Earlier this month, I joined a group of Ward 4 residents and elected officials in publishing an open letter asking our Councilmember, Brandon Todd, to follow DC campaign finance laws in his 2020 re-election campaign. You can read it and add your name here.
[UPDATE: AS OF JUNE 17, MORE THAN 150 RESIDENTS HAVE SIGNED ON]
The letter lays out quite clearly the reasons why we feel compelled to do this:
“In every election since CM Todd has joined the Council, including one in which he was not on the ballot, he has violated the city’s election laws.
- Following the 2015 special election, in which CM Todd secured his seat on the Council, the DC’s Office of Campaign Finance found him guilty of 6 counts of hiding the identities of campaign donors. The campaign accepted more than one hundred thousand dollars that it declined to explain to auditors. He was fined, $5,100.
- In 2016, when CM Todd stood for reelection his campaign failed to report addresses for 136 contributors who gave a total of $18,000. More than 1,200 of CM Todd’s 1,400 contributions were missing an employer or contributor address as required by law. The Washington Post found dozens of contributions over the $500 limit totaling more than $12,000.
- And, remarkably, in 2018, an election where CM Todd was not on the ballot, he violated the city’s election laws by misusing government resources to support a favored candidate in the special election for State Board of Education. The Office of Campaign Finance fined him $4,000 for this violation.”
We’re asking Councilmember Todd to commit himself to a higher standard in 2020. Again, from the letter, we’re asking him to:
- “Participate in DC’s Fair Elections program to demonstrate his commitment to raising funds from the constituents he serves rather than big money special interests and out of state corporations and PACs. Fair Elections is a program which allows candidates to opt-in to a system of public funding for their campaigns, where the amount of money they receive is based on how many contributions from DC residents they collect. Read more at www.dcfairelections.org”
- “Follow all applicable election laws, including the spirit of those laws. Given his past issues with campaign finance compliance, Councilmember Todd should go above and beyond the bare minimum and commit to run a truly transparent campaign that is a model of ethics and full disclosure.”
- “Commit to complete reporting of all campaign contributions before the 2020 election so that his constituents can check that he has reformed his behavior.”
As for me, I don’t intend to support any candidate, incumbent or otherwise, in any ward who doesn’t participate in Fair Elections. If you’re on board with this, you can sign on to this petition being circulated by grassroots organizations.