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.