Should Bryce Reeves have brought the lawsuit that allegedly exposed Jill Vogel’s dirty tricks?

Should Bryce Reeves have brought the lawsuit that allegedly exposed Jill Vogel’s dirty tricks?
Jill Vogel and Bryce ReevesBob Brown/Times-Dispatch

Will this be a deterrent to dirty tricks in politics?

On the first of this month we reported on a defamation lawsuit filed by candidate for the Republican nomination for Lieutenant Governor, Sen. Bryce Reeves (R-Spotsylvania).  The lawsuit exposed his opponent for that office, Sen. Jill Vogel (R-Fauquier), and/or her husband, as likely having some involvement with an email sent under a false name accusing Reeves of having an affair with a campaign aide.  (Why when two attractive people work together do rumors start that they must be having an affair? Attractive people can’t possibly work together without a sexual relationship?) The story of the anonymous email has appeared in newspapers across the state and in the national news. 

It seems likely Reeves knew of the email’s origination point prior to his filing the lawsuit against the fictional author of the email, “Martha McDaniels.” Determining the IP address on an email isn’t rocket science. When it was determined the anonymous IP came from Upperville VA, Reeves must have suspected it came from the Vogel home. Who else in Upperville would have sent such an email?

Assuming that’s what happened, was Reeves right to continue the lawsuit?  Yes, he was.  The Roanoke Times agrees:

It’s an ugly mess, but perhaps a useful one: Maybe Reeves’ aggressive legal inquiry into just who sent this anonymous email will serve as a deterrent to future dirty tricksters. We can only hope.

Last summer, Sen. Vogel met with a group of Loudoun politicians and political activists to get their support for her campaign. In the meeting she promised to run a positive campaign and not stoop to political dirty tricks. Later in the meeting she said she had heard from others that her opponent was having an affair with his campaign manager.  Mind you, she wasn’t saying it, but others were.  Some of the those in the meeting left scratching their heads about the comment, wondering why Vogel shared such a rumor.  As one in attendance told me, “Politicians just don’t say things like that about their opponents…they might let others share such rumors, but they don’t do it. It was very strange.”  In how many other meetings did Vogel say the same thing? She clearly wanted people to know about the rumor.

In private meetings and phone calls, Vogel told activists she would never play dirty. Hers would always be an “upbeat, positive, campaign focused on issues.”  People believed her and endorsed her. Now many of those people feel they were lied to and they aren’t taking it well.  They feel duped and they are angry.

Political dirty tricks like this fake email should have no place in Virginia politics. Certainly not Republican politics! Granted, the Vogels have indicated vigorously they were not involved with sending any anonymous emails, but it seems highly unlikely they had nothing to do with the email in question because not only did the IP addresses match, but a phone belonging to Jill’s husband was apparently used to set up the fake email account.  It’s unlikely someone could hack the phone of Alex Vogel (without him ever having noticed), their IP address, and the IP address of their neighbor who shares a router with the Vogels–all simultaneously and without detection. (The neighbors were out of town when the anonymous email was sent and deny any involvement.)

If the Vogels didn’t send the email, that needs to be cleared up very soon because at this point almost no one believes the accusatory email was sent by anyone other than Jill or her husband.  She needs to find a way to turn this around as soon as possible. The Reeves team has agreed to help pay for a third-party forensic expert to investigate to determine if the Vogels were ‘hacked’ as they have suggested. More details on that here:

If the Vogels are innocent they need to agree to the Reeves campaign offer and hire a forensic expert. Their denials of wrongdoing are simply not enough.


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  • Jonathan Erickson

    Jill will enhance and say she did not mean a female member of Reeves staff. Nasty, dirty and bites her in the a$$! Can’t be proved without their equipment and has taken too long. Did she use bleachbit?

  • Connie S.

    Answer: yes, indeed! He owed it to his family and Virginians.

    • Franklin Fogle

      Agreed, especially since Vogel’s proved how readily she wishes to climb ladders. Should she become Virginia’s Lieutenant Governor, that disproves the old adage “Cheaters never prosper”, and there’d then be only six years before she can vie for the big chair. Quite honestly, I’m weary of liars climbing ladders.

  • Joel Grewe

    Agreed, I want courageous leaders! People of integrity who not only act rightly but will fight to defend their honor. I’ve had enough wimps in conservative politics.

  • Rocinante


  • Rocinante

    Political dirty tricks are shameful and reprehensible and should not be part of the political landscape.

    Getting caught demonstrates an ineptitude that should disqualify one from public office.

    “It’s not the crime, but the coverup…”

    • Eric McGrane

      Seriously. You can hide that crap for a couple dollars and 10 minutes of time.

  • Lee Pillsbury

    She seems to think if she just ignores it it will go away. It’s very disappointing. over a week now and all she has said is ” wasn’t me”. Not exactly a rigorous denial, AND the statement was written with so much wiggle room as to be semantically null. They denied sending an ” anonymous” email, it wasn’t anonymous, it said the ” Vogel’s” didn’t send the email,so if they didn’t send it together their statement is true? They need to come clean.

    • Rocinante

      Only 1st denial said ‘we didn’t do it’, 2nd denial said ‘we’re horrified and we’ll get to the bottom of this.’

      Then a ‘circulate my petition’ email went out.

      To paraphrase Joe Biden validating the Electoral totals: ‘It’s over’

  • Downstater

    Yes, he needed to file this lawsuit unless he really was having an affair, otherwise, it stands in the public forum.

  • Sbn

    short answer, yes, certainly want to see people be held accountable for this kind of crap but if he doesn’t follow through with the lawsuit, that will also at least be seen as nominally indicative and allow questions to linger

  • Tony Elar Jr.

    ask old poor Tate what they did to him!

  • Franklin Fogle

    Reeves was 100% justified in filing charges, and here’s why: This isn’t the first time Vogel employed ‘dirty tricks’ of this nature to win a GOP primary. Vogel denies any knowledge of such shenanigans, just as she did back in the 2007 primary when she vied against Mark Tate for the GOP nod to run for Virginia’s Senate.

    Acting as Vogel’s surrogate, one of her staffers filed phony criminal charges against Tate with Loudoun County’s Commonwealth Attorney James E. Plowman (R), who was (wait for it) a donor to Vogel’s campaign.

    Although Plowman had received this ‘evidence’ months earlier, he sat on the felony campaign finance fraud charges against Tate until three weeks before the primary, then made them public, and of course, Tate lost. However, just four months later, all charges of fraud against him were dismissed by a Circuit Court judge who cited “improprieties in the investigation” by Plowman.

    Tate didn’t sue, although he had ample grounds, so we’ll never know what ill could have befallen Vogel and her accomplices had he pursued legal action. In regards to Sen. Bryce Reeves, perhaps things may turn out differently for Vogel if he can prove that Vogel had
    knowledge of the email distribution. Judging by her past track record, I’ll lay odds that she does.

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