The Arlington County Police Department launched a criminal investigation Thursday against Patrick Moran, the 23-year-old son of Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va., following the release of a hidden camera video.
The Moran for Congress campaign released a statement saying it will cooperate with the investigation.
The incident involving Patrick was an unfortunate situation. While clearly lacking good judgment, Patrick's unsolicited interaction with a right wing political operative seeking to trap him in a damaging conversation did not constitute an unlawful action. We are confident this unwelcome chapter in the campaign will be quickly and favorably closed.
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The younger Moran resigned from his father's campaign Wednesday, hours after Project Veritas, an organization led by activist James O'Keefe, released a video showing an undercover operative pitching a voter-fraud plan to Patrick Moran Oct. 8.
The plan called for casting ballots in the name of 100 voters who were registered but rarely voted.
In the video, Patrick Moran, a field director for the campaign, expresses doubts about the plan but eventually tells the undercover volunteer to “look into it.”
He told News4 Wednesday that he denies the wrongdoing:
In reference to the "O'Keefe" video, at no point have I, or will I ever endorse any sort of illegal or unethical behavior. At no point did I take this person seriously. He struck me as being unstable and joking, and for only that reason did I humor him.
In hindsight, I should have immediately walked away, making it clear that there is no place in the electoral process for even the suggestion of illegal behavior, joking or not.
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.
Rep. Moran called it a learning experience for his son while questioning Project Veritas's action.
I don’t condone the actions of the right wing organization in question, but I recognize that this incident is teaching Patrick a tough lesson early in life. I know that my son's intention was to deflect the line of questioning by this trained political operative bent on goading him into a specific response. But the fact remains that the conversation drifted into discussions that reflected a serious error in judgment that Patrick wishes he could take back.
His uncle, Virginia Democratic Party Chairman Brian Moran, said Patrick is a good kid who made a mistake in this instance.
Rep. Moran's opponent, Col. Patrick Murrray, who is making a second, uphill campaign against Moran, denounced even a flirtation with voter fraud.
"For me here as a constiuent, as an American, as an Army veteran who spent 24 years in uniform, I'm concerned about the integrity of our elections, and I can tell you as the candidate running against him, I'm sure as hell concerned about the spectre of there being voter fraud," he said.
Moran has been in office for more than two decades. He represents Virginia's 8th District, which includes Alexandria, Falls Church, Arlington and portions of Fairfax County.
Earlier in the week, Rep. Moran and fellow Virginia congressmen Reps. Bobby Scott and Gerry Connolly sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder Tuesday asking the Justice Department to conduct a multi-state investigation into an incident involving a contractor who was charged last week with destroying voter registration materials.