Update: I received a call from Lind this morning and I should make it clear that he ended up returning several donations when requested. In the comments, you will see further e-mails from that chain that my source did not make available to me.
That being said, Lind also implied that I must be on the payroll of the Comstock campaign, and implied that some others were receiving kickbacks from the Comstock campaign in much the manner of Greg Letiecq’s post, which I thoroughly shredded for the same reasons.
I am not receiving nor have I ever received money from Barbara Comstock. I think I drank a couple beverages from her suite at The Advance, but then again, I also ate Howie’s food. I would have written the same story had I seen the follow-up e-mails or not. It’s incredibly telling to me that donors are requesting refunds now that Lind has jumped races.
A high-profile Virginia Republican donor and activist penned an e-mail to 10th District Congressional candidate Howie Lind questioning his ethics and decision to join the race. Lind, who began this year running for United States Senate, intends to spend his war chest in the 10th. That has donors like Jo crying foul. A source (not Thoburn) sent me this e-mail:
From: Jo Thoburn
Date: February 8, 2014, 8:43:22 PM EST
To: Howie Lind <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Cc: John Whitbeck, Julie Secord Williams, Morton & Helen Blackwell, Kathy Terry, Pat Mullins, EveMarie Barner Gleason, Kay Gunter, Heidi Stirrup, Mark Berg, Matt Ames, Mark Sell, Beau Correll, ‘Gerry R. Gunn’
Subject: So Disappointed
You have been a hero to many in the conservative movement. I have been a fan and even hosted a fundraiser at my house last November for your US Senate bid.
However, the word on the street in that you have decided to run for Congress in the 10th district. If this is the case, I insist you return my $2,600 contribution to your US Senate race and contributions to others who gave you money.
When you called me to tell me that you were pulling out of the US Senate race, your excuse was that you did not think you could raise enough money to beat Ed Gillespie. You inferred you were broke.
Then two weeks later, when we talked regarding your possible Congressional bid, you bragged to me on the phone that you had “saved” $180,000 from your US Senate race you could use to run for Congress.
Even if it’s legal, using this money for a Congressional bid in the 10th district is unethical and immoral. I am so disappointed in your character.
We were all shocked and angry in December when Ron Meyer pulled this bait-and-switch on his donors to the 11th district Congressional race and choose to run against John Whitbeck for the nomination. I was one of those donors and I’m still angry.
I hope you will reconsider using money to run instead in the 10th district. If you insist on running, you should return the money you raised under what can be looked at as now false pretenses. If you don’t want to return it, then you must put the money in an escrow account to be donated to the Republican nominee of either the US Senate race or maybe the 10th Congressional. Anything less than this seriously calls into question you ethics and your character.
Using a dime of your US Senate money for a race you did raise it for is just wrong.
Just do the right thing.
While it is perfectly legal for Lind to transfer the dollars raised from his U.S. Senate account to his U.S. Congress account (they’re both federal races), that doesn’t mean voters are happy about it. Lind raised a substantial chunk of change while he was the most viable candidate in the Senate race. Now he’s not even the most viable candidate in the House race.
I have my issues with Lind and his baggage already, but this just adds to it. When donors request refunds (and a number of them have), that should happen. Lind joined a race that those dollars were never intended to be involved in. Legal doesn’t equal ethical, and Howie Lind is certainly learning that.