In a ruling with potentially serious ramifications for the re-election campaign of Rep. Scott Taylor, R-2nd, a judge on Wednesday found “out-and-out fraud” in signatures Taylor’s campaign staff gathered to help get an independent spoiler candidate on the ballot. Richmond Circuit Judge Gregory L. Rupe ruled that independent Shaun Brown should be removed from the 2nd Congressional District ballot. Campaign staffers for Taylor helped gather signatures required to get Brown on the ballot. Investigations by news media and the Democratic Party showed forged signatures, including from voters who had died or no longer lived in the congressional district. The judge’s ruling followed testimony in a civil lawsuit the Democratic Party of Virginia brought against state elections officials. Four Taylor staffers and a former campaign consultant signed affidavits invoking their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in response to a series of questions about what happened.
Jeffrey Breit, an attorney for the Democratic Party, told the judge there was clear evidence of a pattern and intent by the Taylor campaign to defraud the Virginia Department of Elections.
“Here is a sitting congressman who sits together with his staff to add a woman charged and indicted for fraud and add her to the ballot for the sole purpose of trying to help his election,” Breit said after the hearing. Brown faces federal fraud charges in a case unrelated to the campaign.