Former Consultant To Ousted GOP Rep Indicted On Election Fraud Charges

VIRGINIA BEACH, VA - SEPTEMBER 21: Republican candidate for Virginias second congressional district, Scott Taylor, knocks doors with the help of his campaign manager Regan Kirkby Monday, September 21, 2020 in Virgin... VIRGINIA BEACH, VA - SEPTEMBER 21: Republican candidate for Virginias second congressional district, Scott Taylor, knocks doors with the help of his campaign manager Regan Kirkby Monday, September 21, 2020 in Virginia Beach, Virginia. (Photo by Julia Rendleman for The Washington Post via Getty Images) MORE LESS
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June 28, 2021 4:27 p.m.

A political consultant for former Rep. Scott Taylor (R-VA) has been indicted on election fraud charges. 

According to an online court record, former Taylor consultant Rob Catron committed the offense in May 2018, the same year that Taylor’s campaign was engaged in a petition signature forgery scheme — an effort to split the Democratic vote by getting the 2016 Democratic nominee for the same office on the ballot as a third-party  candidate. A judge ultimately ruled that the third-party candidate, Shaun Brown, be removed from the ballot. 

After the signature forgery scheme was uncovered, Rep. Elaine Luria (D) went on to defeat Taylor in 2018, and again in 2020. 

It’s not clear what precisely Catron is accused of doing; the online court record merely references 24.2-1016, the law governing “willfully false” material statements made on election forms, categorized as election fraud.

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WAVY first reported the latest indictment on Saturday, followed by the Virginian-Pilot. Both outlets reported that Catron faces 10 counts of election fraud.

Catron told WAVY Saturday, “I have no idea what the evidence is, I never signed anything, and nothing new has been learned in nearly 3 years.”

Three Taylor campaign staffers who signed off on forgery-laden petition sheets have ended up in court in the fallout of the scandal: Heather Guillot, Roberta Marciano and Lauren Creekmore Peabody

All initially faced felony election fraud charges, which were reduced as part of plea agreement to one count each of misdemeanor willful neglect of election duties. The three staffers signed off on petition signature sheets for Brown that collectively included dozens of forged signatures, including several belonging to dead people. 

The Pilot reported that Catron began working for Taylor in 2013, when Taylor was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates. 

Taylor, an ex-Navy SEAL who was first elected to Congress in 2016, has consistently denied wrongdoing. But TPM reported in 2018 that the congressman personally called a local Democratic committee member who’d posted on Facebook about the forged signatures, pressuring her to remove the claim. 

The committee member, Lindsey Terry, later described the call to TPM: Taylor was “frantic” she said, and implicitly threatened a lawsuit from Guillot over the Facebook allegation. 

“He even told me he had somebody drive past Eileen’s old house, drive past my house, to verify that I was who I said I was,” Terry said, referring to a friend whose signature was among those forged.

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