Vogel accused of foul play on campaign trail

A Virginia state senator has accused fellow Sen. Jill Holtzman Vogel, R-Upperville, of foul play and rumor mongering in the campaign for the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor.

In September, supporters of State Sen. Bryce E. Reeves, R-Spotsylvania, received an email from someone named Martha McDaniel who claimed that Reeves was engaging in an adulterous relationship with a campaign staffer.

Vogel and Reeves are in contention for the GOP nomination for lieutenant governor of Virginia, along with Del. Glenn R. Davis Jr., of Virginia Beach.

Reeves filed a defamation suit against McDaniels in Stafford County Circuit Court. But after he obtained a subpoena for information associated with McDaniel’s Gmail account, records provided by Reeves’ campaign staff traced the account back to Vogel’s IP address, her neighbor’s IP address, and her husband’s cellphone.

According to the records, McDaniel’s Gmail account, staffordforfreedom@gmail.com, was established using the cellphone number of Alex Vogel – Jill Vogel’s husband.

Additionally, after obtaining another subpoena for the IP addresses used to access the email account, records show IP addresses tied to the Vogels’ Upperville home and their neighbor’s home were used.

Pat Trueman, Vogel’s campaign manager, issued a statement denying the accusation.

“We certainly did not send, approve or authorize any anonymous communications,” he said. “We would never condone such tactics, nor would we permit a campaign employee or volunteer to do so on our behalf.”

According to Vogel’s neighbor, Lisa Gable, she and her husband share a high speed internet account with the Vogels to mitigate the cost of high-speed internet, a common cost-sharing method used in rural areas.

Gable said neither she nor her husband were in town at the end of September when the emails were accessed.

According to Sam Azzarelli, Reeves’ campaign communications director, forensics experts who analyzed the evidence have told them it’s unlikely anyone was hacked.

However, she said Reeves is open to working with Vogel to invite a third-party forensics expert in to analyze the Vogels’ electronic devices to determine if they were hacked. However, she is skeptical anything will come of it.

“All the evidence points in one direction,” Azzarelli said. “If the Vogels are willing to go through a mutually agreed upon third party to have their phones, computers, and electronic devices tested to determine if, and who, might have hacked into their cell phone, and multiple IP addresses, we will help fund it to find out if they were truly hacked.”

Vogel could not be reached for comment on whether or not she’s open to such an agreeement.

Along with serving in the legislature, Holtzman works as an attorney in Virginia and is a managing partner at her firm, which specializes in charity and nonprofit organizations, election law and ethics, according to her website.

Contact staff writer Jake Zuckerman at 540-465-5137 ext. 152, or jzuckerman@nvdaily.com