On Sunday, the Daily Progress newspaper reported on the financial history of Jeff Clark, candidate for Congress from the 5th Congressional District. The revelations sounded like a history of almost anyone who has had debts, including medical, and tried to handle them. It was revealed in the article that Clark had declared bankruptcy at one point due to large debts, including mounting medical debt from serious health problems in the past.
Last evening, Brian McNeil of the Daily Progress reported that Clark has offered to drop out of the Congressional race if the person or persons that leaked this information to the press would come forward. He outlined conditions which would need to be met if he was to drop out of the race.
In order to drop out, Clark said, certain conditions must first be met. The person or persons who tipped off the media, he said, must reveal themselves, must say how they came in possession of the documents, disclose if they were compensated, reveal any political or campaign affiliation and say on whose behalf they gathered the information.
Clark said that in the interest of complete transparency, it would be worth it to drop out if the conditions are met.
Mark Lloyd, chair of the Lynchburg Tea Party, met with Clark a month ago in a restaurant in Lynchburg and told him he should drop out due to this information. At the time, Lloyd knew only of Clark’s bankruptcy, but not the other information.
In an interview, Lloyd said he knew about only Clark’s Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing in 1993 and didn’t realize Clark had such an extensive paper trail of unpaid medical bills and other expenses.
“I told Jeff that I had a person that basically found this out from a public records thing,” said Lloyd. “The only thing I knew about was the bankruptcy … I told him if he didn’t drop out, then this would come out.”
Lloyd, who said he was tipped off by a Lynchburg Tea Party member who wishes to remain anonymous, said he wasn’t trying to blackmail Clark into dropping out. He said he was merely warning Clark that running for office means that he will be vetted in public and his financial history would inevitably come out.
“There is no grand conspiracy,” Lloyd said. “There’s really no ‘there’ there.”
Clark, however, said it was quite clear that Lloyd was leaning on him to drop out.
“The whole point of the conversation was to try to get me to drop out,” Clark said. “He specifically told me, ‘This information doesn’t have to come out.’”
Campaign spokesmen for Perriello and Hurt both declined to comment Monday.
Obviously, this would change the dynamics of the race significantly.