Virginia Democratic Party Rejects Donation From Fairfax for Table at Fundraising Gala

Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax / Facebook
April 23, 2019

Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax (D.), who is facing two allegations of sexual assault, is being denied a table at the Democratic Party of Virginia's Blue Commonwealth Gala fundraiser in June.

Fairfax's team was ready to donate $2,500 from its political action committee to the Democratic Party of Virginia to reserve a table, but the party said it would not accept the donation, prompting Fairfax to push back through a statement from his spokeswoman, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

"The Lt. Governor's We Rise Together PAC was planning to have a group of African-American pastors and other supporters sit at his table. He is innocent and has passed two polygraphs and repeatedly called for an investigation," Fairfax's spokeswoman Lauren Burke said. "DPVA has assumed he is guilty of a violent criminal act with no investigation or even a conversation to ascertain his version of events."

"This is beyond comprehension for a state party claiming dedication 'to the preservation of all the rights enumerated in Article One of the Constitution of Virginia," Burke said. "That Article, of course, provides for due process of law. If the Lt. Governor can't receive due process from his own party how can we assume the average Virginian can?"

Democratic Party spokesman Jake Rubenstein said Fairfax will not be denied entry into the event if he has a ticket, but he noted it controls from whom it will take donations. Rubenstein told the Richmond Times-Dispatch in an email that "they were not comfortable" accepting contributions from Fairfax's PAC, adding the party "let his team know that when they reached out."

"We are evaluating the ongoing situation," he added in an interview later.

Fairfax has been accused by two women, Vanessa Tyson and Meredith Watson, of sexually assaulting them. Tyson, an associate professor of politics at Scripps College in Claremont, California, said Fairfax forced her to perform oral sex while they were in a Boston hotel room during the Democratic National Convention in 2004. Watson said Fairfax sexually assaulted her in 2000 while they were students at Duke University, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported.
Fairfax has denied both allegations.