Sen. Dick Black: More than a Ham Sandwich…it’s time to elect Mike May to replace PWC Commonwealth’s Attorney Ebert

Op-Ed by Sen. Dick Black:

“It’s time to take politics out of the prosecutor’s office.”

On Sept 23, 2015, I strongly endorsed Occoquan Supervisor, Mike May, Republican candidate for Prince William County Commonwealth’s Attorney. Mike May served the citizens of Occoquan with honor and distinction and his non-partisan approach to enforcing the law will be a breath of fresh air in Prince William County.

When I was on active duty, I headed the Army’s Criminal Law Division at the Pentagon and have extensive experience running major legal offices for the military. I believe citizens deserve even-handed justice. A good commonwealth’s attorney is non-partisan and fair.

A 2011 article published at Virginia Virtucon said, “Ebert [the incumbent Commonwealth’s Attorney] has a history of investigating [Republican] candidates up for election and, in the past, made a very public show of investigating Corey Stewart, Rich Anderson, and Steve Chapman in election years.” Each of the Republicans was later cleared any wrong-doing.

Politics should have no place in the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office. It presents a danger to the electoral process.

A Washington Post article reported, “Ebert is a great example of just how inept the courts and bar associations are at disciplining bad prosecutors.” The reporter went on to say, “A few years ago, some Virginia residents were so fed up with Ebert’s ability to run unopposed, or with only token opposition, that they drafted a ham sandwich to run against him.” [Washington Post, Feb. 19, 2014, “Supreme Court Has Opportunity to Revisit Prosecutor Misconduct”].

Criminal justice systems should be above reproach. They must not be used as political tools for either political party. On November 3rd, voters can bring fair, balanced criminal justice to Prince William County. I strongly endorse Mike May, who has served eight years with integrity and transparency. May’s stellar reputation as an ethical attorney will serve Prince William County well.

Cruz campaign names statewide leadership team

Senator Bill Stanley (R-Franklin) has been named State Chairman. Stanley is joined by state co-chairs Shak Hill, a Fairfax small businessman and former candidate for Senate, and law professor Cynthia Dunbar.

The appointment Stanley is a pretty good score by Cruz.  Stanley is an up-and-comer in Virginia Republican politics (rumored from time to time to be interested in running for Attorney General), with solid conservative bona fides.  He will elevate the Cruz campaign in Virginia.

“I am excited to lead the Virginia effort to elect the freedom-loving constitutional conservative Ted Cruz as our next President,” said Sen. Stanley. “I am asking all Virginians, from all walks of life, and from all corners of the Commonwealth, to join our grassroots effort to be a part of reigniting the promise of America – for us, our children, and for generations to come. The story of Ted Cruz’s life and that of his family is the epitome of the American Dream. His vision for the future of our country is simple: that through his principled leadership, together we will build a dynamic nation where even those with nothing, have the chance to achieve anything.”Sen. Bill Stanley

Though the campaign hasn’t made staff hires or other appointments, we understand that longtime Virginia conservative activists and current RPV State Central Committee Member Chris Shores has been officially tapped by the campaign to organize in Virginia.

The full press release can be found here.

Judge Dismisses Incumbent Protection Act Suit

In a blow to conservatives seeking to reclaim the Republican Party’s role in nominating its candidates, Judge Elizabeth Dillon in federal court in Harrisonburg today dismissed the complaints of both the Party and an affected challenger to incumbent Sen. Emmett Hanger (R-Augusta).

For a quick primer on the Incumbent Protection Act and the basis of the controversy, please check here and here. In a nutshell, Virginia’s Incumbent Protection Act gives incumbent members of the General Assembly the exclusive right to pick the method by which they can be re-nominated by their party, regardless of the preferences of the party. Incumbents naturally choose state-run open primaries, which give them the greatest possible advantage over challengers when compared to the party-run alternatives (mass meetings/caucuses, cavnasses/firehouse primaries, or conventions). Incumbents have the advantage of name recognition and the ability to tap vast funding from their respective House and Senate party caucuses.

Because these state-run open primaries in Virginia mean that members of other political parties can participate in the nomination of Republican candidates, the Republican legislative district committee for the 24th Senate District, where Emmett Hanger (R-Augusta) is the incumbent, sued the State Board of Elections to halt the primary that Hanger chose, in favor of the convention the party committee chose.

The 24th LDC’s principal argument was that forcing the party to hold a process that allows non-members to participate violates their First Amendment freedoms of association and speech, and that therefore Virginia’s Incumbent Protection Act should be declared unconstitutional. As we wrote here, after the LDC and its chairman Ken Adams filed their suit, a challenger for the nomination, Dan Moxley, filed a motion to intervene as a plaintiff. Moxley’s principal argument is that the Incumbent Protection Act represents a Constitutional equal protection violation, in that it gives an incumbent unique advantages over all other candidates.

Since Moxley’s move to join the suit, the defendant State Board of Elections has filed its reply, along with a motion to dismiss. Additionally, Senator Hanger has moved to intervene, arguing that he has interests that the State Board cannot adequately represent. The gist of the defendants’ arguments was that the state has an interest in promoting primaries that justifies what would otherwise be deemed Constitutional infirmities in the Incumbent Protection Act. These were pretty weak arguments given that the Act allows the incumbent to choose any method of nomination that suits him or her, not just a primary, and even then these arguments don’t address the unfair advantage incumbents are given in being able to make that choice regardless of what other voters in the district (i.e., the Party) believe.

Unfortunately for the 24th District Committee and Dan Moxley, defendants also made another basic argument that the judge determined to have more merit. This involved the portion of the Republican Party Plan of Organization that allows for a Legislative District Committee to determine a method of nomination only “where permitted to do so by Virginia law.” Rather than allow plaintiffs’ challenge to proceed on the basis that the law’s injury exists with or without the Party rules and/or that the provision does not preclude challenging unconstitutional law, the judge instead found that the existence of that language in the Plan constituted the Party’s voluntary acquiescence to the Incumbent Protection Act. Hence, reasoned Judge Dillon:

The Party’s voluntary decision to limit the authority of the LDC in its Plan and to allow the incumbent to decide upon the method of selecting a nominee is a decision the Party is permitted to make and is the cause of any alleged injury to the plaintiffs. For these same reasons, this court cannot redress any injury caused by the Party’s governing Plan. Plaintiffs have failed to meet their burden to establish standing

It is unclear at this point whether the plaintiffs are contemplating an appeal. We’ll keep you posted.

Judge Dillon’s full ruling is embedded below.

Cross-posted at The Bull Elephant.

Incumbent Protection Act Dismissal

General Assembly elects Phil Puckett’s daughter to judgeship…it’s the #VirginiaWay

Despite the cloud of corruption hanging over the nomination of Martha Puckett Ketron to the Virginia bench, 39 Senators and 65 Delegates voted today to elect her to a six-year term as a juvenile and domestic relations court judge in the 29th Judicial District.

The vote in the Senate was 23-0, with two Democrats joining the Republican majority. In the House the vote was 65-0, and although we do not have a detailed breakdown of votes yet, it appears to have also been largely along party lines.

Ketron was at the center of the scandal surrounding her father’s resignation from the Virginia Senate, a body which had refused to confirm Ketron as a judge because of anti-nepotism rules. As readers undoubtedly recall, Puckett allegedly made a deal for his daughter’s nomination and a job on the tobacco commission for himself in exchange for throwing the Senate back to the GOP.

Puckett’s resignation came just as the grassroots Republican wave that crested with the stunning priamry defeat of former U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor came crashing down on legislators (see #BLACKorBUST) who had previously refused to act to remove language inserted in last year’s budget bill to allow the Governor to expand Medicaid without additional approval by the legislature. With Puckett’s resignation the GOP gained a majority in the Virginia Senate, meaning lawmakers could no longer use a Democrat majority there as an excuse to refuse to address this backdoor to Medicaid expansion.

The Washington Post has more here.

Mark Warner can’t answer for his Puckett #BRIBESTORM

While the fireworks in last night’s debate were all about Mark Warner’s apparently being stranded in some sort of weird time warp (acting like he’s running against George W. Bush, and pretending like the last six years never happened), the real story is that he can’t explain away his bribe to get Phil Puckett to keep the Virginia Senate in Democratic hands.[read_more]

For those late to the story, recall that back in June Virginia state Senator Phil Puckett (D-Russell) resigned to clear the way for his daughter to get past the anti-nepotism rules in the Senate and get a state level judicial appointment. That appointment never happened after the firestorm of controversy erupted over his apparently having also been enticed with a job offer on the state tobacco commission to free up a new seat for a Republican senator.

But one thing that did happen was revealed last week, when the Washington Post reported that in an effort to keep Puckett in the Virginia Senate (and thereby keep that body in Democratic control), Sen. Mark Warner called Puckett’s son to offer an appointment to the federal bench for his sister—if only his dad, Sen. Puckett, would stay put. Apparently this came too late, as Puckett had already made his final decision to resign.

Ed Gillespie rightly brought this up at last night’s debate, as such an issue casts serious doubts about the Senator’s judgment and ethics. This is the Senator who, after all, parlayed his $18,000/year job as a Democratic Party functionary into a $100 million fortune based on connections to power brokers willing and able to game the system.

So how did Warner respond? He said he was just “brainstorming” about ways to help Puckett. You know, just tossing out some ideas, something like, “If I get your sister this prestigious lifetime job on the taxpayer dime, do you think your dad would continue to serve in the Senate? Maybe I can get her another job, if the federal judiciary isn’t her schtick. Just let me know how I can help, ya know, because as the senior U.S. Senator from Virginia, I get a lot of leeway from the president about who gets those jobs.”

That’s not brainstorming. It’s bribestorming…thinking up creative ways to use one’s power and influence to purchase influence (with taxpayer dollars) over a sitting legislator.

Ed Gillespie had the best line of the debate last night when he observed that “Mark Warner likes to describe himself as a problem solver. Ask yourself, what problems have been solved?”

The answer is none. None at all, which is why Warner kept trying to change the subject to stuff that happened over a decade ago instead of during his last, disastrous term in the Senate.

But Warner certainly displayed a talent for creating a problem for his own re-election.


Cross-posted to The Bull Elephant.

WaPo editor equates Ken Cuccinelli with murderous “Mississippi Burning” white supremacists

Washington Post editorial board member attacks Ken Cuccinelli election integrity efforts as being redolent of violent voter suppression and murder. Yes, he said that.

Today in Mississippi voters are choosing a Republican U.S. Senate nominee. Insurgent conservative candidate Chris McDaniel forced incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran into a runoff when neither man garnered a majority of the votes in the initial primary election three weeks ago. The 76-year-old Cochran is asking voters to give him a fourth decade in the Senate, and has the backing of “establishment” Republicans clustered around Washington, DC and the Mississippi capital, Jackson. McDaniel is supported by a number of state legislators from around Mississippi, as well as national and local Tea Party and other conservative groups upset at Cochran’s voting record, and his relaxed, back-bencher profile in Washington. Cochran’s daughter, a Mississippi professor, publicly criticized McDaniel as placing a high value on political ignorance, writing that McDaniel “relies solely on Jesus, the Constitution, and common sense.” Predictably for a GOP contest in the South, such tone-deaf criticism has backfired, and most polls show McDaniel handily leading the incumbent.

In a sign of desperation, however, the Cochran campaign is attempting to capitalize on the state’s open primary law by enticing as many Democrats as possible, particularly black Democrats, to turn out to vote against McDaniel, who is alleged to have made racially insensitive remarks during his previous career as a radio talk show host eight years ago. In recent days, allegations of outright fraud and vote buying in support of Cochran’s efforts have gained significant attention.

Senate-Conservatives-Fund-LogoIn response, the conservative groups supporting McDaniel have cited the portion of Mississippi law requiring that primary runoff voters be committed to voting for the party’s nominee in the fall, and have pledged to have an army of observers on hand at polling places across the state to help ensure compliance with the law. Among those groups is the Senate Conservatives Fund, led by its new President, former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who had this to say about the integrity of the election tonight:

The laws in Mississippi are unusually open to poll watching from the outside,” Cuccinelli told The [New York] Times. “We’re going to take full advantage of that and we’re going to lay eyes on Cochran’s effort to bring Democrats in.”

Enter Jonathan Capeheart, member of the Washington Post editorial board, who excoriated Cuccinelli yesterday for having the temerity to support a lawful election. Without even considering whether Cuccinelli’s motives might not be of the lynch mob variety, Capeheart writes:

The timing and substance of Cuccinelli’s announcement couldn’t have been more awful. Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman and James Chaney were murdered 50 years ago last week, just one day after the voter registration drive called “Freedom Summer” got underway in Mississippi on June 15, 1964. A year earlier, Medgar Evers was murdered in his driveway. A white supremacist named Byron De La Beckwith didn’t take kindly to his work registering African Americans to vote in Mississippi. Those are just two of many examples of voter intimidation in the history of a state that stubbornly continues to sport the Confederate banner within its flag.

Capeheart says that Cuccinelli “is either ignorant of or couldn’t care less about Mississippi’s violent history of blocking blacks from the ballot box. My bet is both apply.” Yep. I’m sure that’s it, Jonathan…how could there possibly be any other explanation!?! Cuccinelli is, after all, the New Jersey-born Gonzaga Prep grad steeped in Catholic social justice teaching; the law student who worked at homeless shelters in his off hours; the man who stood up to combat sexual assault at the University of Virginia. Except for the name ending in a vowel and all that Catholic stuff, he might as well have been born wearing a white sheet, right Jonathan? Boy, you sure have him pegged! And you called him out for his racist manipulation of the electoral calendar to line up just right with the anniversary of completely incomparable events 50 years ago, too. Brilliant!

More seriously, this kind of mindless, vitriolic groupthink among the left (read the comments to Capeheart’s post if you don’t know what I mean) is really disturbing, particularly coming from a member of an editorial board of a leading national newspaper. We can’t be surprised by it, of course, but it is still shocking that someone with that journalistic stature would blatantly, purposefully conflate a completely peaceful, volunteer election integrity project with brutal violence, subjugation, and murder, and think that’s an OK thing to print.

Apparently, Capeheart is either ignorant or couldn’t care less about the Washington Post’s ridiculous history of editorial self-parody. My bet is both apply.

Cross-Posted at The Bull Elephant.

House GOP Leaders Slam Howie Lind For Anti-Comstock Smear

Howie Lind
Howie Lind

House GOP leaders defend one of their own against misleading ads and rhetoric by Howie Lind directed against Del. Barbara Comstock

Yesterday, I heard a radio ad from the Howie Lind campaign to succeed retiring Rep. Frank Wolf in the 10th District. It started out good, but I had to pick my jaw up off the floor when the ad stated (and then repeated) the charge that Comstock supports “McAuliffe’s Medicaid expansion.” This shockingly dishonest charge is easily disproved, and is really disappointing coming from Lind, a former chairman of the 10th District GOP.

Clearly, I’ve had my issues with how Medicaid expansion has been handled in Virginia, and I’ve even had my issues with Del. Comstock in particular. I continue to have some reservations about certain language on her Delegate campaign website, but it is clear from everything she has said in this campaign—and from the actual votes she’s taken in the House of Delegates—that she cannot in any way be characterized as favoring “McAuliffe’s Medicaid expansion.”

When I wrote about the Citizens United poll that was released Tuesday, I noted that Comstock’s incredible positive/negative image ratio and huge percentage lead points to the likelihood of a highly negative campaign as we roll into the homestretch ahead of the April 26 canvass. I didn’t know then just how correct that assessment was.

This kind of campaigning is beneath Howie Lind. And, a group of House members, joined by Fairfax Supervisor Pat Herrity, have just released a letter to Lind expressing their profound anger and disappointment in the tactics. I hope this convinces Howie and others to stick to the facts. Comparing and contrasting records is a good thing…that’s how we inform voters ahead of elections. But you can’t just make that record up.

The letter to Lind is posted in full below:

April 10, 2014

Dear Mr. Lind,

It was extremely disappointing to see your campaign act with such disregard for the truth in your false, negative attacks on Del. Barbara Comstock. Your actions are especially troubling, since you were previously a 10th District Committee Republican Chairman, and until recently a U.S. Senate candidate. As fellow Republicans, we had hoped you would be aware that Del. Comstock has consistently voted against Medicaid expansion as it relates to Obamacare, contrary to claims your campaign is making. We believe that anyone who holds himself out as a Republican leader has an obligation to tell the truth and not take the road of distortion so frequently taken by Democrats.

Your false radio ad claiming Del. Comstock supports the Medicaid expansion advocated by Gov. Terry McAuliffe crosses the line and is simply untrue. This year the House of Delegates has taken up the issue of Obamacare and Medicaid expansion on numerous occasions, and every time, Del. Comstock has voted against the proposal. This information is readily accessible to anyone who wishes to see it by simply going online and checking the voting records. In addition, last year she was one of only 17 members of the House to vote against the budget because of her concern about Medicaid expansion. Incidentally, Del. Comstock was in Richmond again on Tuesday opposing Gov. McAuliffe’s Medicaid expansion, which as you know is being used to hold our budget hostage. Barbara has been a stalwart on this issue and your allegations to the contrary are unfounded and flatly untrue.

And now, not only are you falsely attacking Del. Comstock, but you also have objected to having Prince William’s Young Republican Chairman, Terrence Boulden, on the panel for the debate held yesterday by falsely claiming that he was on Del. Comstock’s payroll. This is also false, and now because of your false allegations, a young African American YR leader has been excluded from a YR debate panel. At a time when our party wants to be reaching out to all interested Virginians, you are trying to exclude people based on false allegations.

We request that you do the honorable thing and apologize for your false statements, withdraw your ad, and seriously review why you are even in this race. Your tactics and actions are causing actual harm to fellow Republicans, including some of our future leaders in the Young Republicans. We suggest you follow Ronald Reagan’s 11th Commandment — “Thou shall not speak ill of a fellow Republican” — as 10th District Chairman John Whitbeck, Republican Party Chairman Pat Mullins, and Congressman Frank Wolf have all recommended.


Speaker William J. Howell
Majority Whip Delegate Jackson Miller
Delegate Tag Greason
Delegate Rich Anderson
Delegate David Ramadan
Supervisor Pat Herrity

Cross-posted to The Bull Elephant.

Is Rob Wasinger a Catfish Candidate?

#HARVERD Strikes Again.

harverdRepublicans in Virginia’s 10th Congressional district are wondering whether Capitol Hill careerist Rob Wasinger is actually a real candidate running to replace retiring Rep. Frank Wolf. Known most widely for the amateurish astroturf rollout of his campaign by a handful of sock puppets, one can be forgiven for wondering if Wasinger is actually Virginia’s first “catfish” campaign.

To translate that into standard English: the Wasinger campaign has distinguished himself by faking grassroots support, and by doing so in some cases through fake online identities. Now, The Bull Elephant has learned that Wasinger has not had a presence at the most recent local meetings of the two largest Republican committees in the 10th District (those in Fairfax and Loudoun counties). None of the 10th District sources with whom The Bull Elephant has spoken has seen Wasinger or any staff members at any events or GOP functions. Further, today brings proof that Wasinger has not made required filings with the Federal Election Commission.

Under FEC rules, any candidate for a federal office who raises $5000 or more must make an initial filing with the FEC disclosing the fact of their candidacy within 15 days of their having raised such a sum. In the 10th District, so far four Democrats, three Republicans (Comstock, Hollingshead, and now-former candidate Dick Black), and even an independent candidate have each made these filings. But not Wasinger, despite claims by Wasinger’s press secretary 15 days ago in comments on The Bull Elephant and Bearing Drift that the campaign had by that time already raised in the neighborhood of $100,000. (Surely his campaign would not have lied about that, would they?)

Where's Wasinger? (Click to Enlarge)
Where’s Wasinger? (Click to Enlarge)

So is Wasinger actually in the race (meaning the missing filing is yet another example of #HARVERD in action), or is he a catfish candidate? From Urban Dictionary:

A catfish is someone who pretends to be someone they’re not using Facebook or other social media to create false identities, particularly to pursue deceptive online romances.
Did you hear how Dave got totally catfished last month?! The fox he thought he was talking to turned out to be a pervy guy from San Diego!

So, if you see a real live person in the 10th District who claims to be Wasinger, let us know. And then let us know how accurate that online profile pic is, otherwise we might continue to wonder if this would-be paramour of 10th District pro-lifers is actually some overgrown adolescent in the downstairs rec room of his parent’s house in Overland Park, Kansas, living out his Congressional fantasy online.

Cross-posted to The Bull Elephant.

HARVERD’s Funder Fumble

Despite a long career as a Hill staffer, Rob Wasinger still ain’t ready for prime time.

The latest in a string of amateur hour moves, the 10th Congressional District campaign of Hill staffer Rob Wasinger—already famous for touting his “Harverd” credentials—released a fundraising email today that reveals a continuing absence of competent adult supervision.
Fundraising appeals are fine. We’re all used to them, even where the appeal is full of distortions. In Wasinger’s case the major distortion is where he dubs himself the “conservative alternative” to the “beltway lobbyist” in the race. This is a slam on Barbara Comstock’s work as a Republican lobbyist for a few years in the mid-2000s. But, looked at another way, it’s a lame attempt by someone who has spent HIS ENTIRE ADULT LIFE working inside the beltway in D.C., who is running his campaign on the backs of Capitol Hill cronies (see here and here and here), and who is completely unknown in the 10th District—leveled against a respected local legislator who is actually the conservative alternative to a squishy, opportunistic career Hill staffer.

But in addition to the lame attempt at a put-down, the “Harverd” grad managed to send out as a final email a version that contained all of his internal edits telling the sender to place links in the email to his “funder page.” Here’s the relevant text (emphasis added):


It’s been a heck of a week since we announced our campaign for Congress.

I jumped in this race because I’m troubled by the direction our country is headed. As a father, I cannot sit idly by as the Washington status quo continues to run up a tab that future generations will have to pay.

My sentiment has made me quite unpopular with the Washington Insiders. As the Northern Virginia Daily dubbed me as the “conservative alternative” to the beltway lobbyist in this race, the establishment put us in their crosshairs.

But If you know me, then you know that I am not one to back down. We are going to continue to run an aggressive campaign that espouses freedom, family, and limited government — the principles that made America great. To improve the strong efforts of our grassroots campaign, I’m asking for your help today. (link words “your help today” to fundraising page)

As the establishment insiders ramp up their efforts to attack us and our principles, I will need additional resources to fight back and spread our positive message over the next 70 days.

Can I count on your support of $250, $100, $50, $25 or any amount that you can afford? (Link last sentence to funder page)

Please click here to make a secure financial contribution today. (Link last sentence to funder page)

With your help we will win this race. We will take our shared conservative vision to Washington. And we will fight to get our country back.

Thank you for joining us in this important fight. Your support is invaluable.

For freedom,

Rob Wasinger
Your Conservative Candidate for Congress

The trouble Wasinger has had running a competent campaign started on day 1, and apparently has not improved.

Perhaps this is more astroturfing from Wasinger? Maybe if he leaves edits in an email and doesn’t actually put the links in where he instructed for them to be inserted, he can give the impression that he actually has staff and a real campaign operation.

Back during his 2010 Congressional race in Kansas, Wasinger said the following: “We have two simple choices. We can choose prosperity for Washington, DC or we can choose prosperity for the rest of America. I will always choose Kansas and America.” We urge Rob Wasinger to continue putting Kansas first, and to leave Virginia alone.

Cross-posted at The Bull Elephant.

BREAKING: Howie Lind Set to Quit Senate Race

U.S. Senate Candidate Howie Lind
U.S. Senate Candidate Howie Lind

One of the three declared candidates for Virginia’s 2014 GOP nomination for U.S. Senate is set to withdraw from the race.

The Bull Elephant has learned from multiple independent sources that former 10th Congressional District GOP Chairman Howie Lind has been speaking with key supporters and others yesterday and today to give them advance notice of his pending announcement that he plans to pull out of the GOP Senate race. Mr. Lind did not return our call seeking comment prior to the time of publication.

Rumors began circulating widely last week when it became known that most of Lind’s staff had left the campaign. At that time, a source close to the campaign characterized the departures as “really nothing out of the ordinary in a year-long campaign,” and said that there had been some different thinking about strategy and messaging among the senior campaign team. This source also put rest to rumors that the staff shake-up portended the end of Lind’s campaign, suggesting that Lind was “in it to win it.” It is unclear what may have happened since then to shake this resolve.

Lind’s departure will leave a field of just two declared candidates vying to take on Democrat incumbent Senator Mark Warner. Those include former RNC Chairman Ed Gillespie and Fairfax businessman Shak Hill. The filing deadline for candidates to officially enter the race is Saturday, February 1, 2014.

Del. Ben Cline (R-Rockbridge)
Del. Ben Cline (R-Rockbridge)
Del. Ben Cline (R-Rockbridge), a current member of the General Assembly, is also said to be considering a run against Warner. Late indications suggest Cline is weighing the potential for a run very seriously. This consideration is apparently a response to significant encouragement Cline has been receiving from some conservative leaders worried about how much of a factor Gillespie’s background as a lobbyist and Washington insider may hinder the GOP’s ability to defeat Warner, whose support of Obamacare has opened up a race that once looked to be a safe Democrat win.

Cross-posted at The Bull Elephant.


The largest Democrat stronghold in the state gave their provisional voters significant advantages that provisional voters elsewhere in the state did not get. The result? Predictably, the Democrat wins.

This isn’t about not wanting to count votes that should be counted. It’s not about seeking partisan advantage. To the contrary, it’s about fairness and equal protection of all Virginians under the law.

What happened in Fairfax over the last week, culminating in tonight’s announcement of a reversal in fortunes of the Virginia Attorney General candidates, was a travesty. I serve as Vice Chairman of the Stafford County Electoral Board, and can say from first hand knowledge that the Fairfax Board has departed significantly from the procedures followed by almost all other jurisdictions in Virginia in two important ways. First, provisional voters in Fairfax had more than twice the time as other Virginia voters to organize themselves and make their arguments that their ballots should be counted. Second, over the course of most of the last week, lawyers and advisors for both the Democrat and Republican parties were able to identify and coach “their” respective voters on how best to spin their facts and present their arguments to the board. No other provisional voters in the state had access to those resources.

Not only does this unprecedented and entirely unnecessary departure from the rules constitute tremendous unfairness to other voters around the Commonwealth, it turned what should have been a low-key, objective examination of the facts in accordance with published rules into the opposite: a politically charged zoo that undermines the electorate’s confidence in the uniformity and fairness of the electoral process. I’m sure the members of the FCEB felt they were doing the right thing by their voters, but in doing so they raised a giant middle finger to the rest of us.

The Log of Provisional Ballots

On election day, each precinct keeps a log of the provisional ballots cast in that precinct. Among other things, the log reflects the name, address, social security number, and phone number of the provisional voter. The log also has a coded number to reflect the reason the voter is casting a provisional ballot. According to the Virginia Code and clear guidance from the State Board of Elections (“SBE”) to all electoral boards around the state, this log is NOT TO BE SHARED WITH THE PUBLIC OR THE POLITICAL PARTIES. Rather, it is to be made available for inspection by representatives of the political parties only during the electoral board’s meeting to decide on which provisional ballots to accept from each precinct. The SBE guidance, Provisional Ballot Meeting Memo_2013 (Final), reads in relevant part as follows:

During the provisional ballot meeting, authorized representatives are permitted to see and hear the process, to inspect the provisional ballot log and take notes from the list, including the names, phone numbers, date of birth, and addresses of individuals who have voted provisionally. While authorized representatives may take notes from the log, they should not be permitted to leave the meeting with any photocopy. The access rights are limited to inspection and note-taking.

This procedure allows the party observers to understand why each ballot was accepted or rejected, and to record (in real time) the relevant information for those voters whose ballots were rejected in the event a party wishes to challenge that decision in court. What IT DOES NOT DO is allow the parties time to identify their potential supporters among provisional voters in advance of the provisional ballot meeting, get those voters to the Board meeting to plead their cases, and have the party lawyers coach them on the best possible way to spin their circumstances to get the electoral board to accept their votes.

For that, we have to look to Fairfax County, where the FCEB decided to provide the information on the provisional ballot logs to the parties well in advance of the board’s consideration of the provisional ballots. Not only that, but rather than limiting the parties’ “access rights [] to inspection and note-taking,” according to FCEB Secretary Brian Schoeneman the board helpfully provided the parties with the relevant information on a single consolidated spreadsheet “as an administrative convenience.” The FCEB apparently justifies this by relying on a remarkably tendentious reading of SBE’s policy. Schoeneman has taken great pains to clarify that they DID NOT provide the provisional logs or copies of the logs (“To be clear, again, we do NOT provide copies of the provisional ballot log”), which would have been prohibited by SBE’s guidance. Instead, they simply extracted all the relevant information from the logs and provided it to the parties in a more usable, convenient electronic form (i.e., technically not a “photocopy”).

agvoter1110_021384033741Schoeneman says that other large jurisdictions do this as well, and suggests that perhaps this has been done before in Fairfax. I cannot speak to this, but I can say that most jurisdictions choose to follow the rules and guidance from SBE, as this is the only way to ensure that voters across the state are provided equal protection under the law. FCEB’s departure from these rules means that a substantial portion of the electorate are subjected to a different (and more favorable) treatment than the rest.

With all due respect to the Fairfax board members, this “administrative convenience” is precisely what the procedures followed by most of the rest of the state are designed to thwart. The political parties are not supposed to be in advocacy mode, injecting their partisan interest into what should be an almost completely objective determination of the merits of each ballot. Which leads us to the second major departure from standard practice.

The blanket extension of time for provisional ballot consideration

Provisional voters are informed when they cast their provisional ballot that they may, if they wish, appear before the board THE FOLLOWING DAY to tell the board why their provisional ballot should be accepted. The Virginia Code Section 24-2.653 contemplates that the electoral board may determine a need to grant more time for this process:

If the board is unable to determine the validity of all the provisional ballots offered in the election, or has granted any voter who has offered a provisional ballot an extension to the following day as provided in subsection A, the meeting shall stand adjourned from day to day, not to exceed seven calendar days from the date of the election, until the board has determined the validity of all provisional ballots offered in the election.

(Emphasis added). Read that again: “[T]he meeting shall stand adjourned from day to day, not to exceed seven calendar days from the date of the election.” On Saturday the FCEB announced that it was extending the period for considering provisional ballots to Tuesday (today) at 1:00 PM. It is quite obvious that this departs from the Code in two important ways: first, a single day extension is to be granted to individual voters (presumably because of individual circumstances), not ALL provisional voters. Second, if the board is unable to complete its review of all voters by the end of one day, they may adjourn to the next day, but there is no authority to say in advance of a particular day’s meeting that the meeting will need to be adjourned for subsequent days.

Undoubtedly because of squawking by the political parties about insufficient time to find and coach their voters, and the fact that relatively few voters had shown up during the standard period (just like in every other jurisdiction), the Fairfax Board decided their voters were special, and not subject to the same rules and limits as everyone else. So, the Board voted to extend all Fairfax provisional voters’ time to appear before the Board by 3 days. And this is after they had already extended the period a day longer than almost every other jurisdiction, the vast majority of which completed their provisional canvasses last Friday.

Election Dis-Uniformity

I confess that I’m not privy to all the facts and circumstances giving rise to the Fairfax Board’s actions. My impression from afar is that they took these actions over the private objections of the State Board, and some of the actions over the very public objections of the Republican Party. Nor am I familiar with the precise procedures in other large jurisdictions, or what has been done previously in Fairfax. But, that’s essentially irrelevant.

What I CAN speak to is what most other electoral boards did. In Stafford, we too were harangued by the political parties to provide the lists of provisional voters in advance of the provisional ballot meeting. But, like most other jurisdictions, we followed SBE procedures to provide a uniform application of the election laws across all of the Commonwealth’s localities. We also saw the value of SBE’s procedures, as the idea of having the media and partisan circus swirling around our process is inimical to the spirit of non-partisan fairness that my colleagues and I pride ourselves on.

Had we fully grasped the impending disregard of the rules in Fairfax, I’m quite confident my colleagues and I would have likewise availed ourselves of the opportunity to give our voters a much better chance of getting their votes counted. But now, like most voters around the state, the voters in my county have been subjected to the unfairness of Fairfax.

Cross-Posted at The Bull Elephant.

Shutdown “Gestapo Tactics” Help Make the Argument Against Obamacare

Sen. Mike Lee ABSOLUTELY NAILS IT. The Obama administration’s petty tyrannies during the first week of the government shutdown neatly illustrate the problem with giving politicians too much power–they’ll use it.

There is really no excuse for the president’s petty, spiteful actions this past week. At every turn, the president has gone out of his way to make the government shutdown as painful and disruptive as possible. The administration has left Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” website active while affirmatively making many others inaccessible. [Note that these other sites are still up, they’ve just redirected to shutdown pages. That means that there is no reduction in expense, as the site is still being paid for, only that it has been purposefully made unusable.]

The president has allowed the otherwise-closed National Mall to be used by his close union allies in SEIU for a political rally in favor of illegal immigration, while stiff-arming everyone else, including WWII veterans and other Honor Flight participants. And lest you think you might not be getting the straight story on that, Nancy Pelosi herself went out of her way to thank the president for making the Mall available for the lefty rally.

The president has also blatantly caused private residences and private businesses to be needlessly shut down, as my colleague Jeanine Martin has noted. Furloughed federal workers have been ordered not to work, even voluntarily, resulting in innumerable manufactured hardships, such as a forced shutdown of religious services on military bases.

Folks, the words arbitrary and capricious mean nothing if they don’t describe what the president and his people have been doing with federal power over the last week. But I can’t explain that nearly as well as Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) did:

“The Obama Administration’s behavior during the first week of the shutdown has been the best argument against Obamacare anyone has ever made,” said Senator Lee.

“The American people do not want Obamacare, and they are demanding that Washington act to protect them from the harmful effects of this unfortunate law. The president’s response has been to ignore them, allow the government to shutdown, and then use his power to close national parks and monuments, stop paying veterans’ benefits, and cut off cancer research.

“This is exactly why we should not expand the government’s power over our health care choices. What power the government has, it will use – and misuse – to advance its own interests, even if that means punishing the American people along the way.

“The message behind the Administration’s shutdown bullying is the same message sent by his IRS’s abuses of political opponents: do what I say, or else. This is the abusive, partisan, unaccountable bureaucracy that, under Obamacare, will soon be running America’s health care system.

“President Obama is not just using the vast powers of his office as leverage against Republicans – he is abusing his powers as leverage against the American people.

“The scenes of World War II veterans being shut out of a monument built in their honor should be a bright red flag warning the American people what an out-of-control federal government is capable of. Each day brings a new and more vivid example of why it is critical that we not allow Washington to reach even further into our most personal and intimate decisions.

“We now see how determined the president is to expand the power of the federal government and his willingness to use that power to harm the country to get what he wants. Congress cannot allow this to stand and should continue to work to end the shutdown and protect the American people from Obamacare.”

Exactly so.

Cross-posted to

What Australia’s Election Can Teach U.S. Conservatives

Australia’s new Prime Minister Tony Abbott

Elections last week in Australia gave the conservative parties (known as the Liberal-National coalition) a near-landslide victory over the leftist Labour Party headed by Paul Rudd. Like Democrats in the U.S., the Labour playbook was filled with “extremist” slurs and “war on women” kinds of tropes designed to drive up negative opinion of the conservative candidate.

So how did the conservative win? By refusing to be cowed by the relentlessly inaccurate caricatures of him by his opponents and the media. John O. Sullivan writes about this in today’s NRO, finding in Abbott’s victory a lesson for conservative candidates in the U.S.:

[T]hough he held some opinions that were unpopular or ‘controversial,’ he neither frightened people with them nor backed nervously away from them. His formula for dealing with such matters (I paraphrase) went like this: ‘Am I worried about divorce and family breakdown? Yes. Will I try to outlaw them? No.’ Voters approved of his authenticity and reasonableness even whey they disagreed with him.
[Abbott’s] strategists concluded that Labour and the media would be unable to make their charges of extremism stick unless Abbott gave them the ammunition. The watchword of the Liberal campaign should therefore be ‘steady.’ Abbott should present a strong reasoned case for his main policies and mount a reasoned but not angry critique of Labour’s failures. He could go negative on Labour policies — polls showed that his attacks on Labour’s carbon tax were popular — but not against Labour personalities. Above all, he should largely ignore the attacks leveled against him by the government and the media. Since these attacks reflected Labour’s defective analysis of who Abbott was and what he stood for, the voters would be less and less influenced by them. They knew Abbott — an opposition leader gets about — and he simply didn’t fit the caricature. Some of the more sneeringly snobbish attacks would probably drive traditional Labour voters into Abbott’s waiting arms.

Just like I’ve previously noted with respect to similar kinds of attacks being hurled against Ken Cuccinelli, the conservative should not back down and go into some sort of defensive crouch when vicious smears become the other side’s everyday weapon. Instead, demonstrate the opposite is true, and steadfastly and cheerfully present the positive case for common sense, mainstream conservative principles.

It works. I hope the Cuccinelli campaign is taking note.

Cross-posted to The Bull Elephant

North Carolina GOP Preparing to Siphon Virginia Jobs and Growth

Just a heads-up. When you hear that “giant sucking sound” of jobs leaving Virginia for points south, now you’ll know why.

Republican legislators in North Carolina have unveiled a plan to completely eliminate the state’s income tax, to be replaced with a consumption tax. This pro-growth measure, designed to place North Carolina squarely in the same league as jobs-creating giant Texas, has the support of the state’s Republican leaders and comes on the heels of last year’s across the board cuts in corporate and personal income taxes.

Imagine. Pro-growth, pro-taxpayer Republicans.

By contrast, Republican leaders in Virginia, led by Gov. McDonnell, argued that the largest tax increase in the state’s history passed earlier this year was absolutely necessary for economic growth. People other than Republican leaders, such as Bill Bolling, even went so far as to argue the economic benefits of expansion of Medicaid under Obamacare, provisions for which were included in this year’s Virginia budget.

Silly me, but that sounds an awful lot like what Democrats typically say about deficit-busting entitlement programs and enterprise-crushing tax increases.

So, now we watch and wait to see the natural experiment in action. Who will have better economic growth? Which state will create more jobs and opportunities? I suppose we’re fixing to see. But Detroit-style economics (characterized by higher taxes and greater “investment” of other people’s money) has never worked wherever it has been tried. Texas economics (low taxes, less regulation) works every time.

But at least we’ll get to ride Amtrak to Roanoke. We still got that going for us.

Cross-posted to The Bull Elephant

A Cuccinelli Win Is Crucial For Conservatives Everywhere

This really cannot be overstated: a victory for Ken Cuccinelli in this fall’s race for Virginia Governor is crucial not just to Virginians, but for the whole country. Conservatives outside Virginia who have been wrapped up in the Obama administration’s scandal-du-jour, or who are focused on House and Senate races that are more than a year away, must take note. The time for them to get involved is now.


Partners in Taking Virginia
Partners in Taking Virginia

Here is a shocking statistic: Terry McAuliffe has raised over $400 million for Bill and Hillary Clinton. As former Clinton advisor James Carville told Politico, “I don’t know how to break this to you, but Terry and the Clintons are very, very close. It’s not a secret.” The Washington Post reported that Democrats see T-Mac’s Virginia campaign as “the ground floor of a would-be Hillary Rodham Clinton presidential run — with his Virginia operation serving as a farm team in a critical swing state and donors believing they can curry favor with her by helping Mc­Auliffe.”

In an article earlier this year (H/T Jim Geraghty) Politico gave the world a heads-up that the McAuliffe campaign would serve as a training ground for Hillary’s staff and fundraisers.

Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign begins this year in Virginia.

She hasn’t said anything about 2016, but Terry McAuliffe’s 2013 gubernatorial campaign is serving as a testing ground for Clinton’s clout, operatives and donors.

In fact, McAuliffe and some of his top allies have suggested to big donors and consultants that supporting his campaign is a way to get in on the ground floor of Hillary 2016, several donors and operatives told POLITICO.

He’s stocked his campaign with top-tier talent likely to be involved in any Hillary Clinton presidential effort, including campaign manager Robby Mook, senior adviser Patrick Hallahan and bundlers such as Jonathan Mantz and Jackson Dunn.

Defeating Ken Cuccinelli would be a big win for the Clintons. If McAuliffe loses, Hillary’s stock goes down and doubt and uncertainty about the sophistication of her team will increase. Plus, naturally, a Cuccinelli victory means that Hillary wouldn’t have the assistance of the statewide network of donors and supporters the adhere to the sitting governor. If we want to stop Hillary, we first have to elect Ken Cuccinelli.


No state-level conservative politician has done more, and been more effective, at promoting principled conservative opposition to federal overreach than Ken Cuccinelli. From leading the fight against Obamacare to battling with the EPA, Cuccinelli has been a champion for our causes. A loss (especially to the “used car salesman” Terry McAuliffe) would rightly be viewed as a repudiation of those causes, and would have the immediate effect of sidelining Cuccinelli and halting the good work he continues to do.

Perhaps equally troubling would be the body-blow a Cuccinelli loss would deliver to conservatives within the GOP. As Geraghty notes,

So if you’re one of those folks who believe that Mitt Romney was a RINO squish, and that Republicans always lose when they nominate RINO squishes, then you really, really, really need Ken Cuccinelli to win this year.

If Ken Cuccinelli [loses] and simultaneously, Governor Hug-Obama-After-a-Hurricane-and-Move-Left wins in a landslide up in New Jersey . . . the message to the rest of the Republican party will be pretty clear. What you fervently believe — conservatives win, moderate squishes lose — will be refuted in the eyes of many Republicans.

We have to work hard to make sure that doesn’t happen.


Battleground Virginia
Battleground Virginia

Prior to 2008, Virginia had not voted for a Democrat for president since 1964. Now it has done so twice, and has Democrats holding both U.S. Senate seats. If current patterns hold, demographic shifts across the state–but especially in Northern Virginia–bode well for future Democrat candidates. And the Virginia Republican Party has of late been distracted with internal divisions over nominating contests and, even more recently, Governor Bob McDonnell’s cascading scandals.

This is not a recipe for future success in presidential years. If Virginia becomes a reliably blue state that means the battleground where the GOP can credibly win the presidency is shrunk even further. Virginia matters for every presidential election in the foreseeable future.


Conservatives from states outside Virginia who care about advancing our causes need to help advance Ken Cuccinelli. To do that, Cuccinelli needs to be a priority for activists from across the country. I’m not saying that things like primary contests for 2014 Senate nominations and protests against Obamacare and the IRS are unimportant. They are, of course. But the most immediate and important thing conservatives can do now is to defeat the Clinton machine in Virginia. That means traveling to Virginia, getting online and involved in the Virginia social media landscape, motivating fellow activists to do the same and–above all–donate money to the Cuccinelli campaign. Remember, Cuccinelli is running against the guy who turned selling the Lincoln Bedroom into a lucrative art form. McAuliffe is awash in cash. The only way Ken will be able to keep up is if each of you dig into your pockets and give what you can.

Do it now. Our future is truly at stake.

Cross-Posted at The Bull Elephant.

War on Women

Liberals like to pretend Ken Cuccinelli and other conservatives engage in a “war on women,” when in fact the opposite is true. (See here for just one tiny example).

Likewise, when it comes to self-defense, conservatives are clearly on the side of women–equalizing the natural advantages of male criminals and aggressors by arming women to protect themselves and defend their homes and children. By contrast, paternalistic and condescending liberal pols like Joe “Just shoot your shotgun in the air” Biden and Nurse Bloomberg want women in a perpetual state of need for a powerful male figure to come save them, be it via the vile “Julia” model whereby the daddy state takes care of females from cradle to grave with lavish welfare benefits, or through their scare-tactic campaign against guns.

When it comes to Second Amendment rights, “There exists a subtle misogyny used in the messaging of anti-gun groups, keeping women dependent on others to provide their protection, when our nation’s constitution makes clear they have the right to provide this protection for themselves,” says Kyle Coplen of the Armed Citizen Project. His group is taking this issue head-on, and in the process is undermining twisted liberal feminist pieties about the role of the government in the place of strong, independent women.

According to Breitbart News, the Houston-based group says it will sponsor a “National Empowerment Day” aimed at training and arming 500 single mothers and other women across the country. They’re raising funds to purchase suitable shotguns, and to train these women (typically from high crime areas) in the safe handling, firing, and storage of the weapons so that they may take ownership of their own destinies, instead of relying on the police, their neighbors, their fathers, boyfriends, or spouses. Read more here.

Good for them. And good for women.

Big Brother Is Here

In so many ways, this is just wrong: wife searches Google for pressure cookers, and the husband separately Googles for backpacks. Then, presto, an armed task force descends upon their home.

Michele Catalano was looking for information online about pressure cookers. Her husband, in the same time frame, was Googling backpacks. Wednesday morning, six men from a joint terrorism task force showed up at their house to see if they were terrorists. Which prompts the question: How’d the government know what they were Googling?

How indeed. As a former military guy with experience in NSA collection, I’ve generally been a little skeptical of the hysterical reactions to some of the latest disclosures about the extent of domestic surveillance. But if there is any credence to this story about innocent Google searches prompting “joint terrorism task force” scrutiny of ordinary Americans, then we’re truly living in the era of Big Brother.

It seems Orwell got it right, just off by about 30 years on his timing.

UPDATE: As pointed out in the comments, the photo above was taken in the Boston area after the marathon bombing, and is not of the Catalanos. In fact, other reports suggest the six “task force” members who came to the Catalano home were in plain clothes but were armed, as they flanked the house and asked to be allowed inside.

UPDATE #2: A tip of the hat to Michele Jurgensen, who pointed out a police press release that (thankfully) set the record straight on this. As it turns out, the searches in question were conducted on the computers of a former employer, and it was the employer–not an NSA/Google dragnet–that prompted the police visit. See the whole thing here. Thanks, Michele!

Big Cuccinelli Event Monday

Click here for more details of the town hall-style event, to be held at the Fredericksburg Expo and Conference Center at 7:00 PM on Monday the 22nd.

Have a question for Ken? Want to hear all about his tax proposals, and his plans for boosting job growth while cutting back on the kind of crony capitalism that Terry McAuliffe thrives on? Or maybe you want to hear about how Ken will have destroyed Terry in their first debate (scheduled for tomorrow)? Then come on out and be prepared for a great event, up close and personal with our next Governor.

Clever Way to Confuse Liberals

The Armed Citizen Project has a clever new tactic that will surely yield the “blue screen of death” in the liberal brain. Their method? Pairing two favorite concepts of the left–gun buybacks and redistributionism–in furtherance of (gasp!) individual freedom.

‘We’ve combined Joe Biden’s love of shotguns with Obama’s love of redistribution,’ Armed Citizen Project Executive Director Kyle Coplen told The Daily Caller. ‘At some point, you’ve earned too many guns.’ And when you’ve acquired too many firearms to use, the project buys them back from you and spreads the wealth of guns around so that a higher percentage of households are armed. ‘We see this as a buyback we can believe in, one that removes old and unused firearms from homes of existing gun owners, and uses them to create new responsible gun owners in our own communities.’

Hilarious (and hopefully effective) way to ensure a safer society, while mercilessly mocking those who stand in its way. Very nice. Read more here.

Thanks, Democrats

Tuesday’s abysmal turnout for the Democrat statewide primary provides an occasion to assess DPVA’s latest gift to the taxpayers of Virginia.

For roughly 3% turnout, state and local government costs for administering the election equaled about $4 million. Stated another way, the 144,000 voters that showed up each cost the taxpayers about $27. In some localities, the cost per voter was extraordinary. For example, in Craig County, a primary election costs local government about $15,000 to administer. But only 52 people voted in the Democrat primary across the entire county, meaning Craig County laid out an astounding $288 per voter. In a county with an all-volunteer Fire & Rescue system, where they have trouble being able to afford to maintain and buy life-saving equipment, the Democrats’ choice to impose a primary on the taxpayers is especially burdensome, and has potential real life-and-death consequences.

The pointlessness of the expenditures were felt even in larger counties. In Stafford, we had two precincts with 14 total votes cast. In more densely populated Leesburg, there was a precinct with only 7 voters all day long. These are fully-staffed with election workers paid with taxpayer money.

By contrast, the statewide GOP nominations cost the taxpayers precisely $0. Yes, I know there were local and HOD Republican primaries at the same time (and included within the same overall cost), but these are primarily a product of Virginia’s incumbent protection law that allows incumbents a great deal of latitude to pick their own nomination method. Bottom line is that it says something good about the GOP that we actually care about not foisting the costs of our own internal statewide nominating process on the taxpayer, unlike the Democrats.

Getting Jackson Wrong…Again

Last week we saw the transparent attempt by NRO’s Betsy Woodruff to land a job at The Atlantic or The New York Times by painting E.W. Jackson’s faith as something alien and fundamentally bizarre, thereby ingratiating herself with the elitist intellectuals who can only tolerate conservatives who don’t tolerate their fellow conservatives (see, for example, Frum and Brooks, et al).

Not to be outdone in the smear-and-defame department, The Washington Examiner‘s young gunner Steve Contorno today offers a hit piece on Jackson stunningly free of original journalism, much less fair or proper context. In fact, the piece reads like a near-verbatim copy of opposition research talking points that someone fed to Contorno (“The Washington Examiner has learned”), as any journalistic undertaking to discover these “facts” would have undoubtedly come with background and color that is starkly absent from Contorno’s regurgitation.

Entitled “Virginia candidate Jackson has history of money problems,” the piece purports to show a pattern of personal financial mismanagement by Jackson dating back to his days as a young lawyer in the early 1980s, fresh out of Harvard. To do that, the piece skips over some key facts that do much to explain the situation, and pushes the reader to conclusions that the facts don’t support.

For instance, Contorno cites a few examples of entities owned or managed by Jackson having been “terminated” by the Virginia State Corporation Commission for failure to pay required fees. But this happens all the time. If an entity is no longer a going concern (because, e.g., its people and donors moved to a new entity), no one at the orginal entity will feel the need to renew the annual company registration with the Commission. While you *could* take the affirmative step of terminating the registration yourself, why bother? Hardly anyone does that, and instead they simply let the registration lapse. Yet, Contorno’s article implies that Jackson is some kind of deadbeat whose organizations were padlocked by the state.

Further, the article completely glosses over the context of some of the purported financial troubles (e.g., a couple of instances where, as a signed guarantor of a church he belonged to, the church’s debt was collected from him), while tossing in a few incendiary inaccuracies for good measure, like the debunked assertion that Jackson has made statements “linking yoga to Satan,” or the bold insinuation that Jackson never served as an adjunct professor at Northeastern simply on the basis that someone at Northeastern did not have a “record” of it.

Look, I’m not saying E.W. hasn’t had financial trouble. A personal bankruptcy in a candidate’s past is nothing to cavalierly dismiss, and neither would be any genuine history of financial impropriety (see T-Mac’s involvement with Global Crossing, Green Tech, etc.). But 30 year old minor tax issues and whether he still owed payments on his encyclopedia set (!!) in the 1993 just don’t rise to that level. Simply put, the facts aren’t what E.W.’s detractors wish they were.

We’ve come to expect that political opponents throw mud at each other. We’ve also come to expect that fair and trustworthy media outlets will fact check and evaluate opposition claims. Unfortunately, what we’e seeing here instead is The Examiner picking up DPVA’s mud and throwing it like it’s their own work. And that’s a shame.