Home 2018 Elections Scandal in CD 2 Demonstrates Need to Research Candidates

Scandal in CD 2 Demonstrates Need to Research Candidates


By Josh Stanfield of Activate Virginia

Yesterday, I stumbled across a couple of articles breaking the shocking news of a federal indictment of Shaun Brown, 2016 Democratic candidate in CD 2, and candidate for the Democratic nomination for the same seat in 2018. Brown is being charged with wire fraud and theft of government property.

When I read the Daily Press coverage, a detail stood out:

“[Brown’s] campaign finance reports with the Federal Election Commission show she’s raised $713,491 as of the end of October, all but $2,750 of which came from her. She said most of that was in the form of stock in her company. The FEC report shows she has no cash on hand in her campaign account.”

We needn’t dwell on this particular scandal. But had anyone checked Brown’s FEC filings, they’d have known immediately that something was off.

Since there’s no party authority explicitly charged with looking into the Congressional candidates – or even ensuring new candidates file the proper documents on time – Democrats should take it upon themselves to make sure their CD candidates have everything in order.

To that effect, we’ve added FEC links (where available) for 2018 candidates across Virginia in the spreadsheet below. Candidates are required to file a Statement of Candidacy within 15 days of becoming a candidate. To simplify a bit, you become a candidate when you’ve raised an aggregate exceeding $5,000 – or spent over $5,000.

So you may have seen or heard candidates who, because of the definition above, aren’t yet candidates for the purpose of filing. The following candidates have not filed a finance report yet:

CD 1: John Suddarth, Vangie Williams
CD 2: Gary Hubbard, Elaine Luria, Ernest Porter
CD 6: Sergio Coppola
CD 7: Helen Alli, Diane Fraser
CD 9: Anthony Flaccavenco, Justin Santopietro
CD 10: Julia Biggins, Paul Pelletier

Not having filed yet isn’t necessarily a problem. But given the scandal in CD 2, we should look into our Congressional candidates, check their filings, and be sure there aren’t any surprises that could emerge after the primaries.

Full disclosure: I’m a member of the 2nd CD Democratic Committee, and I support an open primary as our mode of nomination. I’m not sure when our committee will take that vote, though.


  • Morris Meyer

    Good work Josh Stanfield.

  • Jason Peterson

    Is no one planning to challenge any of our current Dem Reps from within the party? :-/

    • yellowroz

      Strategically, I hope no Dem is primaried unless they’ve shown a weakness that would attract a strong Republican challenger.

      I think the party gradually needs to embrace more progressives, but right now all I care about is strong Dem seats, and not ‘wasting’ resources being primaried.

      • I’d argue that anyone CAN be primaried at any time, but SHOULD only be primaried if there’s something wrong with them – corrupt, let’s say, or consistently voting against the environment or whatever. I can’t think of any current Democratic member of the Virginia Congressional delegation that merits a primary based on those criteria, but again, anyone can do so if they want.

  • James McCarthy

    Excellent public service piece and hopefully will be continued as candidacies emerge.

  • Kenneth Ferland

    Their are in fact vetting process for candidates. In the 5th we have a panel that is tasked with vetting our candidates. If other CD’s arn’t doing this perhaps this is only possible because were having a convention rather then a primary?

  • wwfleming

    I’m also a new member on the 2nd CD committee and also feel that the candidate selection should be by open primary. A caucus held in Virginia Beach would be insulting to voters in the two Eastern Shore counties who need a better representative than Scott Taylor.

    As far as vetting goes, I’ve gotten the impression that in CD2 the vetting has only been done by the CD2 Chair, but I don’t recall this being covered in the bylaws. Considering the Roy Moore big-time scandal in Alabama, vetting should probably be more comprehensive. Perhaps the DPVA should contract for some level of opposition research on candidates with the cost being paid for by the candidates? The research result would later become the property of whomever pays for it.

  • John Edmunds

    Shaun’s former campaign manager alerted DPVA several times about her false statements on the paperwork. He even tried to work with party leaders in the 2nd district to have her removed and replaced as the candidate. In the end she fired him and the state party along with the others did absolutely nothing.