The more the public knows about what’s going on, the more likely they are to be involved and informed citizens,” Gould said Friday.

Gould previously served on VPAP’s Young Advisory Board, and held its chairmanship in 2013. The board is responsible for organizing VPAP’s annual fundraisers.

She served as assistant secretary of natural resources under Gov. Tim Kaine and was a staff director on the transition council for natural resources as part of Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s transition team.

According to its website,, the nonprofit was formed “to address a long-standing problem of financing state and local election campaigns.”

It’s a nonpartisan site that connects Virginians to facts and information about politics and government, said David Poole, VPAP executive director who founded the group in 1997.

VPAP is the site where residents can find out who has contributed to a candidate’s campaign and how much the candidate has received. Its database also includes money spent by candidates, lobbyist registrations and candidates’ personal financial holdings, according to its website.

The site plays an important role for the public, especially since Virginia imposes no limits on campaign contributions. Candidates only have to specify donors who give more than $100.

The start of VPAP led the Virginia General Assembly to pass legislation to encourage — and in some cases require — candidates and political committees to disclose their donors electronically, according to VPAP’s website.

The group has also helped the Virginia State Board of Elections digitize campaign finance records, according to the site. VPAP, run by a board of directors, has won awards from several organizations, including the Virginia Coalition for Open Government, L. Douglas Wilder School of Public Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University and the Society of Professional Journalists, according to its website.

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Another great waste of tax payer money


Oh, great wise allpolitical2, what makes you think taxpayers had to foot the bill for this one? I must have missed that part.


Another gov't website that's not very easy to navigate.


Who else would pay for it? Use commen sense, when you see General Assembly and VA board of elections = tax money. Wonder what her pay is?

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