Ralph Northam, then Virginia’s lieutenant governor and now governor, in Richmond in 2017. (Steve Helber/AP)

The influence Dominion Energy has over Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) cannot be negated by comparing the corporation’s donation amounts with larger donations from other organizations [“Northam chided for air board decision,” Metro, Nov. 28]. Dominion’s influence over public officials is far more complex than individual donation amounts. By giving millions of dollars in political contributions to the vast majority of Virginia legislative and statewide political candidates, Democratic and Republican, and showering even nonelected public officials with gifts, Dominion has the appearance of controlling the Virginia government as a whole. Dominion’s individual donations to Mr. Northam hold little power compared with the cumulative influence of the many players Dominion has under its thumb in Virginia’s political arena. Despite hefty donations from donors such as the Virginia League of Conservation Voters, the governor went forward with the very abnormally timed removal of two members of the State Air Pollution Control Board after it appeared they might threaten the approval of a Dominion permit for a pumping station.

Virginians should ask themselves if they approve of the money they give in (overcharged) utility bills to Dominion being used to donate to officials of all political alignments and to secure enough government influence to interfere with even our citizen regulatory boards. Then all Virginians should demand that the removed board members, Rebecca Rubin and Samuel Bleicher, be allowed to vote at the air board’s meeting on Dec. 10.

Stacy Lovelace, Midlothian