Any Merit to Bonds Ex-Staffer’s Complaint?
A few weeks ago, LL reported that a fired staffer for Councilmember Anita Bonds had filed a complaint with the Board of Ethics and Government Accountability over issues involving requests for her to work on Bonds' campaign. There's been no public movement from the ethics board since then, and Bonds' office says the complaints from the staffer, Cierra Robinson, are baseless.
LL filed a Freedom of Information Act request for copies of Bonds' D.C. Ccouncil emails to see if was any there there. Told of the pending FOIA request last week, Robinson directed LL to pay particular attention to staff meeting agendas written by Bonds' chief of staff, Charles Wilson.
LL got his FOIA back today, and guess what the D.C. Council's attorney, Dave Zvenyach, says is exempt from disclosure? The staff meeting agendas.
But emails LL got do show Wilson asking a subordinate Council staffer to do campaign work, which is hardly a capital crime but is worth reporting given Robinson's complaint.
When Bonds' legislative director, Brittney Madison, emails Wilson to say that she's planning to go to a Ward 7 ANC event in Bonds' place, Wilson emails: "Would you mind taking a petition with you to get more nominating signatures?" The email exchange took place on Jan. 15, about a week before candidates had to submit 3,000 valid signatures to qualify for the ballot in April's special election.
The emails were written on Council email accounts. According to the ethics board's ethics manual, city rules prohibit government resources from being used to support or oppose political campaigns. Bonds' spokesman, David Meadows, says, "We do not feel any violation took place" and adds that no Council staffer, including Robinson, was ever pressured to do campaign-related work.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery