On Friday night Corey Stewart, one of seven candidates seeking the Republican nomination for Lieutenant Governor in Virginia, admitted to a crowd of 50 Tea Party activists that he was not only “connected to” the mysterious Virginians for Limited Government (VLG) group that has paid for attack mailers on five of his opponents; he’s also provided funding for the group.
Larry Nordvig, the Executive Director of the Richmond Virginia Tea Party who attended the Friday meeting, told Breitbart News on Monday that Stewart admitted his connection to VLG during a public question and answer period. Holding two of the VLG funded attack mailers in his hand, Nordvig described this back and forth he had with Stewart:
Nordvig Question: “Do you agree with these ads and did you have any connection to them whatsoever for the record?”
Corey Stewart Answer: “Am I connected? Yes. I have donated money to that organization.”
Nordvig Question. “At least a couple of these candidates fought against these budget increases, specifically Steve Martin…The information on the flyer is not correct so this information is misleading. Will you do the right thing and publicly condemn these ads as false?”
Corey Stewart Answer: “No, I’m not going to do it. I play hardball. This is politics.”
Sue Sadler, who is with a concerned citizens group in James City County and was present at Friday’s event, told Breitbart News on Monday that “Nordvig’s account is absolutely correct.”
Carolyn Worssam, a member of the Richmond Tea Party, told Breitbart News on Monday “that sure is an accurate description of the conversation between Larry and Corey Stewart.”
A third source, who is one of the 13,000 delegates to the convention that will select the Republican Party’s nominee for Lieutenant Governor in Richmond on Saturday and was present at the Friday event, told Breitbart News on Monday “that’s an accurate and balanced description” of the exchange between Nordvig and Stewart.
A fourth source, who was also at the meeting on Friday, told Breitbart News on Monday “that’s completely accurate.”
The meeting was held at Mimi’s Cafe in Henrico, Virginia, near Richmond, and was moderated by Carol Stopps, a supporter of Mr. Stewart. Ms. Stopps told Breitbart News on Tuesday: “That was an accurate description of the conversation between Larry and Corey. Corey did not deny he knows the organization and contributed to the organization. In my opinion this is typical campaign material and there were no misstatements in the mailers.”
Stewart’s admission could be a violation of Virginia election law, which requires that independent expenditure political action committees not coordinate their activities with the campaigns of any candidates. It is unclear how much Stewart has contributed to VLG, since it has failed to file its Statement of Organization with the Virginia State Board of Elections.
The exact organizational structure of VLG remains unclear. On Monday the group changed its “about us” description on its website to say that it is a 501(c)4 tax exempt non profit corporation.
A search of Guidestar, the online source that provides information about non profit corporations that have received 501(c)3 and 501(c)4 tax-exempt status from the IRS shows no entry for “Virginians for Limited Government.” By law, 501(c)4 organizations are prohibited from “primarily” engaging in political communications.
On Tuesday, Corey Stewart emailed this statement to Breitbart News: “Over the course of my life, I have supported and recommended several conservative organizations including the Family Foundation, Gun Owners of America, National Right to Work, Campaign for Liberty and Virginians for Limited Government to various people.”
Stewart emphasized that neither he nor his campaign “had any coordination” with Virginians for Limited Government. “I am proud to support these like-minded organizations over the course of my political career,” his email statement continued. “What these groups do, I have no control over. Neither myself or my campaign have had any coordination with this group.”
Photograph source: The Virginia Conservative