New campaign finance reports reveal that Virginia Democrat gubernatorial candidate Ralph Northam’s campaign coordinated with the Latino Victory Fund (LVF) on the LVF’s “sickening” ad, which even the Washington Post called “vile.”
The Latino Victory Fund ran an ad that featured an Ed Gillespie supporter attempting to run down minority children. The Gillespie campaign decried this ad as “disgusting” and an “attack on the people of Virginia.”
A report from the Washington Post suggested that the LVF allegedly created their controversial ad to spur minority support for Virginia Democrat Ralph Northam due to private polling that reveals low support for the Virginia gubernatorial candidate.
Virginia State Sen. Barbara Favola said that Republicans, “Are evil, we’re the good guys” at a rally for Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ralph Northam.
The Washington Post editorial board slammed the Latino Victory Fund’s “vile” and “despicable” ad and chided the Virginia Democrat gubernatorial candidate Ralph Northam for calling out that ad.
Now, new reports from the Virginia Department of Elections reveal that the LVF and the Ralph Northam campaign coordinated on the “vile” LVF ad.
On October 17, Northam’s campaign received two in-kind contributions in amounts of $23,475 and $2,870.10 from the Latino Victory PAC (LVP), described as “advertising” and “media.” On November 1, the Northam campaign reported receiving a large pre-election in-kind contribution from the LVP for $62,729.60 for “media.”
According to the Virginia State Board of Elections’ Summary of Laws and Policies for Candidate Campaign Committees, Section 4.2 “In-Kind Contribution vs. Independent Expenditures,” the statute reads, “To qualify as an in-kind contribution, the candidate or an agent of the candidate’s campaign committee must have either expressly requested or suggested to the person or committee that the expenditure be made, or the candidate or an agent of the candidate campaign committee must have material involvement in devising the strategy, content, means of dissemination, or timing of the expenditure.”
The LVP in-kind contribution on November 1 means that Northam’s campaign was directly involved the strategy, content, and timing of the LVF ad, if there was no coordination the contribution would have been reported as an independent expenditure.
The 2017 gubernatorial election in Virginia is governed by the state statutes in Virginia, not federal election law. As such, the coordination of in-kind contributions with a gubernatorial candidate and his campaign by an outside group is not a violation of state election laws. At the federal level, such messaging coordination between a candidate for federal office or the candidate’s campaign and an independent expenditure committee, such as a SuperPAC, is a violation of federal election law.
The Virginia Democrat Ralph Northam’s gubernatorial campaign originally did not disavow the Latino Victory Fund’s attack ad on Gillespie and Trump supporters. The Northam campaign doubled down on the ad’s divisive rhetoric.
Northam spokeswoman Ofirah Yheskel said, “Independent groups are denouncing Ed Gillespie because he has run the most divisive, fear-mongering campaign in modern history. It is not shocking that communities of color are scared of what his Trump-like policy positions mean for them.”
After the Latino Victory Fund pulled the ad, Yheskel said in a statement to Breitbart News, “Latino Victory Fund has taken the ad down, and we believe it’s appropriate and the right thing to do.”
Even though the LVF pulled the ad featuring the Ed Gillespie supporter trying to run over minority children, the Latino Victory Fund released a Spanish-only ad that features Nazi flags and Ed Gillespie and President Donald Trump imposed on top of the flags.
Ralph Northam tried to dial down his campaign’s support for the ad. On Wednesday Northam said, “That commercial did not come from our campaign, and it’s certainly not a commercial that I would have wanted to run.”
Ed Gillespie campaign manager Chris Leavitt slammed the Latino Victory Fund’s ad.
“This is not an attack on Ed Gillespie anymore,” said Chris Leavitt. “This is an all-out attack on the people of Virginia. This latest ad gives a clear indication of just what Ralph Northam and his national Democratic allies think of all of us, and it’s sickening.”
Breitbart News reported that the race between Gillespie and Northam remains tight. The election is on Tuesday, November 7.