Loose Lips

Wells Proposes Amendments to Campaign Finance Bill

The D.C. Council is set to vote tomorrow on Kenyan McDuffie’s government reform bill. But first, Tommy Wells says he'll be introducing three amendments aimed at beefing up the legislation.

“Right now, it’s easy for an incumbent to call organizations or companies that have business under us, either as a ward member or an at-large member, and to essentially shake businesses down,” he says. "So absolutely my amendments would impact that."

The first two amendments would prohibit corporations and companies with city contracts worth more than $1 million from giving any donations to political campaigns. Should those fail, Wells hopes that the third—which mandates that donors disclose whether they have contracts with the city—would at least increase transparency over contracting.

“[To the] people that have direct interest in the government doing things for them, and frankly large amounts of money at stake, it would just say, 'You shouldn’t be giving to candidates,'” Wells says.

Wells doesn't expect his amendments to make it into the final bill, but says they're an important symbolic gesture.

“I think it’s a process, and we keep at it and keep it in the minds of the residents and the voters,” he says.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

Comments

  1. #1

    The essence of Tommy Wells: symbolic gestures that go nowhere. Sorta like his political career.

  2. #2

    WHY THE MILLION DOLLAR THRESHOLD?
    LOOPHOLE ANYONE?

    IF YOU HAVE ANY CONTRACTS WITH THE DISTRICT THEN YOU SHOULD NOT WORK FOR, DO BUSINESS WITH OR RECEIVE ANY CAMPAIGN MONEY FROM SAID COMPANY THAT HAVE A STANDING CONTRACT WITH THE CITY.

    NO GRANDFATHER CLAUSE!!!
    GIVE ALL MONEY BACK AND SEVER ALL TIES.

    GET 'ER DONE.
    ONE CITY.

  3. #3

    Wells' proposals are superficial and unnecessary. Typical showboating. Each official is already required to disclose financial and other relationships with contractors. If they don't disclose this and recuse themselves on a vote, then they have an ethical conflict and problem. His bill is just another media attention-grab and does nothing to hold violators accountable for their ethical lapses.

  4. #4

    While reading this I found nothing in it that didn't make sense.

    Then I got to the end...*sigh*

    I'm hoping that Will grossly exaggerated Wells realizing that this wouldn't work and doing it for symbolic reasons.

    Outside of that, it's reasonable (like 100% accurate) to conclude that the "symbolism" is about positioning himself for mayor rather than crafting sound policy. the former helps HIM but the latter helps the CITY.

    What's up w/these "me, me, me" candidates and their vanity campaigns. Sheesh! Take a page out of Gray's (and Fenty for that matter) book, they didn't push a certain-to-be failed agenda just to make themselves look good.

  5. #5

    @John, I thought it was the oddest thing (not to already have disclosure req's). Isn't that why some have to recuse themselves from dealing w/certain issues?

    Oh...I thought this was Will. Who is Sarah?

  6. #6

    @ John Smith
    It sounds like maybe you don't actually track this stuff. Actually, campaign finance information is mostly accessible, but the Office of Contracting and Procurement makes it extremely difficult to track city contracts. In theory they say they provide transparency, but it doesn't seem like a very transparent system when there is no real-time information, and when there are no yearly data-sets available for any year since 2010. You would have to use a FOIA for that, which is time-consuming and may or may not work.

    So, no, it's not redundant, but maybe it would be better to legislate better disclosure on the OCP website.

  7. #7

    @SEis4ME

    Sarah is one of our hardworking WCP interns.

  8. #8

    After a 2nd read, I'm left wondering why shouldn't companies that do business w/the city donate to campaigns. I get the possible corruption angle. But they should be allowed to donate just as any other company. Makes little sense when we have CM's who work for companies that do business w/the city.

    @Will...ohhhhh...
    Well welcome Sarah the intern..you rock!

  9. #9

    Every contract awarded should be listed some where in the open regardless of size. And every bid should be listed some where where anybody can see it and bid. You will be surprised that UDC and DCPL do not put it in any open place other than their own website. So only selected contractors are contacted. Check the last 2 big bids and awards...

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