The Republican Party of Virginia is holding a primary convention on Saturday that it has assured the public will be fair to all the candidates vying for the party’s nomination for Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and Attorney General. But the party’s General Counsel, Lee E. Goodman, also serves as counsel to a mysterious group, Virginians for Limited Government (VLG), that recently sent out $46,000 in direct mailers in support of one the seven candidates for the Republican nomination for Lieutenant Governor, Corey Stewart.
When two Virginia voters filed election law complaints against Mr. Stewart with the Virginia State Board of Elections (SBE) on Wednesday, Mr. Goodman’s conflict of interest and its impact on the fairness of Saturday’s nominating convention became the state's hottest political controversy. Questions about the fairness of the contest increased when Breitbart News discovered that Mr. Goodman also has significant influence at the Virginia SBE with the officials who will be responsible for determining the agency's response to the complaints against Mr. Stewart.
Mr. Goodman has been a powerhouse in the Republican Party of Virginia for more than two decades. A graduate of the University of Virginia Law School, Goodman was part of former Governor and Senator George Allen's inner circle. He served as General Counsel to Senator Allen's losing Senatorial campaign in 2006, and has been General Counsel to the Republican Party of Virginia since 2009. Mr. Goodman knows Virginia election law inside and out, and also knows most of the major players involved in the writing, regulation, and administration of those laws.
Charlie Judd, currently the Chairman of the three member Virginia SBE, served as executive director of the Republican Party of Virginia from 2006 to 2008. Justin Riemer, the current Deputy Secretary at the Virginia SBE, served as Deputy Director at the Republican National Lawyers Association, an organization in which Mr. Goodman has been a major player for many years and currently serves as first vice-president, from 2009 to 2010. Mr. Riemer is the immediate superior of Chris Piper, the Virginia SBE official who has the authority to make the initial assessment on the merits of the election law complaints filed on Wednesday against Mr. Stewart.
The controversy surrounding VLG centers on whether it meets the statutory definition of a political action committee and is therefore required by law to file a Statement of Organization and quarterly financial reports with the Virginia SBE. To date, VLG has not filed these documents.
Recent changes in the Virginia law suggest the actions of VLG are subject to the legal authority of the Virginia SBE, since it meets the new definition of a political action committee.
Breitbart News has received a copy of the agenda for the Virginia SBE's next public meeting, which will be held on Wednesday, May 22. The agenda indicates there will be a discussion of election complaints at the meeting that day. However, those discussions will come four days after delegates to the Republican Party convention select the party's nominee for Lieutenant Governor on Saturday.
Regardless of the outcome of the race for the Republican nomination for Lieutenant Governor in Virginia, voters around the state will be watching to see if the Virginia SBE handles the election law complaints filed against Mr. Stewart in a fair and timely manner.