Editorial Boards and Columnists SLAM Scott Taylor for "FRAUD"
As campaign sleaze goes, that would have been the garden-variety sort — but it didn’t end there. Once Ms. Brown’s petitions were submitted, with a major assist from the Taylor campaign, it turned out they included dozens of fraudulent signatures. Some of those who “signed” were dead; some had left the district years ago; others were local politicos or their relatives who, when contacted, said they hadn’t signed the petition. Forging signatures on election forms is a crime in Virginia.
Lately, as a special prosecutor investigates whether a crime was committed, Mr. Taylor has avoided journalists and questions; he has also fired his campaign manager and a campaign consultant. On Wednesday, in a separate judicial matter, a judge in Richmond ordered Ms. Brown removed from the ballot, saying her petitions were peppered with forgeries and fraud — courtesy, it appears, of the Taylor campaign.
Ultimately, Rep. Scott Taylor’s scheme didn’t work. A Richmond Circuit Court judge this week ordered nominally independent candidate Shaun Brown off the November ballot in the 2nd Congressional District contest, saying her petitions were riddled with “forgery” and “out and out fraud.”
Staffers from Taylor’s campaign helped gather signatures that pushed Brown, a longtime Democrat, over the top, before examiners found the names of dead people and other irregularities among her signatures.
His staffers are accused of fraudulently gathering signatures to get a spoiler candidate on the ballot as an independent to siphon votes from his Democratic challenger, Elaine Luria.
On Wednesday, Richmond Circuit Court Judge Gregory Rupe ordered Brown’s name not be printed on the November ballot, citing “out and out fraud,” adding that “without a doubt there were instances of fraud, perjury, and forgery.”
That’s bad. But the matter doesn’t end there. A criminal investigation is underway into how the signatures were gathered and whether fraud was committed.
Taylor insists that he had no knowledge of his staff members’ actions and avoided a subpoena to testify, but six of those staffers invoked the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination when compelled to answer questions.
Virginia State Police apparently are conducting two investigations into the signatures, and a special prosecutor has been appointed in the case. Brown says she will appeal.
That’s certainly a shame for the people of this region, who deserved better in a competitive election and from those who seek to represent them in Washington.
Last week’s courtroom revelations on his campaign’s shenanigans — shenanigans by campaign loyalists that are now being investigated for possible criminal charges — have turned his re-election bid into a first-rate, low-order mess.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that there are instances of forgery … perjury and out-and-out fraud.”
“Fraud.” That’s not good, generally speaking, when seeking re-election in what has been identified as one of the most competitive House races in the country.