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Virginia Beach Teachers' Association fined for breaking election law

The Virginia Department of Elections is fining the VBTA for failing to file ''Statement of Organization'' forms.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — The Virginia Department of Elections is fining the Virginia Beach Teachers' Association $500 for failing to file its "Statement of Organization."

The VBTA made its public organizational debut on Election Day in November, posting signs and flyers at polling places in support of conservative candidates. 

The move surprised the Virginia Beach Education Association and others, who said the VBTA didn't represent teachers or their interests.

VBTA leaders disagreed and said the organization was not misleading voters. 

13News Now previously reported on the investigation into the VBTA's violation of election law. VBTA founder Laura Hughes hung up when she was asked for more information about the late forms.

"We had something that we needed to file that we didn't know we needed to file and it's been rectified, that's it," Hughes said before hanging up during a follow-up question.

Campaign finance records show the VBTA received most of its contributions from Republican candidates and activists, including state Senator Bill Desteph and former school board candidate Robert Dean. 

Both DeSteph and Dean were endorsed on the VBTA signs, despite a disclaimer saying the signs "were not paid for by any candidate."

The Virginia Department of Elections letter informing Commonwealth's Attorney Colin Stolle of the fine says the VBTA failed to "file the statement of organization within 10 days of its organization, or within 10 days of anticipating that it will receive contributions or make expenditures exceeding $200."

The VBTA has until March 31 to pay the $500 penalty.

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