Republican gubernatorial nominee John N. Dalton said today he has decided to accept about $2,500 to $3,000 in contributions raised by a conservative group through a controversal solitication letter signed by Rep. J. Kenneth Robinson (R-Va)
Dalton, disclosing the move at an impromptu news conference before a morning rally here, said he decided to accept the "very insignificant "amount collected by the Independent Virginians for Responsible Government as the best way to shut down the controversial group and "get this thing behind me in this campaign." The group had sought to raise $95,000 to "expose" the record of Dalton's opponent, Henry E. Howell, in a series of television ads.
The Independent Virginians group, financed in part by the Arlingon-based National Conservative Political Action Committee, has been criticized for soliciting funds through a strongly worded letter that Dalton himself has acknowledged contains inaccurate statements about his opponent.
Earlier this week, Dalton asked the campaign and funnel its political of forts through the established ch funnel its political of forts through the established channels of the Dalton campaign.
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Dalton said the Independent Virginians agreed Friday to accept his request and offered to turn over to his campaign both the prepared commercials and the funds remaining after production costs for the ads had been paid.
He said that apparently would amount to less than $3,000, which he characterized as a "very small amount compared to what we're talking about in this entire campaign."
He said he had considered refusing the money from the group but decided that such a move would only prolong the controversy that has dogged his campaign for the past two weeks.
He said his office had been in contact with Robinson about the matter and it was his understanding that Robinson had agreed to the move. Dalton said he had no idea how much the Independent Virginians had collected in all through the Robinson letter, but said so little money remained after production and legal costs had been paid that any refund to contributors would have been insignificant in comparison to what they had paid in.
"I think the people of Virginia will understand that this was set up without my approval," Dalton said.