Loose Lips

Score One for the Big Guy

Corporations rule! The Board of Elections has ruled that the good-government types who want to ban corporate giving in D.C. elections did not submit enough signatures to put the issue to a vote in November's election.

LL's waiting on the BOE for the official numbers, but on Twitter, Bob Summersgill says the ballot initiative backers, who go by D.C. Public Trust, are short 1,726 valid signatures. To get on the ballot, about 23,200  signatures are needed, with five wards contributing at least 5 percent of the signatures each. The D.C. Public Trust submitted more than 30,000 signatures, but several thousand were ruled invalid for a variety of reasons, including some 3,100 signers whose addresses did not line up with what's on the rolls at the BOE.

In a statement, the group says it will be reviewing the rejected signatures during the ten days it has to appeal the board's decision. “We remain confident that we have the valid number of signatures, and if we feel we have legal grounds we will ask the D.C. Superior Court to review the board’s determination,” says Bryan Weaver, one of the petition drive's organizers, in a statement.

A longstanding practice in city fundraising is for donors to use multiple LLCs to circumvent the maximum giving limits. An example of how the system works: Jeanne Clarke Harris, who recently pleaded guilty to being part of a straw donor scheme that helped Mayor Vince Gray's 2010 campaign, gave the Gray campaign a $2,000 personal check, them two $2,000 donations from two companies she controls. (Using her companies to make those donations wasn't illegal. Allegedly using city contractor Jeff Thompson's money to do it was.) D.C. Public Trust folks argued that those kind of loopholes gave deep-pocketed donors unfair advantages and create a culture of pay-to-play.

The effort got a chilly reception at the Wilson Building, where only Ward 6 Councilmartyr Saint Tommy Wells backed the idea. Still, the more than 20,000 valid signatures gathered by a volunteer force shows there's no small amount of support for the initiative.

  • @SamuelMoore

    Hooray democracy!

  • HomeSchooled

    suckas. this was a flawed initiative to begin with. if councilmartyr wells, dilbert aka erkel, and others has listened to reasonable ways to improve the proposal, it might had a better shot. all that blood, sweat, and tears for nuthin. suckas!

  • More Haters

    Thats what happens when newbies move into the city and think they can make things happen. Bwahahah if its not against the law then its all fair game. Which means unless your a HATED Incumbent, the only way you can honestly beat someone is by out-raising them.

    The same people who complained didnt sign the petition and the same people who complain about needing a change never vote!

    Human Beings ahahahaha you got to love them!!

  • Truth hurts

    Every person who signed the petition (and those who support it) should vote against every CM that opposes efforts to eliiminate corporate donations.

  • More Haters

    @TruthHurts fuck corporate donations, stop the politicians from mooching off the city as a part time job smh,.,.

  • MoonShine

    Tommy Wells is slippery than a greased pig in a shit pen.

    There ain't a corporate, tax give-a-way Tommy Southern Comfort Wells hasn't voted in support of, and then shameless joined the public bandwagon to denounce it.

    And, Wells gets away with it because he know voters will not check his voting record or watch him during council hearings lobbying for millions in tax breaks for his corporate donors.

    Wells is a true politician to the core.

  • truth hurts

    @ MH, I've long been ambivalent about CM's holding outside jobs. But DC's political culture is such a disgrace these days that I'd support banning outside employment, too. Hell, it's about time we require drug tests and polygraphs ... that'd wipe out most of the current crop.

  • ward 2+2

    Alright, back to business as usual. Corporate money is good money, let the good times roll.

    Pig Bowser had a big ol host committee for her birthday fundraising shindig even though she has no challenger for the general election. Oink Oink, ward 4......suckers!

  • teamtango

    the dc public trust principals' numerous failed attempts of policing local dc politics have earned their reputation as the keystone cops of kingmakers and ethics reform

  • more backers

    Just FYI for Suderman if he even reads these comments, both Mary Cheh and Kenyan McDuffie also backed the initiative.

    And actually @samuelmoore, this failure is a sign that our system of democracy in this city is flawed. When 3100+ registered voters who willingly signed the petition sheets are disqualified because they have moved and not updated their registration isn't very democratic at all.

  • Frank Lee Mahdear

    If we don't have enough signatures, then we'll just have to go out and get more next time. I guarantee there's more than 23,200 registered voters in DC who support draining the cesspool of corporate money in DC politics.