Uh Oh: It Looks Like Northam Signed Off On That Horrific Race-baiting Ad

Matt Vespa
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Posted: Nov 02, 2017 2:00 PM
Uh Oh: It Looks Like Northam Signed Off On That Horrific Race-baiting Ad

UPDATE: Northam campaign denies they approved the ad, though the filings still indicate that this was a coordinated effort. Also, there is no independent expenditure from Latino Victory Fund. Let’s go the VA law on that campaign activity:

An expenditure made by any person or political committee that is not made to, controlled by, coordinated with, or made with the authorization of a candidate, his campaign committee, or an agent of the candidate or his campaign committee. It includes an expenditure made by a candidate campaign committee (i) that is not related to the candidate's own campaign and (ii) that is not made to, controlled by, coordinated with, or made with the authorization of a different candidate, his campaign committee, or an agent of that candidate or his campaign committee.

That could provide Northam some cover for his defense that this wasn’t a coordinated effort, except when you go through LVF’s election filings, there is no independent expenditure report. Phil Kerpen of American Commitment torched Northam’s conduct during this whole fiasco:

Indeed, the Latino Victory Fund?—?the group which ran the ad?—?has not made any independent expenditures in Virginia and therefore has filed no campaign disclosures of their own. Coordinated communications are instead reported by the official campaign as an in-kind contribution

[…]

“They” legally had to report the in-kind? No, they?—?LVF?—?reported nothing. Everything they have done in this race including the murder-truck ad was coordinated with the Northam campaign and disclosed by the Northam campaign.

Why would a campaign allow coordinated communications to go out without reviewing their content? The only reason I can think of is to preserve willful ignorance.

The plain fact is Ralph Northam thought this ad would work to boost flagging turnout among Democrat-leaning minority voters in Northern Virginia. Even when he was faced with initial public backlash, he refused to disavow the ad?—?doing so only after an actual murder-truck attack took place, driven not by a Gillespie-supporting tea partier, but by a jihadi immigrant.

So much for the VMI Honor Code.

***

So, remember that horrific Latino Victory Fund ad showing an Ed Gillespie supporter in a pickup truck, with a Confederate flag, running down Asian, black, Hispanic, and Muslim kids in Virginia? Well, it was pulled after a Muslim did commit such an act, now an act of terrorism, in lower Manhattan on Tuesday.  Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov, 29, drove a pickup truck down a bike path in New York City, killing eight people and wounding twelve. The ad also seems to gloss over the fact that in June, a Virginia man did chase down Muslim teens in his car outside of Sterling, eventually murdering one with a baseball bat. The media depth-charged it once it was discovered that an illegal alien committed the crime. 

The ad is outrageous. It portrays not just Republicans, but white people as racist and violent lovers of the Confederacy, who just have to run down people of color on the street. It shows how Democrats view rural voters. How they’ve lost touch with them—and probably why they’re never going to be successful in earning a significant share of their vote again in the near future. It’s almost baffling since Barack Obama was able to do well enough with these voters to seal two presidential wins, but I digress. 

As the Virginia gubernatorial race comes to a close, it’s Democrat Ralph Northam’s campaign that appears to be desperate. The polls either have this race as a dead-heat or a shoo-in for either candidate. In blue-leaning Virginia, you’d think Northam would be able to clinch a win. Incumbent Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe is popular and a Democrat seems to only have to win Northern Virginia, the Hampton Roads area, and Richmond to clinch a win. Yet, it doesn’t appear he’s been able to break comfortably away from Republican Ed Gillespie, hence these ads. The Northam campaign also tried to link Gillespie to white nationalists, who descended into the state in August to protest the removal of the Robert E. Lee statue (supposedly) in Charlottesville. Gillespie condemned the protesters and the rally, which the Virginia press and The Washington Post were quick to highlight, along with condemning the ad. The Daily Progress, a Charlottesville-based paper, ripped Virginia Democrats for exploiting their pain for political points. 

Now, there’s a new angle as Election Day draws nearer. Did Northam sign off on the ad? The Latino Victory Fund is not part of the campaign proper, but it seems the ad was listed as an in-kind contribution for media by LVF to the Northam campaign. This comes after Northam told WAVY TV, the NBC-affiliate in Hampton Roads that this ad didn’t come from his campaign, and certainly not one he would have green lit to run.

When asked by the news station if he would denounce the ad, Northam said, “He [Gillespie] has run a campaign of negativity, of divisiveness, these MS-13 ads, and it’s been offensive to a lot of communities in Virginia, and so these communities have responded, and that’s their right.” WAVY wondered why Northam wasn’t distancing himself from the media spot to which he said, “ That commercial did not come from our campaign, and it’s certainly not a commercial that I would have wanted to run.”

This in-kind contribution was over $60,000, so it would appear that Northam had to have signed off on the media spot. Virginia’s laws are quite clear on that [emphasis mine]:

The donation of goods, services, property or anything else of value that is offered for free or less than the usual and normal charge; or payments by a third party for goods and services rather than money. The basis for arriving at the dollar value of an In-Kind gift is as follows: new items are valued at retail value; used items are valued at fair market value and services rendered are valued at the actual cost of service per hour. Services are not to include personal services (outside of the person’s professional occupation) for which no compensation is asked or given.

[…]

To qualify as an in-kind contribution, the candidate or an agent of the candidate’s campaign committee must have either expressly requested or suggested to the person or committee that the expenditure be made, or the candidate or an agent of the candidate campaign committee must have material involvement in devising the strategy, content, means of dissemination, or timing of the expenditure.

Looks like there’s some explaining to do here, Ralph.