VPAP names new director
Chris Piper was elections commissioner in Northam administration
Chris Piper, former commissioner of the Virginia Department of Elections under Gov. Ralph Northam, will be the next director of the Virginia Public Access Project (VPAP) after founder David Poole retires on June 30, the organization announced.
Founded in 1997, VPAP started as a joint effort by the state’s five largest newspapers to track campaign contributions and expanded its mission to share nonpartisan information with Virginians about politics. Poole took a leave of absence from his job as a Roanoke Times reporter to build a database, then recruited a board and got the organization started. In the decades since, VPAP has grown to become a resource for tracking money, trends and news in state politics.
Piper brings 20 years of experience in campaign finance, elections and government ethics and has helmed two state agencies: the Virginia Department of Elections from 2018 to 2022 and the Virginia Conflict of Interest and Ethics Advisory Council from 2014 to 2016. He also served as deputy director of the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission.
He will report to VPAP’s board of directors and lead its professional staff.
“When the board of directors undertook the task of finding a new executive director for VPAP, we knew we were facing a daunting task to replace the quarter of a century of excellence and trust that David Poole established,” Bill Leighty, chair of the VPAP board, said in a statement.
Piper attended Virginia Commonwealth University and lives in Henrico County. “I will do all I can to sustain VPAP’s fiercely nonpartisan brand,” he said in a statement. “Together, we can build upon this indispensable institution that is trusted across the political spectrum.”
Piper was selected from more than 150 applicants, according to VPAP.
Poole praised his successor: “I’ve worked with Chris for two decades. I am confident in his ability and his passion for the work. He’s a natural fit for a leader to build on what we’ve started.”