Today the Richmond Times Dispatch dug into the “old news” bin and penned a piece attacking E.W. Jackson’s financial background, specifically his efforts to save a failing radio station in Boston that ended up putting his family into bankruptcy:
While running a Christian radio station in Boston in the 1980s, a small business Jackson had founded for this purpose accumulated nine state and federal tax liens within 10 years. A personal tax lien also was filed against him.
Jackson’s financial trouble resulted in a personal bankruptcy in 1993. Three years later, his wife also filed for bankruptcy.
Jackson did not want to be interviewed for this story and did not respond to detailed questions in writing. But in a statement submitted by his campaign, he called the tax issues related to his radio broadcasting company “a 10-year battle with the federal government” over unpaid taxes and licensing fees due to the Federal Communications Commission — a fight that he says he ultimately won.
Perhaps next time, the RTD editors should just label their anti-Jackson in kind contributions to the Northam campaign “Black Man Can’t Pay His Bills” and be done with it… because that was a sleazy, underhanded article directed at Jackson and unworthy of the time it took to write.
An astute observer would have seen this coming given Larry Sabato referencing “new revelations” about Jackson’s finances five days before the article went to print.
But there’s nothing new about this. Not only did E.W. Jackson cover this issue in an exhaustive press conference in June (which the RTD cites extensively – and even covered at the time) but his campaign addressed it in emails before the convention, one of which is reprinted in full here:
This campaign for Lieutenant Governor has never been about me. It’s been about you. It’s been about fighting for the values we all share. For standing up and saying business and politics as usual isn’t working.
This campaign has been about a positive vision to inspire and unite Virginians of every background and economic status.
My story is not unique. As I have traveled this Commonwealth I have met so many Virginians who already know my story because they have lived it themselves. The names and faces may change, but we have all had our trials and triumphs. We have all had to work hard to achieve our own dreams.
When I talk of my family’s struggle and having to work hard to break out of my economic status as a youth, Virginians from all walks of life know that story. They’ve seen it first hand and lived it themselves.
When I talk of my successes and failures as a small business owner, entrepreneurs and working families know that story because so many of them are living it right now. As I talk about the struggles under intrusive government regulations and the burden of high taxation, they too feel the pains and uncertainty in these tough economic times.
When I talk of changing how business is done in Richmond, standing up to an overreaching Washington, and shaking up politics as usual, I speak for all of us who are tired of those who seek to deride and divide when we want to be inspired and united.
When I talk of restoring the very ideals held dear by our Founding Fathers and fighting to let liberty once more light the way for Virginia and America, heads nod and voices rise because that spirit of freedom has not diminished after all of these years.
When I talk about my past, it’s not just my life story I’m sharing. It’s yours and that of your neighbors.
I am grateful for the life I have lived. That life has had its ups and downs, but that life is one of prosperity over privilege. My personal struggles and how I became a Republican is the same for so many others and, at its core, the American Dream.
I am honored to have the support of so many who have joined me in running a positive campaign driven by the very ideas that make this country great.
Together we will continue to fight to inspire and unite Virginia. We will continue to fight for small business owners and entrepreneurs who deserve to pursue their dreams without the heavy hand of government intruding itself into the free market. We will continue to fight for families that seek the freedom to have the money follow their child in education. We will continue to fight for the voices that cannot be heard. We will keep our hearts focused on turning up the light of liberty in Virginia so brightly that Americans can see it from sea to shining sea.
Thank you for your love for our country and the Commonwealth of Virginia. Let’s go to the Convention and make history.
Here’s the thing, Virginia. Ralph Northam’s going to fight on this in his closing argument to Virginians. Every attack piece he has put out to date has relied upon the media writing the story first so he can cite it in his ad. He did it with a disgusting attack when taking Jackson’s comments out of context and implying that he believes the sins of the parents result in birth defects (SPOILER ALERT: It’s Original Sin, basic Christian theology, kids). And you can fully expect him to do it again here.
So Ralph Northam is going to spend the last week of the campaign telling Virginians that if you dared to try and fail, if you ever put yourself out there to start a business and did not succeed, don’t ever think of running for public office. Leave that to the rich and successful. The American Dream? That’s reserved for the privileged.
Which is unfortunate, because Ralph Northam himself has said that a bankruptcy shouldn’t disqualify anyone from running for public office:
We’ll see if he’s a man of his word or not…