UPDATE: Scott Taylor continues to break promise to constituents and pay petition forgers
Two individuals who plead 5th Amendment in Forgery Scandal were paid by Taylor in October
Richmond, VA -- Rep. Scott Taylor continues to break his promise to voters about his handling of the petition forgery scandal rattling his campaign. In documents filed with the FEC last week, Taylor revealed that he continued to pay two staffers implicated in forgery weeks longer than others, and that two of them were paid as recently as early October.
This comes after Taylor insisted during and after Tuesday’s Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce debate with Elaine Luria, without offering details, that he had rid his campaign of staffers who a judge had implicated in “out and out fraud.” And when asked after the debate on specifics of who was terminated and when, Taylor hid behind Special Prosecutor Donald Caldwell's ongoing criminal investigation into the conduct of him and his staff.
In August, Taylor promised in a since-deleted Facebook Live broadcast that he would immediately fire any staffers implicated in wrongdoing. He had already broken that promise, paying all five alleged forgers through the middle of September. However, Taylor’s latest filing shows that he paid Roberta Marciano and Validius LLC, a firm associated with Daniel Bohner, on October 1st, suggesting they were on payroll for weeks after the others implicated in fraud. Both of them signed affidavits indicating they would plead the Fifth if asked to testify to avoid self-incrimination, and both were named by the judge as having participated in fraud.
Despite Representative Scott Taylor’s repeated claims that he had fired everyone on his staff involved in petition-gate, Taylor’s October FEC report shows once again that forgers were still being compensated.
According to the FEC Pre-General Report that covers 10/1-10/17, Rep. Taylor reports that his Ending Cash on Hand was $290,709.69 and while no disbursements had been listed for lawyer fees or legal services, there was one disbursement to a Taylor staffer who submitted signatures in order to get a spoiler candidate on the ballot in June. Roberta Marciano was paid $1,207.25 on 10/1.
“Scott Taylor lost his credibility quite a while ago, but that does not mean we should not hold him accountable for his broken promises,” said DPVA Communications Director Jake Rubenstein. “On August 6th, Taylor told VA-02 voters he would fire any employee who acted inappropriately. He has repeated that claim over and over again. Almost three months later, Congressman Taylor continued to employ at least two known forgers and now won’t answer whether they are still part of his campaign. He must be held accountable for not following through on promises he makes to his constituents.”
Taylor continued to pay staffers accused of wrongdoing
- Taylor had said he would purge his campaign of anyone involved in illegal activity.
- On September 5th, a Virginia judge threw out all of the petition signatures submitted by Taylor’s staffers, saying they were “rife with errors, inconsistencies,” and found “out and out fraud.”
- But Taylor continued to pay the staffers who collected the fraudulent petitions and signed affidavits invoking their Fifth Amendment rights if asked to testify against Taylor, including after the judge’s decision:
- Disbursed $6,000 for legal fees to Validus, an LLC associated with Daniel Bohner, and also paid him an additional $9,000 from consulting and staff time as recently as 9/12.
- Disbursed a total of $7,424.06 to Lauren Creekmore, including a 9/12 disbursement for “payroll”
- Disbursed a total of $13,500 to Heather Guillot, including a 9/12 disbursement for “campaign consulting – staff”
- Disbursed a total of $7,635.48 to Roberta Marciano, including a 9/12 disbursement for “payroll” and a 9/18 disbursement for “mileage reimbursement
- Taylor’s campaign made four disbursements for legal fees during Q3
- $2,500 to Mark Andrews Law on 8/10 - Mark Andrews is a criminal defense attorney.
- $2,575 Plumlee & Overton PC 8/13 - Plumlee & Overton practices criminal law.
- $5,000 to Tavss Fletcher on 8/9 - Tavss Fletcher practices criminal law.
- $1,325 to Holtzman Vogel Josefiak on 9/18 - Holtzman Vogel Josefiak practices election law.
- Notably, four of those disbursements came within a week of the special prosecutor being appointed on August 7th.
- Also, notably, Taylor had never paid any of these law firms prior to this quarter.