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.”