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New Filings Raise Questions About Bob Good’s Finances

Bob Good portrait behind microphone
Bob Good at a "God, Family, Guns" rally last December. (Crixell Matthews/VPM News)

New federal paperwork filed by Republican Congressional hopeful Bob Good shows he owned at least $250,000 in assets that have not previously been disclosed in similar state filings.

An amended financial disclosure form filed by Good on Monday shows he owned securities in various retirement accounts worth between $257,000 and $1.8 million as of November 30, 2019. It also showed between $30,000 and $100,000 in student loans to pay for his children’s college education.

None of those assets or debts appeared on a January 8, 2019 Statement of Economic Interest Good submitted to Virginia’s ethics board while serving on the Campbell County Board of Supervisors, or in any of his annual state filings since 2015.

Virginia law requires board of supervisors members to list any securities, debts, business interests, and real estate holdings (aside from a primary residence) valued at more than $5,000. They must also include assets owned by their immediate family. A “knowing violation” of the law can result in misdemeanor charges of up to one year in jail and/or a fine of $2,500, though several legal experts said that Good was unlikely to face any charges.

Good’s annual state disclosures have not noted any assets since 2015, when he listed three mutual funds worth at least $300,000. His campaign did not respond to repeated requests for comment. 

The former Liberty University athletics director is locked in a tight race against Democrat Cameron Webb in Virginia’s sprawling 5th Congressional District. They’re vying to replace Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-5th), whom Good unseated in a bitter nominating convention in June. 

Good submitted the amended federal form on Monday following media coverage of his initial disclosure, which listed no assets. Good and a handful of other mostly Republican candidates also missed a key deadline for filing state paperwork in June but were granted a reprieve by Virginia’s Board of Elections.

Virginia Election Commissioner Chris Piper referred questions to the Virginia Conflict of Interest and Ethics Advisory Council. The body’s executive director, Stewart Petoe, said that the council is not authorized to respond to press inquiries. The council checks forms for completeness but does not vet the accuracy.

Brett Kappel, a Washington D.C.-based elections attorney at Harmon Curran, said Good appeared to not fulfill the requirements of state law.

“Whether that’s inadvertance, or a mistake, or trying to deliberately hide those facts from the public is something that you can’t tell from the reports,” Kappel said.

While a local commonwealth’s attorney could theoretically investigate if they receive a complaint, former Democratic Attorney General Anthony Troy said he would be surprised to see any action.

“They’re not about to touch something like that,” Troy said. “It has political value only.” 

Good’s most recent filing included between $1,001 and $15,000 in stocks from Abbott Laboratories. It’s not clear when those stocks were purchased, but that question may have bearing on a potential conflict of interest; state code requires local officials to recuse themselves from votes where they have a financial interest. 

In July of 2016, Good voted alongside all but one member of the Board of Supervisors to give Abbott Labs a $567,000 incentive package to expand a facility in Altavista. Good spoke in favor of the deal, arguing the plant would result in an increase in revenue that the county could use to pay for other services. 

In a statement, Ben Young, Webb’s campaign manager, said Good should have revealed a fuller picture of his financial interests while serving on the board.

“It is unfortunate that Mr. Good chose to conceal this important information in the first place until after votes had already been cast,” Young said. “Voters deserve full information when they head to the polls and we are glad they have that now.”

Kyle Kondik, managing editor of the nonpartisan newsletter Sabato's Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia Center for Politics, said the disclosures could be fodder for a TV ad in a GOP-leaning district. The paperwork discrepancies also highlighted the risk Republican convention goers took when they unseated Riggleman, Kondik said.

“Sometimes when you have a new candidate emerge, there can be surprises along the way,” Kondik said. “Perhaps this is one of them.”

Ben Paviour covers courts and criminal justice for VPM News with a focus on accountability.
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