More than a dozen people clapped on Friday when Virginia’s State Board of Elections unanimously voted to assess a $500 fine against a Woodbridge man and the political action committee called Republicans for Stanley Bender.
The elections board assessed the fine because Harry Wiggins, who was listed as the treasure of the PAC in organizing forms Oct. 24, didn't include written notice to Bender and didn’t have Bender's written permission to use his name, as is required.
“The sections are clear and counsel agrees,” Elections Commissioner Chris Piper said.
Signs promoting “Republicans for Stanley Bender” appeared at several polling places on Election Day in Prince William County. An unaffiliated candidate, Bender ended up winning nearly 10 percent of the vote in the three-way special election for school board chair.
The race is non-partisan, making it easy for voters to be confused about which candidates are supported by the local parties.
Prince William Republicans were supporting Alyson Satterwhite. Babur Lateef, who was supported by local Democrats, won the race with 47.49 percent of the vote, compared to Satterwhite’s 41.75 percent and Bender’s 9.63 percent.
A former Prince William Democratic Party leader in the county, Wiggins has not responded to requests for comment.
The Prince William Democratic Committee and Lateef have said they were not aware of the signs and did not condone the intent behind the signs.
Loudoun County Commonwealth’s Attorney Jim Plowman said Wednesday he received a court order Nov. 30 to investigate allegations against Wiggins in connection to the signs. Plowman said he cannot comment on the allegations.
Piper said the state board will not be involved in the criminal investigation. “We don’t have that kind of authority,” he said.
Now that the state board fined Wiggins $500 and revoked the PAC’s status, the PAC is not responsible for filing a campaign finance report on Jan. 15, according to State Board of Elections Commissioner Chris Piper. Piper referred questions about the PAC and its finances to the Loudoun County Commonwealth’s Attorney, since he is investigating Wiggins and the PAC.