- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 24, 2014

Personal financial disclosures for the GOP candidates looking to secure a Northern Virginia congressional seat in this weekend’s firehouse primary have revealed more in some cases and less in others, with one candidate claiming tens of thousands of dollars in credit card debt and no indication that others have even turned in the required paperwork.

Candidates were required to submit the forms to the U.S. House Clerk’s Office 30 days prior to the April 26 contest to replace retiring Republican Rep. Frank R. Wolf in the 10th District.

Delays in submitting the forms are common, and candidates can file after the deadline if they acknowledge it and include a $200 late fee.

Among those who filed, retired U.S. Navy officer Howie Lind reported about $38,700 in salary from the Greenville, S.C.-based Fluor Corporation and $14,500 in fees from Howard R. Lind consulting last year.

Stephen Hollingshead received $27,500 last year for a “director’s fee” working for MERSCORP Holdings Inc., the parent company for a firm that facilitates the buying and selling of foreclosed properties through electronic filings.

Neither Mr. Lind nor Mr. Hollingshead listed any outstanding liabilities.

Barbara Comstock reported $34,000 for her House of Delegates salary and office expenses as well as $27,000 in “draws” from her consulting company, “Comstock Strategies.” She reported $118,722 in “spousal salary” for last year; her husband Elwyn Charles is an assistant principal at a Fairfax County high school.

She also disclosed three credit card debt amounts totaling between $40,002 and $115,000 since January 2013. Her forms indicate she has between $75,001 and $150,000 in outstanding student and “parent plus loans” taken out from American Education Services since 2006 and an outstanding loan between $15,001 and $50,000 against a retirement plan typically used by public school employees taken in 2010.

Mrs. Comstock told a Hampton Roads radio station Thursday that the loans are to pay for her only daughter’s upcoming wedding.

“Since I have my daughter’s wedding coming up, that’s where my loans are going to, so we are busy with that two weeks after the primary,” she said on the John Fredericks Show. “It’s really an exciting time. She was engaged last May, so fortunately we had most of it done before December when all of this started.”

The disclosure form lists two liabilities between $15,001 and $50,000 from Capital One Bank and Citi Cards, respectively, incurred in January 2013 and one liability between $10,000 and $15,000 from Apple Federal Credit Union incurred in January 2014.

Her campaign said Thursday the credit card information was accurate at the time of the filing, but the debts have since been reduced and that “some” of it “was connected with” the wedding. The campaign declined to provide details on how much the wedding cost or how much of the debt is still outstanding.

“Unlike a number of the other Republicans candidates, Delegate Comstock filed her financial disclosure information in a timely fashion and filed all the information required by law and did not request any extensions,” said Susan Falconer, Mrs. Comstock’s campaign manager, a reference to three candidates whose forms did not show up on the website of the U.S. House Clerk.

A treasurer for Marc Savitt’s campaign said he asked for and received an extension. An official listed as the treasurer for Robert Wasinger did not respond to a request for comment.

Delegate Robert G. Marshall declined to comment, though his personal financial disclosure filings for the House of Delegates indicate that he has been self-employed the last two years and worked as a consultant in 2013.

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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