Former Mayor Bill Euille denies campaign rumors

Former Mayor Bill Euille denies campaign rumors

By Erich Wagner (File photo)

Former Mayor Bill Euille denied rumors Wednesday that he was considering another bid for public office, sparked last week by the filing of an updated campaign finance form.

Alexandria’s community of political insiders and observers were abuzz with speculation after neighborhood blog Red Brick Town posted an amended Statement of Organization form filed with the Virginia State Board of Elections in July for the former mayor’s campaign committee, Friends of Bill Euille.

But Euille, who served four terms as mayor before losing to Mayor Allison Silberberg in the 2015 Democratic primary, and others who worked on his unsuccessful reelection campaign said the filing reflects a technical change so he can raise money to help other Democratic candidates win elections in D.C. and Richmond.

“After an election, you can leave your campaign committee and fund open for an indefinite period of time,” Euille said. “I probably will continue to fundraise as I support other candidates, since we have the presidential and then a number of regional campaigns already underway.

“Just because I’m no longer in office doesn’t mean I’m required to close the account. … I decided I wanted to keep it open for fundraising purposes to assist other candidates.”

Eric Williams, who served as chairman of Euille’s 2015 reelection campaign both in the Democratic primary and during the former mayor’s failed write-in bid in the general election, said filing new paperwork under the current election cycle was required by state law because Friends of Bill Euille switched its fundraising and expense tracking software from NGP- VAN, for which candidates pay a monthly fee, to the free software offered by the State Board of Elections.

“Whenever you’re switching systems like that, you have to amend your statement of organization,” Williams said. “NGP-VAN was very costly, and since we’re not running a campaign anymore, there’s not much expense tracking and therefore no need to be paying a monthly fee to that software company.

“We only amended the current form to update our information with the state as required by law. Because [mayor] is the office that is up for election in [the 2018 cycle], it has to be noted on the candidate filing.”

City Councilor Paul Smedberg confirmed that even the slightest change to an official or ex-candidate’s campaign requires a complete resubmission of the Statement of Organization form, in accordance to state campaign finance laws.

“They’ve made it now such that if you change something, like if you changed something as minor as the bank account, you can’t just change the one thing [on the form],” Smedberg said. “They make you fill out the entire thing again.”

And City Councilor John Chapman said he has had discussions with Euille about organizing fundraising efforts for Democratic candidates in statewide races, both for lieutenant governor and the possible opening in the U.S. Senate, if former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D) and U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine (D) win the presidential and vice presidential races in November.

“We’ve been in talks to do some fundraisers for state candidates. And if [Euille] were to raise money for any of those candidates — if Euille were the mechanism for donations — he could only do it through a [political action committee] or a campaign committee,” Chapman said. “Because he’s a candidate, it’s much easier to use that existing campaign infrastructure. There’s no need to start a PAC when you can just roll your committee over from the previous cycle.”

Asked about whether he plans for running for public office again, Euille sought to refute any rumors.

“I have no plans right now to do anything,” he said. “But [with the software change], we have to file unless we close it out.”