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Investigation Needed: Did Mayor Bowser Accept Illegal Contributions in 2014 Mayoral Campaign?

March 7, 2017

Investigation Needed: Did Mayor Bowser Accept Illegal Contributions in 2014 Mayoral Campaign?

More Than $30,000 in Contributions Appear to Be Over Legal Limit; Public Citizen Calls for Investigation

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The District of Columbia’s Office of Campaign Finance (OCF) needs to investigate 23 contributions that were made during D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s 2014 mayoral campaign and that appear to violate the campaign contribution limit, Public Citizen said in a complaint (PDF) sent today to OCF. Public Citizen also sent a letter (PDF) to Bowser.

According to OCF public records, it appears that there may be 23 contributions in excess of the legal limit of $2,000 made to the 2014 Bowser campaign. If the reports are correct, this amounts to $31,500 contributed over the legal limit from both individuals and corporations.

“The Office of Campaign Finance needs to get to the bottom of these contributions,” said Aquene Freechild, co-director of Public Citizen’s Democracy Is For People campaign. “The public records show illegal contributions. If this is due to sloppy reporting, it’s an egregious failure by the Bowser campaign and the Office of Campaign Finance. If it’s an abuse of the District’s campaign finance law, Bowser needs to be held accountable.”

After examining the public records, Public Citizen found that 40 percent of the donors of the excess contributions (individuals, corporations and one PAC) are affiliated with the real estate industry. Sixty-eight percent of the donors came from either the real estate, construction or health industries.

“Corporate interests have been dominating D.C. elections for years, and now it appears that some of these donations are illegal,” said Freechild. “These apparent abuses highlight both the need for more rigorous enforcement by the OCF and for meaningful reform. The District Council must pass fair elections and campaign finance reform legislation to clean up elections and bring more D.C. residents – not corporate influencers – into the election process.”

Read the letter to Bowser (PDF) and the OCF complaint (PDF).