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Freshour withdraws fundraiser, blasts TV report

SoVaNow.com / October 21, 2013
Commonwealth’s Attorney Michael Freshour, responding to a televised news segment on a prohibited raffle fundraiser conducted by his campaign, criticized the WSET-TV report as “full of conjecture but lacking in facts” after it aired.

The Lynchburg-based ABC affiliate reported Wednesday that Freshour had conducted a fundraising raffle for tickets to a Martinsville NASCAR race to raise money for his campaign for a full term as Commonwealth’s Attorney against challenger Tracey Quackenbush Martin. State code section 18.2-340.15 bars political organizations in Virginia, under any circumstance, from using raffles as a fundraising tool.

Freshour, in a written statement, acknowledged his campaign received donated truck race tickets and the campaign committee “decided to use the tickets to raise funds for the campaign. Last week, it came to my attention that the method my campaign was using may not be acceptable according to the Virginia State Board of Elections guidelines.

“I immediately made contact with the State Board of Elections and fully disclosed all details of my campaign’s efforts regarding the race tickets. The State Board of Elections informed me that the method my campaign was using did not fit within the Board’s guidelines for raising campaign funds and that my campaign would have to return any funds collected regarding the race tickets.”

Freshour said he and his campaign “fully cooperated with the State Board of Elections” and all funds are being returned to the persons who made donations.

He also said he has spoken to a representative of the State Board of Elections and “the Board is fully satisfied with the way in which I responded to this situation and indicated my campaign is in good standing.”

Freshour criticized the WSET-TV report for not mentioning “I made full disclosure to the State Board of Elections and fully cooperated with the Board to resolve the situation ….”

In an interview with WSET, Freshour said he “made a mistake” and “there was no intent to break the law,” according to a version of the story posted on station’s website, http://www.wset.com.

WSET further quoted Freshour as saying: “We saw that we made a mistake after we printed it and we decided to go ahead and give the tickets away, we will do that. But we are not going to keep the money, we are giving the money back.”

In his statement issued Thursday afternoon, Freshour criticized the tone of the WSET report and the way the interview had been handled.

“Yesterday afternoon, after more than an hour trying a case in Circuit Court, upon exiting the Courthouse, I was blocked by a person with a microphone followed by a cameraman. This person never approached me before hand and never indicated to me what the purpose of the questions were before filming,” Freshour stated in the release.

“Unfortunately, the ‘report’ filed by this person was full of conjecture but lacking in facts. As stated above, the State Board of Elections has indicated to me it is satisfied with the way in which I handled this situation and in fact, the situation was resolved prior to yesterday; none of this was included in the report that aired. Additionally, the fact that I made full disclosure to the State Board of Elections and fully cooperated with the Board to resolve the situation was also not part of the report.”

Reached via e-mail for comment, WSET president Randy Smith replied, “WSET fully stands by all aspects of that report.”

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Comments

Mike Freshour's air of superiority is evident in his blaming of WSET as the wrongdoer, and himself as the victim. He very clearly broke the law, what ever way people want to spin it. His "mistake" would be anyone else's crime. He should not be above the law that he so dearly claims to uphold. Convenient ignorance?

Comments

It sounds like Mr. Freshour is claiming ignorance of the law. I wonder if Mr. Freshour has ever been so generous and understanding and cut someone else a break who claimed ignorance of the law as a defense. The truth is that Mr. Freshour is just a victim of the same system that thousands of people fall prey to on a daily basis. The only difference is he promotes and enables that system. I once read if you recorded every law in this country in one book it would be over a million pages long. So please tell me how in the hell someone is supposed to remember over a million pages of law. The fact is no one can and with that many laws we all break at least one on a daily basis. Most people just don't realize it.

Comments

Sounds like someone on the other side tipped this to WSET, I would not trust wset as far as I could throw them, Freshour is the best canadiate, he has experience. When he found he made an error he called the state board, if they did not press charges, then no law was broken. Vote for FReshour

Comments

If there is no victim then how can you call it a crime?


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