Virginia GOP says Democratic group violated campaign finance rules in AG race

The Republican Party of Virginia has filed a complaint with the Virginia State Board of Elections accusing an out-of-state Democratic organization of violating campaign finance disclosure laws in a way that the GOP says conceals the identity of contributors to Sen. Mark R. Herring, the Democratic candidate for attorney general.

The GOP also called on the state elections board to investigate filings by the Democratic Attorneys General Association for a possible violation that carries a hefty fine — in this case, a dollar-for-dollar match of $685,000.

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But the Democratic Attorneys General Association’s head strongly denied the allegations and said the group believes it took the proper steps to comply with the law.

“We are working with the State Board of Elections,” Travis Berry, the group’s executive director, said Thursday. Herring’s campaign also denied the allegations.

“We have reported all of our contributions in full accordance with Virginia’s laws and have disclosed every donation we have received to date,” Herring campaign spokesman Kevin O’Holleran said in an e-mail.

Herring (D-Loudoun) is battling Sen. Mark D. Obenshain (R-Harrisonburg) to succeed Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II (R). Recent polls show the attorney general race is too close to call.

In an Oct. 16 letter to the state elections board, Virginia GOP chairman Pat Mullins said that the Denver-based Democratic Attorneys General Association had failed to register as an out-of state committee or report $685,000 in two contributions made to the Democratic Attorneys General Association-Virginia, which is a PAC registered with Virginia’s state elections board. The Virginia affiliate then spent that money on Herring’s campaign, Mullins’s letter says.

Mullins also said the Denver-based group has spent money in Virginia since July 1 but has failed to register with the Virginia elections board or itemize and report contributions of $2,500 or more.

Berry, the Denver-based group’s executive director, said the allegations are untrue.

“All contributions and expenditures are reported to the IRS,” Berry said. He also said the group has taken the proper steps to follow Virginia election law.

“We believe we are in compliance in Virginia. We established the committees and reported, or so we thought,” he said.

A call to the state board seeking comment wasn’t immediately returned.

 
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