One of the frontrunners for the Republican nomination for Virginia governor is facing last-minute attacks as documents have surfaced indicating he worked for Democrats on multiple occasions.
Digital marketing pioneer Pete Snyder, a top-tier candidate going into a GOP primary convention on Saturday, earned more than $7,200 from the Democratic National Committee in 2000 for “media” and “media consulting” work, records indicate.
Snyder previously faced scrutiny because his company, New Media Strategies, took $140,000 from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in 2005 and 2006.
Former Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.), who ran the National Republican Congressional Committee from 1999 to 2003, told The Post that he’s outraged that Snyder was “working for the opposition” and that he’s concerned that he did so on multiple occasions.
“The company was Pete. I mean, Pete was the owner of the company, This wasn’t like a publicly held company or something like that. This was a closely held company,” Davis said.
“I’m surprised and disappointed that while I was working to deliver the Republicans a majority in 2000, he’s out there working, it looks like, for Al Gore and the Democrats.”
Davis added, “If you don’t have a high tolerance for hypocrisy, you probably don’t belong in politics. But this is kind of the height of it.”
Snyder’s defenders have argued his firm did relatively little work for the money from Democrats and that the company offered services such as monitoring discussion boards and tracking TV clips — tasks that seemed groundbreaking two decades ago but that are no longer impressive.
Snyder founded New Media Strategies in 1999 before selling it in 2007 to Meredith Corporation.
The company’s work included corporate, entertainment and political campaigns.
Most of the firm’s political clients were Republicans — among them Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.) and 2008 Republican presidential nominee John McCain.
But opponents in the governor’s race accuse Snyder of playing both sides of the political aisle as a businessman and question how he would act as governor. An unknown opponent set up the site twosidedsnyder.com to attack him on the issue.
Davis, whose wife ran against Snyder in 2013 for lieutenant governor, said he plans to support Kirk Cox, a former speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates, at the state convention — at which up to 53,000 registered participants will cast ranked-choice ballots from 39 locations across the state.
Cox has the endorsement of ex-Govs. George Allen and Bob McDonnell. But Snyder boasts the support of several Trump administration alums, including former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Ken Cuccinelli, a former Virginia attorney general who was acting deputy secretary of the US Department of Homeland Security.
Other top candidates include state Sen. Amanda Chase, who scored an endorsement from former President Donald Trump’s pardoned adviser Michael Flynn, and businessman Glenn Youngkin, a former co-CEO of the Carlyle Group, who has the support of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).
The funds from the DNC to Snyder’s firm are buried in lengthy PDF files on the Federal Election Commission website, which don’t specify what exactly Snyder did to earn the money. The firm received $3,630 on Oct. 27 and on Nov 28, 2000.
The older files are more difficult to search and went undiscovered for much of the campaign.
Snyder’s campaign spokesman Nathan Brand said the records should be seen in a broader context.
“This is the latest in a series of bogus and increasingly desperate attacks in the closing hours of a campaign that Pete Snyder is winning. Unlike his competitors, Pete Snyder has never donated to a Democrat or left-wing cause,” Brand said.
“In fact, Pete has donated more than $2 million to conservative candidates and causes in the last 25 years, and he will continue to build the party as the next Republican Governor of Virginia.”
Accusations of being too close to Democrats have hit other candidates in the race, including Youngkin, who donated $2,800 last year to Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, a New York Democrat who unsuccessfully sought to unseat self-declared socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who represents parts of the Bronx and Queens.
Both Youngkin and Snyder have been fingered as too close to Hillary Clinton — in Youngkin’s case, due to his former employer paying the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee, and in Snyder’s case, for saying he wanted to “hug” her and calling himself a “big Hillary fan” in the 2008 campaign.
In a recent interview with The Post, former New Media Strategies employee Ben Tribbett, a Democrat brought on board to help beef up left-leaning business, said that he thought public focus on the DSCC funds in particular was overblown due to the relatively unexciting political work that the firm performed at the time, such as monitoring political discussions happening online.
“It was all far less exciting than I think people would like it to be,” Tribbett said.