Loose Lips

Loose Lips Daily: Bundle Up Edition

A deliberative roundup of one city's local politics. Send your tips, releases, stories, events, etc. to lips@washingtoncitypaper.com. And get LL Daily sent straight to your inbox every morning!

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Good morning sweet readers! Word on the street is that City Paper's holiday party was better than the D.C. Council's holiday party. That's the word on the street, anyway. News time.

Bundle Up: The other day when they were discussing proposed ethics reforms, some councilmembers pretended like they didn't really get this whole "campaign donation bundling" idea. The idea is pretty simple: A single company uses multiple LLCs to get around donation caps. If councilmembers are still confused, which they are not, they can benefit from WAMU's hard work. The station put together a list of the recent campaign bundling and found that  "there were 75 cases of contributions coming from multiple corporate entities that share the same address. In many examples, it was just two companies. In a few there were as many as eight, ten, even 12 companies all listing the same address that contributed to a councilmember's campaign committee. But in practically every case, the contribution was for the maximum limit: $1,000 for an at-large seat, and $500 for a specific ward's seat. That's notable, because a person controlling all these companies could theoretically donate eight, ten, or 12 times the contribution limit to a single candidate." Also worth noting is that the only people bothering to bundle are those who want a piece of the District's honey pot. Says Ward 6 Councilmartyr Saint Tommy Wells, who can't get another colleague to even talk about this issue, "I really don't believe the majority of my colleagues realize there is a crisis in confidence and I think they are doing their best to not change the political world for themselves."

AFTER THE JUMP: Security!; Show Us Your Payment Plan; Gray to Feds: Pay Up...

But Who Would Want To Bomb The Wilson Building?: If you felt like there's no way anyone could ever smuggle a cellphone bomb through security at the Wilson Building, you need to reassess your feelings. The Post reports that undercover cops and recruits snuck simulated explosives past the guards. "District law enforcement officials caution it’s routine for agencies to uncover occasional lapses in security plans. The penetration rate of suspected weapons in D.C. government buildings, they say, is no higher than it is on undercover operations to test airline security." Great. Have a nice flight.

All Your Debts Are Belong To Us: The Post editorial page does not like one bit Ward 5 Councilmember Harry Thomas Jr.'s bid to keep the terms of his settlement with the U.S. government over old student loans private. “'There is no need for public access to these amounts . . . the Defendant, who is the only party affected by the disclosure[,] objects to the disclosure,' reads the motion by attorney Frederick D. Cooke Jr. Excuse us, but the last time we checked, the monies Mr. Thomas (D-Ward 5) borrowed in the early 1980s were guaranteed by the U.S. government. This was no private arrangement. His failure to repay is a matter of interest to the taxpayers who foot the bill." LL has no idea why would Thomas want to keep the settlement private. It's just a payment plan, right?

In Other News:

  • Mayor Vince Gray says the feds should help with Occupy DC related costs. Speaking of feds, another possible shutdown was averted. 
  • Anthony Williams' former aide Max Brown summarizes his old boss' ideas on how to make District government work better.
  • Councilmembers David Catania and Mary Cheh's radical idea: that city contractors that benefited from being CBEs actually hire District employees.
  • Ward 8 Councilmember Marion Barry: new tax lien a result of poor communication.

Gray sked: 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.: 11th Street Freeway Bridge Project Ribbon Cutting; 12:50 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.: D.C. Chamber of Commerce Reception for South Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit; 3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.: Rita B. Bright Center Ribbon Cutting.

Council sked: Finance committee markup at 1 p.m.; Winter plan for homeless discussion at 4 p.m.

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