Virginia State Police confirmed on Thursday that is it conducting a criminal investigation of General Assembly candidate Mark Earley Jr., who moved in with his parents in Richmond to run for office and made an omission on an economic interest statement.
State police spokeswoman Corinne Geller confirmed the investigation to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, which first reported last month on the circumstances of Earley’s Republican bid in House District 68, held by Del. Dawn Adams, D-Richmond.
“The Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation’s Richmond Field Office initiated an investigation into a complaint concerning paperwork submitted by Mark Earley Jr. to the Virginia Conflict of Interest and Ethics Advisory Council,” Geller said in an email. “The investigation was initiated last week. Once the investigation is completed, state police will turn the findings over to the Commonwealth’s Attorney for review and adjudication of the matter.”
She said police would not release the complaint because of the ongoing investigation.
Earley campaign manager Asa Bryant said in a statement: “The Virginia State Police are simply doing their job, as they are obligated to look into complaints. We have every confidence that they will conclude that this was nothing more than an honest mistake that was immediately corrected.”
Earley, son of former Virginia Attorney General Mark Earley Sr., lived with his family on West 24th Street in Richmond’s Woodland Heights neighborhood.
That house is not in the 68th District. Earley Jr. told The Times-Dispatch he moved in with his parents in the Huguenot Farms area — which is in the district.
But on March 16, he signed a required form for candidates that asked if he owned any real estate valued at over $5,000 outside of his principal residence. He checked “no.”
Asked by The Times-Dispatch why he didn’t list the house he owns, Earley said he made a “paperwork mistake” and filed an amended form.
Earley is running for the GOP nomination in the June 8 primary against Mike Dickinson, a far-right candidate and former Democrat.
“Somebody brought this information to us,” Dickinson said, saying he shared it with state police.
“I don’t know how you’re a lawyer and you make an oversight on a form. … Everybody else that ran for office or is running for office this year apparently had no problem with it,” Dickinson said. “It even says on the form … right where it’s notarized, it is a felony to misrepresent things on here.”
Earley’s campaign manager said in the statement: “Mark’s opponent, a former Democrat congressional candidate with a questionable background, is desperately trying to get attention for himself by trying to smear Mark and turn a corrected paperwork error into something more. This is the gutter politics of personal attacks that voters are so tired of.”
The district includes parts of Richmond’s west side and parts of Chesterfield and Henrico counties.
Adams, first elected in the blue wave of 2017, faces a Democratic primary challenge June 8 from Kyle Elliott. The seat is one Republicans have hoped to flip.