Ralph Northam caught with his pants down

A group called the Latino Victory Fund produced an attack ad on Ed Gillespie, the Republican candidate for governor of Virginia. A video featured a pickup truck with a Confederate flag and an Ed Gillespie bumper sticker attempting to run down minority children.

After a terrorist immigrant actually did run down innocent people in New York City, the Fund pulled the ad. It had been caught with its pants down.

Ralph Northam, Gillespie’s opponent was the intended beneficiary of the Fund’s ad. However, yesterday he told a Hampton Roads television station “that commercial did not come from our campaign, and it’s certainly not a commercial that I would have wanted to run.”

Now, though, NRO’s Alexandra DeSanctis tells us that Northam’s campaign reported an October 31 “in-kind” contribution of $62,729.60 from the Latino Victory PAC for “media. Under Virginia campaign law, in-kind contributions are defined, in essence, as expenditures coordinated with the campaign.

Here’s the statutory language:

To qualify as an in-kind contribution, the candidate or an agent of the candidate’s campaign committee must have either expressly requested or suggested to the person or committee that the expenditure be made, or the candidate or an agent of the candidate campaign committee must have material involvement in devising the strategy, content, means of dissemination, or timing of the expenditure.

If Northam’s campaign hadn’t coordinated with the Fund or had knowledge of the ad, the Fund would have been required to report the expenditure as an independent expenditure. But according to Phil Kerpen, president of American Commitment, “the Latino Victory Fund  . . . has not made any independent expenditures in Virginia and therefore has filed no campaign disclosures of their own.”

So let’s look back at Northam’s statement from yesterday disassociating himself from the ad. His statement that “the commercial didn’t come from our campaign” may technically be true, but it’s misleading. Based on Virginia law, Northam’s campaign must have either requested or suggested the ad or have been materially involved with it.

Northam’s statement that the ad is “certainly not a commercial that I would have wanted to run” seems flatly false. He must have wanted to run the ad because, again, his campaign either requested or suggested it or was materially involved with it.

Further evidence of the falsity of Northam’s claim can be found in the fact that, before the Uzbek terrorist drove his truck into a crowd, his campaign defended the ad. On Monday, the Washington Post reported:

A Northam campaign spokeswoman expressed no misgivings about the Latino Victory Fund ad.

“Independent groups are denouncing Ed Gillespie because he has run the most divisive, fear mongering campaign in modern history,” said Ofirah Yheskel. “It is not shocking that communities of color are scared of what his Trump-like policy positions mean for them.

In other words, Northam was in favor of the smear ad before he was against it. Just as he was for sanctuary cities before he was against them.