The list of donors to Arlington County Board member Barbara Favola’s state Senate campaign is raising a few eyebrows among local political watchers.
More than half of the nearly $60,000 raised by Favola has come from local developers, including a whopping $25,000 from John G. Shooshan, chairman of the Arlington-based Shooshan Company. Shooshan has had business before the board recently, related to the company’s massive Founders Square project in Ballston.
Other big contributors to Favola’s campaign include Preston Caruthers, who donated $5,000, Mark Silverwood, who donated $2,000, and Thomas Shooltz, who donated $1,000.
Caruthers, a developer, is supporting Favola, a Democrat, despite the fact that he’s a big contributor to Republican causes. Caruthers is a noted philanthropist and recently gave $100,000 to the Arlington planetarium.
Silverwood is the president of the Silverwood Companies, a Northern Virginia development and property management firm. The company manages several properties in Arlington County, including the Quebec Apartments on Columbia Pike. Shooltz is a part-owner of Ironwood Realty Partners, whose developments include the currently under-construction Garfield Park at Clarendon Village project.
Public records show that Favola received just shy of 100 individual campaign contributions from Jan. 1 to March 31.
County Board members have avoided taking contributions from developers for their board campaigns, to avoid the appearance of impropriety. Favola said that practice does not extend to campaigns for higher office.
“Traditionally County Board members have not asked for contributions [from developers] for their County Board races. I am not running for the County Board, I am running for the state Senate,” she said. “So they’re actually contributing to get me off the County Board.”
“Everything here is reported, there is nothing illegal about what I have received,” Favola continued. “My vote can’t be bought in the state Senate. People are contributing to me because they respect me and have confidence in me. They also have valued my contributions on the County Board.”
Favola is currently the only candidate to formally announce for the 31st District state Senate seat, which is being vacated by the retiring Sen. Mary Margaret Whipple.