Loudoun Chamber CEO Reprimands Conservative PAC for Filming Debate

President and CEO of the Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce had sharp words for conservative political action group America Rising for posting video of the 10th Congressional District debate held Wednesday.

Tony Howard said the PAC recorded and posted footage of the debate between Republican Congresswoman Barbara Comstock and her challenger Democrat LuAnn Bennett on Twitter and its website, breaking the rules of the event agreed upon by both candidates.

“All audience members were warned, clearly and emphatically, at the beginning of event that the debate rules,” a press release sent this morning stated.

He had said at the start of the event that only credentialed members of the media would be allowed to record.

[See coverage of the debate here.]

“It is disgraceful that an audience member at a Loudoun Chamber event would disregard our reasonable request and brazenly produce and post this video,” Howard stated. “In the 17 years that I have managed Chamber-sponsored political debates and forums, this is the first time that anyone has ever so blatantly violated our rules and disrespected the Chamber, both candidates, their campaigns and all of our guests.”

The 10th Congressional District, which includes all of Loudoun County, is considered a political battleground, with Democratic party leaders counting it among the potential districts they could snatch back from Republicans.

Howard has attempted to contact the PAC through Twitter and its website, but has not received a reply.

He also stated in the press release: “The Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce prides itself on conducting even handed, issue-focused political debates and forums. We have consistently received praise from Democrats, Republicans, and Independents for establishing fair-minded rules that allow candidates to express their views on business issues, without fear that their words and images will be exploited for political gain. Fortunately, the vast majority of audience members – particularly both the Comstock and Bennett campaigns – demonstrated the respect and integrity to abide by our guidelines.”

dnadler@loudounnow.com
twitter.com/danielle_nadler

5 thoughts on “Loudoun Chamber CEO Reprimands Conservative PAC for Filming Debate

  • 2016-10-08 at 12:43 pm
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    Rules are rules — and once again, we see the GOP choosing to flaunt them.

  • 2016-10-08 at 11:03 am
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    Of course, the Chamber president’s claims are silly. After all, am I to believe he never noticed someone filming the whole debate from the audience. Of course he did. This is simply cover for future debates: tell the candidates there are rules, knowing they will be broken.

  • 2016-10-07 at 4:20 pm
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    TONY YOUR POSITION LACKS TRANSPARENCY IN AN OPEN FORUM AS PRACTICED AT THE NATIONAL LEVEL. NO RESTRICTIONS ON RECORDINGS .WE ARE ENTITLED TO KNOW THE CANDIDATES POSITIONS FOR INTELLIGENT VOTING You appear to be hiding the Democrats views on a partisan basis..

    • 2016-10-08 at 4:43 pm
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      I love you Norm, but you misunderstand the issue. Of course we are entitled to know the candidates positions, that’s why we scheduled the debate, invited the public and the media. Everyone who attended this debate complemented the issue-focused discussion that took place. Contrast that with the nonsense that passes for a presidential and vice presidential debates this year.

      What no one is entitled to is the opportunity to break the rules to exploit the event and the candidates involved to selectively use a small portion of the program to advance one political position over another. To do so, knowing very well that these are the rules the chamber and both campaigns have established, reflects a lack of character and integrity, attributes that used to be highly prized and still are at our Chamber.

      • 2016-10-08 at 7:43 pm
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        TonyHoward claims that “character and integrity” are still highly prized at the chamber. Then why does the chamber support open borders and a complete lack of immigration enforcement?

        Why did the chamber object to holding public information sessions on value-added metrics for schools, knowing that VDOE and LCSB had defrauded the federal gov’t out of $M’s by knowingly falsifying its NCLB waivers?

        The notion that Tony or his chamber are interested in anything but their own personal interests, regardless of how that affects our country or students, is simply not believable.

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