Learning from the master of corrupt politics himself

Delgaudio’s youthful protege Donny Ferguson

NOTE: broken link to the PBS story below now fixed.

Donny Ferguson, former aide to as yet unindicted Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio (R-Sterling), is the subject of a fascinating investigative story by PBS Frontline showing how Donny has applied the lessons of dirty politics, smear campaigns, and dubiously legal fundraising pioneered by his mentor Delgaudio.

Donny, as many Loudoun residents know, is the mastermind of periodic sleazy robocalls which attempt to spread dirt on candidates just before an election. Because his “American Tradition Partnership” claims to be a “social welfare non-profit” organization, it is allowed only to “educate” voters on “issues,” not endorse candidates. It is illegal for such organizations to coordinate with campaigns.

During the supervisor elections in Loudoun last fall, Donny was however blatantly coordinating with the successful campaign of Geary Higgins (R-Catoctin), launching robocalls accusing Higgins’s opponent, Malcolm Baldwin, of all sorts of ridiculous fabricated charges, including once asserting that Baldwin had “in effect” told a “young mother” to “shut up” (the “in effect” was a nice touch) and was planning to tax home improvements and ban homeowners from putting a swing set in their yard.

(The “young mother” subsequently spoke to Baldwin and asked him for a Baldwin campaign sign, which she placed in her front yard.)

The full Frontline story is long but well worth reading; to summarize the highlights:

• A box of discarded documents contain ample evidence of Donny’s ATP coordinating with political candidates on smear-campaign mailers to voters in Montana.

• Donny sent to voters in Montana this October a phony “newspaper” which contained phony charges (involving sex, of course—Delgaudio’s favorite obsession, too) against the state’s Democratic attorney general. (The “newspaper” declared itself in its first issue to be the state’s “largest & most trusted news source.”)

• Once again continuing his penchant for total fabrication, Donny refers to himself in the fake newspaper as an “award-winning newspaper veteran” who has been “commended by other newspapers for his ‘honest, intelligent and issue-oriented’ approach.”

While working for Delgaudio as a county-paid staff aide, Donny was running his American Tradition pseudo-lobby political-money machine right out of the Loudoun County offices, which somehow no one ever held Delgaudio accountable for back then—although the county did subsequently, and as a direct result, spend untold thousands of dollars reconfiguring the supervisors’ offices so people could not just sneak in after hours (as Donny did).

Once again, it takes an outside investigation to reveal what Chairman Scott York (R), Commonwealth’s Attorney Jim Plowman (R),  Leesburg Today (R) and the Loudoun Times-Mirror (R) still can’t seem to find right under their noses regarding Loudoun’s most corrupt politician.

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