State House candidate Trudy Berry fined

Published 10:45 am Thursday, October 10, 2019

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Democrat House of Delegates candidate Trudy Berry has been fined $50 for violating the state’s Stand by Your Ad law requiring candidates to identify who is funding their campaign literature.

A complaint that Berry’s website did not feature any campaign disclaimer was filed online by William Pace Aug. 26, information in the Board of Election’s information packet said.

The Virginia Board of Election’s decision to fine the campaign was made at its Tuesday, Sept. 17, meeting in Richmond. The minutes of that meeting with details about the fine were only recently made available.

In an email to the election board, Berry took responsibility and placed herself “at the mercy of the board” and asked for leniency in any decision it made.

“I apologize for my oversight,” she wrote. “As a first time candidate, I made myself aware of the election laws and regulations and referred to them often, but this particular disclosure requirement slipped by me. After I received your notification on Sept. 5, I immediately had the disclosure placed on each of my webpages. The following day, I sought help to ensure I had the disclosure worded properly, and changed it accordingly.”

Berry noted that throughout her campaign she has made sure her disclosure was on my business cards, literature, signs and newspaper ads.

“I did not design my website, but as the person accountable for its contents, I take responsibility for missing the disclosure detail when I approved it,” she noted. “I will review, again, the elections laws to try to preclude further violations.”

Because of the apology, Vice Chair John O’Bannon moved that the fine for the violation be only $50. The three-member board passed the motion unanimously.

Virginia’s 61st House of Delegates district represents Amelia, Cumberland, Mecklenburg, and Nottoway counties as well as part of Lunenburg County.

The seat is currently held by Republican Thomas C. Wright Jr.