Gilmore Filed False Information On Campaign Disclosure Forms

Former Virginia governor James Gilmore is running for U.S. Senate.
Former Virginia governor James Gilmore is running for U.S. Senate. (Bill O'leary - Post)
By Tim Craig
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, July 24, 2008

RICHMOND -- Former Virginia governor James S. Gilmore III, the state's Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate, submitted false information on two financial disclosure forms that hid his ties to a government contractor embroiled in a legal dispute over allegations that two of its executives had conspired to defraud the federal government.

On the forms, the first filed in June 2007 for his presidential campaign and the second in May after he joined the U.S. Senate race, Gilmore said he was on the board of Windmill International.

Gilmore, who signed his name attesting that the information on the forms was "complete and correct," reported that Windmill International was based in Nashua, N.H.

But Gilmore was on the board of a Virginia-based company also called Windmill International. The two companies are not affiliated. The Virginia company, headed by Douglas Combs, a former Navy official, is at the center of an ongoing lawsuit alleging that Combs and others tried to secure fraudulent government contracts in Iraq.

In a statement yesterday, Gilmore's campaign said his financial adviser made a "clerical error" in filling out the forms. "As a former prosecutor and a former attorney general, Gov. Gilmore is a forceful advocate for transparency by public officials," the statement says. "Neither Gov. Gilmore nor his staff noticed this clerical error as the Senate form was signed and forwarded to the Secretary of the Senate, but the Governor today instructed his staff and his financial adviser to amend the Senate disclosure form and provide the correct information as soon as possible."

The statement says Gilmore attended only one board meeting of the Virginia company. He declined a request for an interview. "There is no story here," said his spokeswoman, Ana Gamonal.

Gilmore has had a long-standing relationship with Combs, a prominent Republican donor who was acting undersecretary of the Navy in 2003. Combs, who has contributed tens of thousands of dollars to Gilmore's political efforts, served on the State Council of Higher Education during Gilmore's term as governor in the late 1990s.

In 2005, Combs's company filed a report with the State Corporation Commission listing Gilmore as vice chairman of the company. SCC records do not list Gilmore after that.

But Gilmore's forms for his Senate campaign incorrectly say he was on the New Hampshire company's board from December 2004 to December 2007. The Web site of the Virginia company still lists Gilmore as a member of its "team."

Gamonal said she did not know why Gilmore's name was on the Virginia company's Web site. In the campaign's statement, Gilmore says he served on the Virginia company's board as an unpaid adviser from May 2005 to June 2006. Gilmore also reported that Windmill International is a "veterans contract group."

Richard L. Manganello, founder and chief executive officer of the New Hampshire company, which describes itself as a contracting firm run by veterans, said neither he nor his business has had any ties to Gilmore or Combs's company, which is based at Combs's home in Rappahannock County.

"I don't recall ever hearing of Jim Gilmore. . . . He clearly made a mistake, or someone publishing on his behalf made a mistake," Manganello said. "We are not affiliated with the Virginia company. . . . It's just a coincidence we have the same name."

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