Roughly seven weeks from the 7th Congressional District primary, David Brat, a Henrico County resident challenging House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, for the Republican nomination, is asking the Republican Party of Virginia to probe the relationship between the party’s executive director, a consulting firm he was affiliated with, and work performed for Cantor’s campaign.
Shaun Kenney, who was tapped as executive director of the state party April 2, said Cantor was not one of his clients when he worked at K6 Consulting, and that he left the consulting business when he took over his new role at the party.
“RPV has its own needs and concerns and I’ve been focused on that,” he said.
In a letter to Republican Party of Virginia Chairman Pat Mullins, Brat asks for an independent investigation into the relationship between Kenney, K6 Consulting Group, Cantor and the state GOP.
He adds that “Even if there is no legal conflict of interest in this matter, I am sure you understand the gravity of the obvious appearance of a political and ethical conflict of interest.”
“This will not serve the party well if we want to build an inclusive, fair, broad-based organization. The party cannot be seen as being owned by any machine or clique.”
The call for an investigation is the latest development in a primary contest that is heating up.
Brat, who raised $89,610 from the beginning of the year through March 31, has made appearances on national conservative radio programs. Cantor ended the same period with more than $2 million on hand and has begun airing his first TV ad of the primary season.
Kenney co-founded K6 Consulting with his brother, Jason Kenney, according to the consulting group’s website. JR Hoeft, who joined K6 Consulting in January, said in an interview Thursday that the company is run by Melissa Kenney, Shaun Kenney’s wife, and that Cantor’s campaign is a client of Jason Kenney’s.
K6 Consulting Group LLC received $3,500 from Cantor’s campaign, according to the latest campaign finance report filed with the Federal Elections Commission.
Ray Allen, a campaign strategist for Cantor, noted that the Republican Party of Virginia is not running the 7th District primary.
“I would suggest that Mr. Brat take the tin foil out from around the brim of his hat because we’re in a state-run primary,” he said. “It’s Terry McAuliffe who is implementing this primary” and not the Republican Party of Virginia.