Local Dems Fined $18K for Convention Fundraising Misdeeds
City campaign regulators have had their hands full lately: Not only did the Office of Campaign Finance release its inquiry into Vincent Gray's affairs, but the agency also today issued a final order on the ongoing travails of the D.C. Democratic State Committee.
The local Democratic party organ has been under the OCF spyglass since questions were raised about members' fundraising efforts for the 2008 Democratic National Convention.
Several donations solicited for the event exceed maximums set forth in city regulations. Furthermore, convention fundraising disclosures were never filed with OCF—or any other oversight authority. The organizers of the convention account, including DCDSC chair Anita Bonds, say that the funds are not subject to OCF's oversight; the agency heartily disagrees.
What was already known from an audit report released in December was that OCF wanted the DCDSC to return some $37,000 in excess contributions to donors. What wasn't known was what sort of fines the agency might levy on the group.
Turns out OCF recommends a fine of $18,000—$2,000 each for seven excessive contributions, plus $4,000 in miscellaneous fines.
So the DCDSC, if the recommendation is upheld by the Board of Elections and Ethics, could be on the hook for about $55,000. The current DCDSC coffers contain less than half that.
At a December meeting, Bonds and other DCDSC officers pledged to appeal any recommendation to repay funds—to the Board of Elections and Ethics and in courts of law if necessary.