The Loudoun County BoS will vote on a request to grant Supervisor about $5,000 for a campaign newsletter. If the BoS understands the purpose of the newsletter, they’ll deny the request. Regarding the situation, there’s a good letter in the online version of the Leesburg Today that exposes the machinations of Supervisor Delgaudio’s use of taxpayer funded newsletters. The letter also demonstrates the possible illegal collaboration between the Sterling Supervisor and Dave LaRock’s 33rd House District campaign.
How much information was shared? Were voter lists shared? Was the value of the information reported as an in-kind contribution? There are many, many outstanding questions. The letter is inlined below, emphasis mine.
Dear Editor: The Board of Supervisors should deny Supervisor Delgaudio’s request to fund his fall newsletter. Additionally, the board should adopt an ethics policy modeled on that of San Antonio, TX, prohibiting “the use of public employees and city resources for political purposes, and [avoiding] any appearance of bias or favoritism in carrying out public policy.”
There is ample evidence, obtainable through the Virginia Freedom of Information Act, that Supervisor Delgaudio abuses his “newsletter” privilege. He produced five of them in 2012. In one instance he provides his campaign email address as the way to contact him as an elected county official. In another, he compiled a so-called “small mailing” that was sent only to a small subset of constituents. Who were they? Why did they receive this special correspondence? Who paid for staff to select the recipients?
The real purpose of the “newsletters” is clear: Every one contains a “survey” that is used to develop lists, and these lists are then used for political purposes. For example, during the Metro debate constituent emails were regularly forwarded to anti-Metro activists Dave LaRock and John Grigsby to assist them in orchestrating their campaign. Supervisor Delgaudio also used his government position to personally disparage pro-Metro constituents, in one case referring to a taxpaying citizen as an “English twit.”
Supervisor Delgaudio’s office spends more than $20,000 per year on these mailings, composed by a former county aide who currently heads an out-of-state lobbying group; that lobbying group in turn funded 2011 election robo-calls in Loudoun. Since the Board of Supervisors can’t monitor the content of Supervisor Delgaudio’s “newsletters,” and would be in effect blindly funding his political research, the answer to his request must be “denied.”
Jonathan Weintraub, Lovettsville