Halifax Co Commonwealth's Attorney Didn't Follow Election Rules
Halifax Co., VA - The Halifax County's Commonwealth's Attorney has abandoned a fund-raising campaign over legal concerns.
Michael Freshour had been using a raffle to raise cash for his campaign for two or three weeks.
It is very clear that the State Board of Elections does not allow the practice, however.
ABC 13 asked Freshour Wednesday if he thinks he could be facing some serious consequences.
"You don't think you should have checked into it first?" ABC 13 asked Freshour.
"Well, we were, like I said, we simply made a mistake. There was no intent to break the law," Freshour replied.
Freshour says his campaign raffle raised up to $200 in ticket profits. Each ticket cost $5, with the winner getting tickets to the Martinsville Speedway for the Kroger 200. He says he checked in with the State Board of Elections after the raffle was well underway and realized it was a "no-no".
"You are the Commonwealth's Attorney, shouldn't you be familiar with all of the laws?" ABC 13 asked Freshour.
"Well, yeah. We saw that we made a mistake after we printed it and we decided to go ahead and give the tickets away, we will do that. But we are not going to keep the money, we are giving the money back," Freshour said. "We realized that after talking to the State Board of Elections and so we are not holding a raffle."
Not only does it clearly say in the State Board of Elections guidelines that you can't use a raffle for fundraising, Charitable Gaming also has many restrictions on raffles. ABC 13 checked, and Freshour never received a permit from them."
"Do you think it is appropriate to use gambling as part of your campaign fundraising?" ABC 13 asked.
"I think I've actually answered the questions. Raffles happen all the time, we do them at non-profits. I'm not running a campaign for profit so it's one of those situations where we made a mistake."
Now, Freshour is working to correct the mistake. The charitable gaming statute says the penalty for someone guilty of not following proper procedures of raffles could be facing multiple Class 1 Misdemeanors and even grand larceny charges.