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Lawyers Enter Campaign '07

Tim Craig

The record fundraising by state legislative candidates this fall has meant big business for consultants, television stations and the U.S. Postal Service.

Now, the lawyers are sharing in the wealth.

Earlier today, the Livingston Group filed an anti-defamation lawsuit against the Virginia Democratic Party and House Democratic candidate Rex Simmons, who is challenging Del. Timothy Hugo (R-Fairfax). Hugo is a lobbyist for the Livingston Group, which Simmons attacked in a recent campaign mailer.

Meanwhile, the Democratic Party of Virginia has filed a legal complaint with the State Board of Elections and Federal Election Commission asking for an investigation into whether campaign committees for Sen. Jeannemarie Devolites Davis (R-Fairfax) and her husband, U.S. Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (R-Fairfax), violated state and federal campaign finance laws. The complaint alleges the husband and wife didn't properly disclose who was paying for a portion of her television advertisements.

The Livingston Group lawsuit stems from a mailer Simmons sent out earlier this month accusing Hugo of having ties to the abu Ghraib prison controversy in Iraq.

According to reporting by The Washington Post's Jeffrey H. Birnbaum, the flier asserts that Hugo "lobbied for a company under government investigation for unethical contracts in Iraq."

A footnote on the mailer indicates that the company was CACI International, an Arlington-based government contractor that the Livingston Group once lobbied for.

But It turns out that the group never lobbied on Iraq matters for CACI -- it tried to help CACI with government contracts in the United States, and Livingston ended its relationship with the company in June 2004. Hugo also never lobbied for CACI.

The Democratic Party's complaint against the couple centers on campaign finance disclosures.

The congressman gave more than $300,000 in in-kind donation to Devolites Davis by purchasing TV advertising time, according to the State Board of Elections. Board regulations say such an ad must disclose the name of the purchaser, but the ad in question states: "Paid for and authorized by Jeannemarie Devolites Davis."

The state party's complaint with the FEC also alleges that Tom Davis is in violation of FEC "stand by your ad" regulations.

As reported by the Post's Amy Gardner, Devolites Davis says the disclosure was appropriate because her campaign paid to produce the ad and to make the initial purchase of airtime. Her husband's committee paid for an extension of air time, and she disclosed the contribution as required by law, she said.

By Tim Craig  |  November 2, 2007; 1:38 PM ET
Categories:  Election 2007 , Tim Craig  
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Next: David Rensin Tops $1 Million in Donations to GOP

Comments

Hmm. I wonder what Mr. Simmons's take was on the bad-taste attacks upon Gov. Kaine by Jerry Kilgore for representing death row inmates. Me smells the double standard.

Posted by: Stephen Braunlich | November 2, 2007 7:11 PM | Report abuse

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