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Herring Is Reviewing Wilder's Unreported Gubernatorial Funds

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In July 2004, the State Board of Elections discovered that Wilder's gubernatorial campaign committee had failed to file a final report disclosing campaign finances. The previous report, filed Jan. 15, 1999, showed $172,571 remaining in the account.

Wilder's former campaign treasurer and son, Lawrence D. Wilder Jr., filed that January 1999 report. But in a letter to the Virginia State Board of Elections last year, he informed the state that he'd resigned as campaign treasurer.

Wilder's longtime campaign manager and former senior policy adviser Paul Goldman was named treasurer of the Wilder for Governor campaign sometime after Lawrence Wilder resigned.

In June 2005, Goldman wrote the Virginia State Board of Elections to inform officials that the "papers (sic) copies of these old bank records are no longer available. … Bottom line: No records relative to the actual disbursement of this money have been located."

In the letter, Goldman says all but $3,289 of the $172,571 that went unreported "went to Mr. Larry Wilder. He has told me so, as did his lawyer."

Because its powers are limited, the State Board of Elections forwards all campaign finance indiscretions that might warrant investigation to the Richmond Commonwealth Attorney's Office. It did just that with the Wilder campaign case in September.

The case was inherited by Michael Herring, who took office as commonwealth's attorney in January. Herring says his office is reviewing the case to determine if an investigation is needed, or if future charges might be warranted.

Herring says his office hasn't determined anything yet. But a campaign treasurer or manager of the account would likely be the target of an investigation — not the candidate.

"Odds are very, very low that a charge of any kind will come out against Doug Wilder," Herring says. "If there is a target of an investigation, it would not be him."

If charges or an investigation were to be pursued, which is unlikely, Herring says, a special prosecutor would probably take over to avoid a conflict of interest for his office. "I'd like to have it out here — out of my office — by midspring," he says. S

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