Mike Webb, who’s running for the Republican congressional nomination in Virginia’s Eighth District, which includes Arlington, says a “targeted cyber attack” prevented him from filing his quarterly campaign finance report.
The Federal Election Commission sent Webb’s campaign a notice on April 22, stating that it had failed to file its April quarterly report.
“Failure to timely file this report may result in civil money penalties, an audit or other legal enforcement action,” the letter says. “The civil money penalty calculation for late reports does not include a grace period and begins on the day following the due date for the report.”
As of today, there was still no quarterly report for January through March 2016 on the FEC page for Webb’s campaign committee. A previously-filed financial report includes a note from Webb apologizing for it being late.
Webb’s campaign, meanwhile, said in a press release that it had not filed the April report due to technical difficulties it attributed to computer hackers. Here’s what the campaign said in the lengthy April 21 press release, one of more than 100 it has sent to local reporters since December.
… this morning, sources close to the campaign of Arlington resident Mike Webb, the putative front-runner in the Republican Party nomination race in Virginia’s 8th Congressional District disclosed that they have been the victim of what appears to have been a targeted cyber-attack.
Shortly before the filing deadline for the quarterly disclosure reports to the Federal Election Commission, the Webb campaign indicated that it began to experience glitches with the filing software, making it difficult to input information. However, on the deadline filing date, the software would just crash whenever the data file was loaded, thereby blocking access to all previously entered data. The Webb campaign indicated that it made several attempts to re-install the program, and to install the program on a separate computer, but the attempts to address and remedy the situation appeared to confirm that there was nothing wrong with the software, but rather that the data file had somehow been corrupted.
“The Webb team had no further comment this morning regarding the incident, but did indicate that they were continuing to work with the FEC on submitting the report and recovering the lost data,” the campaign itself said in a press release, before continuing on for two additional paragraphs.
Webb is running against environmental consultant Charles Hernick for the Republican nomination. A district convention will be held on May 7 to select a nominee. The winner will face long odds against incumbent Democratic Rep. Don Beyer in the fall.
While Webb has participated in Republican-sponsored events leading up to the convention, his campaign has adopted an outsider’s stance, often speaking out against the local GOP establishment. In a press release today, in fact, Webb said he has notified local police and the FBI about a persistent Twitter critic who goes by the monicker “GOP Establishment.”
Accusing the anonymous Twitter user of “extortion,” Webb claims that he gave law enforcement the name of “every potential suspect from the long list of establishment officials and Young Republicans.”
Webb, an Arlington resident, has been idiosyncratic in other aspects of his campaign, particularly on social media. On April 20 he posted an image wishing his supporters a “Happy 4/20.” On January 11 he accused ARLnow of “censorship” for our moderation of the comments section of a Dec. 23 article about his candidacy.