Gun owners forced a Virginia energy company to revoke this week a $200,000 donation to a political action committee running ads designed to suppress the Republican vote in the state’s gubernatorial election this November.
Accountability Virginia used that money to run social media ads attacking Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin for his supposed silence on Second Amendment issues. The ads were designed to trick viewers into thinking Accountability Virginia is a pro-gun group warning gun owners about Youngkin’s candidacy.
The Virginia Citizens Defense League, a pro-2A group that spearheaded the Second Amendment sanctuary movement, sent an email to supporters urging them to contact Dominion Energy and express disapproval of their donation.
“Let’s make sure Dominion Energy knows that gun owners in Virginia do NOT appreciate the company interfering with our right to self-defense,” VCDL President Phil Van Cleave wrote in an email obtained by GunsAmerica. “Let’s call them, email them, and protest at their office.”
The gambit worked. Van Cleave reported in a subsequent email that Dominion was “absolutely inundated… with unhappy calls and emails,” and the company announced later that morning that it had “failed to vet” Accountability Virginia’s actions.
“This weekend we were reminded that going above and beyond in transparency is necessary but not sufficient,” CEO Bob Blue said in an email to employees. “Although familiar with the Accountability Virginia PAC sponsors, we failed to vet sufficiently the scope of their intended activities. In as much, we have asked that our contributions be returned.”
The dishonest social media ads took advantage of an ongoing point of frustration in the pro-2A community in Virginia. Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin has failed to complete the VCDL’s candidate survey, so Van Cleave admits he’s unsure which policies Youngkin will support.
One of the social media ads claims “we can’t trust Glenn Youngkin on guns” while another urges voters to “tell him to tell us the truth about where he stands!”
Accountability Virginia is operated by prominent Democrats and accepts donations through Act Blue, a fundraising tool used by leftist nonprofits and other organizations. The ads are designed to suppress the vote for Youngkin in the hopes of bolstering his Democratic opponent, Terry McAuliffe.
While the National Rifle Association has remained silent on Youngkin, they’ve hammered McAuliffe for pursuing a radical anti-gun agenda. In addition, Youngkin has said repeatedly that he will defend gun rights “with every legal capacity that I have.”
“I so fundamentally disagree with President Biden — These Amendments are absolute!” he said on Twitter.
I’m a gun owner, I’m a lifetime member of the NRA, & I understand what it means to protect our right to keep & bear arms. As governor, I will defend that right with every legal capacity that I have. I so fundamentally disagree with President Biden — These Amendments are absolute! pic.twitter.com/zVoMLN7QBZ— Glenn Youngkin (@GlennYoungkin) April 21, 2021
I’m an unapologetic gun owner. My family & I like to hunt, we like to shoot, but most importantly, we have guns for protection. We have the right to keep & bear arms, & as your governor, I will defend that right. pic.twitter.com/67iPZEAr05— Glenn Youngkin (@GlennYoungkin) March 1, 2021
While Youngkin has failed to fill out his candidate survey, Van Cleave said in an email to supporters that “we DO know exactly what Terry McAuliffe will do because he has both told us what he will do and he has a record from his previous four years as governor.”
“Don’t use the Accountability Virginia PAC ads as a reason not to vote,” Van Cleave continued. “Be sure to vote for the candidates of your choice in the General Election. Your future and your rights are in your hands.”
Virginians will elect a new governor on November 2.