Rep. James P. Moran’s son Patrick resigned from his father’s campaign after being caught on camera earlier this month appearing to give advice on how to commit voter fraud to a conservative video journalist.
Project Veritas, the group headed by conservative activist James O’Keefe, circulated the video Wednesday.
Patrick Moran, who had been serving as field director for his father, a Virginia Democrat, said in a statement that he never took the person videotaping him seriously and was simply humoring him.
He said he would never endorse illegal or unethical behavior and should have just walked away.
“In regards to my position on the campaign, I have stepped down because I do not want to be a distraction during this year’s critical election,” he said.
The incident took place on Oct. 8 and began at a Cosi in Arlington.
The cameraman, who seems to be clearly worried about Mitt Romney being elected, indicates that he and a friend want to cast ballots for 100 people, prompting an “Ohhhhhh” from Patrick Moran. He later tells Mr. Moran that his friend “double-voted” in 2008, eliciting a laugh.
“He’ll need bills,” Mr. Moran later says. “He’ll need something with their name and their address on it. So if they just have the utility bill or bank statement — bank statement would obviously be tough, but they can fake a utility bill with ease, you know?”
“How would you do that?” the cameraman asks.
“I mean, I would just find, I don’t know, I guess” Mr. Moran says.
“Microsoft Word and type it up,” the cameraman says.
“Yeah, something like that,” Mr. Moran replies, adding that he thought the cameraman might be better served just working through a regular get-out-the-vote effort.
“[T]hat energy that you’d be putting in, and trying to make sure that it went through without a hitch, and the risk to your name — I feel like, plug it in and [go] to some underperforming districts,” he said.
Later in the video, Mr. Moran offers the suggestion to call the people first to make sure they haven’t already voted early, and potentially pose as a pollster to find out if they plan on voting.
“I respect your initiative,” Mr. Moran says later.
Mr. Moran’s father is an 11-term incumbent running against Republican and Army veteran Patrick Murray, who he defeated in 2010. In a statement, the Moran campaign describes Patrick Moran as well liked and a well-respected member of the campaign team.
“This incident, however, was clearly an error in judgment,” the statement reads. “The campaign has accepted Patrick’s resignation, effective immediately.”
Mr. Murray, meanwhile, said he was “very concerned” by the video. While wrongdoing was not explicitly clear, he hopes authorities would investigate.
“The integrity of our nation is at stake, and it appears that my opponent’s campaign seems prepared to undermine free and fair elections right here in Virginia,” Mr. Murray said.
The senior Mr. Moran, along with Democratic U.S. Reps. Gerald E. Connolly and Robert C. “Bobby” Scott of Virginia, wrote a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. on Tuesday asking him to investigate the activities of Strategic Allied Consulting and its subsidiary, Pinpoint. The company works with voter registration and is currently under investigation in Florida for 200 counts of potential voter registration fraud.