What’s really going on with Goode and “Eden’s Curve”?

Brian McNeill has a lengthy narrative of the state of the Perriello/Goode race here in the Fifth District in Friday’s issue, highlighting yesterday’s revelation that “Eden’s Curve” was promoted using Goode’s fax number. Goode says he will be interviewing his staffers in order to investigate how that happened, showing that he agrees that it’s tough for people not to connect the dots at this point.

Honestly, none of this makes much sense to me right now—I can’t know what’s going on in Goode’s office, or what his connection is to this film. But it’s no longer possible to escape the conclusion that Goode’s office—and quite likely Goode—were involved in the making of the movie. But I can’t see how the existing information forms an overall picture. Either this is the tip of an iceberg, or we’re simply missing some central element that would allow these data to be tied together.

I’m reminded of when Bob McDonnell, running for AG, took in $2M in secret contributions, funneled through a federal Republican leadership committee. My guess was that he was taking in money from gambling interests, cigarette makers, drug companies, and oil companies, but didn’t want that to be public knowledge. McDonnell attacked me for saying that there was anything inappropriate about the arrangement, telling a radio audience that I was part of a “grand conspiracy,” and, as a blogger, inherently useless and unreliable. When those contributions were made public, a month after McDonnell was sworn in as AG, it turned out that he had, in fact, gotten his money from gambling interests, cigarette makers, drug companies, and oil companies. It was during that year’s General Assembly session that Chris Jones’ HB291 passed, specifically to prohibit any further behavior like McDonnell’s. If memory serves, McDonnell supported the bill, thus implicitly rebuking himself.

The point is that sometimes the simplest reason that a politician is doing something sneaky is, in fact, why they’re doing it. Sure, I could have come up with a theory involving “Chinese organ thieves, a child-sex ring, and prostitution,” but the truth was a bit more obvious, in retrospect.

What’s Goode’s deal? The explanation that strikes me as the most likely one, which inherently involves some assumptions, is that Goode was involved in the making of the film, maybe for all of the right reasons. The film industry has an intoxicating effect on people. It’s such a part of the American mythos that even seasoned politicians can find themselves swept off their feet, basking in the proximity to and possibility of fame and fortune. With a significant film being made in his town by friends, it would be quite an internal struggle to avoid visiting the set, meeting some actors, and catching a bit of the glitz. So he did it, he got involved, he liked it…but a few years later, the shine has worn off, the perceived possibility of embarrassment has set in. Perhaps he thinks his base will reject him if they think he had anything to do with a film that acknowledges the existence of homosexuality, or perhaps he finds it personally distasteful, in retrospect. He’s ashamed.

That’s my guess. Goode’s “investigating,” so maybe he has some guesses of his own. What’s yours?

Published by Waldo Jaquith

Waldo Jaquith (JAKE-with) is an open government technologist who lives near Char­lottes­­ville, VA, USA. more »

8 replies on “What’s really going on with Goode and “Eden’s Curve”?”

  1. Waldo — I have absolutely no inside scoop, but I find it easier to connect the dots to form a picture of Goode having no control of his staff, of his staff in Danville doing whatever they wanted to do while the boss was in Washington. Lucy and Duncan told him that the theater needed money, but the timing is not clear to me as being for production of the movie. It is possible that some of the $150,000 went to distribution efforts, but I kind of doubt it.

    Of interest to me has been that the Danville paper has been full of stories in the last few days of the North Theatre laying off all paid employees, and of the Theatre getting some matching fundraising grant, etc. Meanwhile, I read two weeks ago that Linwood Duncan was on the Board; as of Monday, he was no longer on the Board of the theater.

    Of even more interest to me is that Virgil seems to be genuinely worried about this story. I assume that he announced the week before the election that Linwood Duncan had resigned because he felt that it was necessary to disassociate himself from his long-time aide. I mean, if the only reason for his departure was illness, Goode could have just announced it the day after the election, and no one would have raised an eyebrow. Then the bit about the fax number, which actually was known a couple of weeks ago also, but had gotten lost in the shuffle…

    Why would Virgil have an investigation of this now? I have to assume that it’s hurting him down there.

  2. I think cvillelaw is right — the most likely culprit in this is the press secretary, who had a part in the film. I can take the $150,000 earmark on face value; Goode was likely currying favor in Danville by throwing some funds toward a community asset. I doubt it was related to the film, unless it was through the press secretary’s connection to the theater owners that the theater requested the earmark, which would also make sense.

    I’m not sure Goode is guilty of anything here, other than not giving his press secretary enough work to keep him from working on film publicity from the office.

  3. A review of the financial documents of the North Theatre leave more questions to be asked: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2008/10/17/113934/31/110/587734

    Essentially here are the main points from this:
    1. Goode had secured the earmark for the North Theater in 2003 (this is the same year when Meadors was promoting his film around the country and abroad, a likely known fact for board members and friends)

    2. Both Lucy Goode and Linwood Duncan were on the board at this time

    3. Both of their names were omitted from the organizations Form 990s for two consecutive years.

    4. Roy Gignac was and still is a major funder of Goode and may have deliberately omitted their names to protect the special interests of all involved.

    5. As of last week, not only did Duncan leave his position in Goode’s office, his name was removed from the North Theatre’s list of board members.

  4. Putting a $150,000 earmark for a theater in an appropriations bill for the Department of Veterans Affairs? That’s how Virgil Goode shows respect for our Veterans?

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