Among the dozens of stocks now disclosed in Good’s individual retirement account are shares in Abbott Laboratories, a pharmaceutical company, and McKesson, a drug distributor and health-care IT company. The companies benefited from contracts with Campbell County in 2016. Each stock is worth between $1,001 and $15,000, according to the disclosure.
In 2016, Good voted to give Abbott Nutrition, a subsidiary of Abbott Laboratories, a $567,000 corporate subsidy to help fund its expansion and create jobs at a facility in Altavista, Va.
He also voted to give McKesson a contract overseeing the county’s ambulance billing and collection services, allowing the company to retain 4.25 percent of all that it collected. In the same year, Good and the board voted to hike ambulance fees by about 26 percent and to allow garnishing wages from Campbell County residents who did not pay for their ambulance rides.
Good did not disclose owning any securities, including stocks, during his tenure on the board, which lasted from 2016 to 2019. He reported owning more than $300,000 in mutual funds while running for the board seat in 2015.
Good’s congressional campaign manager, Nancy Smith, said the candidate does not manage the investments himself and would have had no way of knowing whether he held stock in Abbott and McKesson at the time of the 2016 votes.
Smith also said Good inadvertently omitted itemized assets from Campbell County financial disclosures during his tenure on the board but would be willing to update those disclosures if needed.
“The updated federal forms provide a full disclosure of his financial interests and are a current picture of his holdings,” Smith said in a statement. “Bob’s investments are managed by investment professionals who have discretion to purchase and sell holdings within funds based on market activity. Bob did not and does not engage in the day to day transactions in his retirement accounts.”
Virginia law requires local and state lawmakers to disclose their personal economic interests in forms filed with the Virginia Conflict of Interest and Ethics Advisory Council. G. Stewart Petoe, executive director of the council, declined to discuss whether any violations occurred, saying he cannot answer questions from news organizations.
Norman Ornstein, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute who helped found the House Office of Congressional Ethics, said it’s a “giant flare” if a candidate reports zero financial assets, then files an amended form showing dozens of assets.
He said it’s unlikely Good’s votes on items benefiting Abbott and McKesson would have a large impact on his finances if he owned stocks at the time. But Ornstein said the right thing for lawmakers to do is to recuse themselves, regardless of who is managing the investments. At the very least, Ornstein said, modest holdings should still be disclosed.
“I could cut a little slack in this sense. These are huge companies where contracts in the county are not likely to have a big material impact on the stock value or price,” Ornstein said. “But having said that, if you are a supervisor on a county board and you own stocks in companies where even if it’s a marginal impact on your holdings, the smart thing to do — the most ethical thing to do — would be to recuse yourself.”
In a statement, Webb’s campaign manager, Ben Young, said Good should not have waited so long to correct his financial disclosures.
“The voters deserve accountability and transparency from their representatives,” Young said. “It is unfortunate that Mr. Good chose to conceal this important information in the first place until after votes had already been cast.”
Good worked for CitiFinancial for 17 years before joining Liberty University as an athletics fundraising official. He and Webb, who is a doctor and a lawyer, are in an unexpectedly tight race in Virginia’s usually red 5th District.
Good ousted incumbent Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-Va.) at a June GOP nominating convention, which nonpartisan political analysts say has caused some division within the party.
Both the Cook Political Report and Sabato’s Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia have since rated the general election contest a “toss-up,” a significant shift from “likely Republican” several months ago.
President Trump won the district by 11 points in 2016.