Loose Lips

Lanny Davis: Leave Vince Gray Alone

Vince Gray has spent the days following Jeff Thompson's guilty plea doing reputation damage control. Now he's getting some help from an unlikely source: crisis manager Lanny Davis.

Since working as Bill Clinton's special counsel in the 1990s, Davis has lent his talents to such luminaries as Penn State University amid the Jerry Sandusky scandal and various African dictators. (He also helped Pigskins owner Dan Snyder in a failed lawsuit against Washington City Paper.)

Now Davis is doing some unofficial stumping for Gray, writing in his column in The Hill that he thinks the mayor is getting mistreated by U.S. Attorney Ron Machen and the media. "Mayor Vincent Gray deserves the presumption of innocence," Davis writes. "It is only fair. It is—it must be—the American way."

While LL's reaction to a supportive column from Davis would be to run the other way, Team Gray loves it. Gray's campaign sent out a press release with the article, then emailed supporters a link so they could see Davis "rising to the defense of Mayor Gray."

Davis, who contributed $1,000 to Gray's campaign in December, won't be getting that money back for his efforts. Gray campaign head Chuck Thies says the campaign hasn't hired Davis.

"Why would we need crisis management?" Thies emails LL.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

  • GrayIsWhite

    I agree, leave him alone since he is the whitest mayor since homerule. He has a white chief of staff, white asian city administrator, white police chief and joined a white fraternity at GW. The wp and cp should be happy with mayor gray.

  • http://citypaper Tony

    Lanny Davis is a spineless person. Stay with that Hannity boy.

  • Miss Lu Lu Hogg

    To: All

    There's a live mayoral debate on News Channel 8 tonight at 7 p.m.

    Verizon Fios customers, that's Channel 508.

  • Tbonebullets

    One of Lanny Davis's mainstay clients, one H.R. Clinton, was also a recipient of dirty Thompson money. So, if Gray is held to an exacting ethical standard, then...who else should be, too???

    Politicians like to stand on the side of the ethical/legal line that suits them on any given moment. We've sunk so low that if a politician "hasn't broken any laws," then they are suitable to be elected. Age of consent, blood alcohol level, just a little pregnant,...the examples of "walking the line" go on and on.

  • schoolman

    Davis' comments are downright silly. Gray is running for
    public office and voters are required to rely upon whatever information is at its disposal to determine his suitability to hold the office.

    Given the prior admissions of guilt by former campaign operatives, the S. Brown disclosures and the latest Jeff Thompson testimony, it is impractical to expect voters not to have legitimate concerns and to seek and desire a final resolution regarding Gray.

  • dan

    Unfortunately, if you are black you are guilty until you prove that you are innocent. If you are white, you are innocent until a court proves you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

  • drez

    Just another buzzard circling.

  • Carl tightrope feratu

    Mayor Gray is getting this treatment from media and DOJ, because he is black. He represents the native Washingtonians, who built this city and that angers the WP all white editorial board.

  • Abominable Dr. Phibes

    Creep, that's all I have to say about Lanny (who would sell his ma for nickel).

  • WenWard68

    Wow...now it has to be "doing some unofficial stumping for Gray, writing in his column in The Hill that he thinks the mayor is getting mistreated by U.S. Attorney Ron Machen and the media. "Mayor Vincent Gray deserves the presumption of innocence," Davis writes. "It is only fair. It is—it must be—the American way."

    We did not write these rules "you all's" founding fathers wrote them. We weren't even considered a "person" at the time so they were NOT written for people of color. So now that we would like to be treated the same "under your law" somehow that is outrageous or unacceptable.

    Again, EVERYONE involved with Jeffrey Thompson (admitted criminal) can state they ALL knew NOTHING and it be commonly accepted except Mayor Gray. I mean let's get real, where would this pass the "without a reasonable doubt" rule of law. And the biggest power player of all who's campaign received $608,000.00 herself, Ms. Hillary Clinton/Secretary of State/Presidential nominee and her bag man (oh, I mean campaign manager) Terry McAuliffe, 72nd Governor of Virginia, sworn in January 2014 has amnesia as well but that is BELIEVABLE and QWHITE alright!!!

    Give me a break...people of color, i.e., African American's and especially our men have always known that their is NO JUSTICE FOR ALL, it is Just Us. We need to be 200x's better qualified and 200x's innocent before we can even begin to be belied but all this white woman has to say is that is she knew nothing about it and it is all good. SUPPOSEDLY the same criminal mastermind (Jeff Thompson), the same amount of money and the same practice of gaining access, but Mrs. Clinton and all that Clinton power knew nothing.

    Another Example of the Double-standard that Mayor Gray is laboring under:
    FBI blocked in corruption probe involving Sens. Reid, Lee
    Agents quietly working with Utah prosecutors to make case in DOJ absence

    By John Solomon

    The Washington Times

    Thursday, March 13, 2014

    FBI agents working alongside Utah state prosecutors in a wide-ranging corruption investigation have uncovered accusations of wrongdoing by two of the U.S. Senate's most prominent figures — Majority Leader Harry Reid and rising Republican Sen. Mike Lee — but the Justice Department has thwarted their bid to launch a full federal investigation.
    The probe, conducted by one Republican and one Democratic state prosecutor in Utah, has received accusations from an indicted businessman and political donor, interviewed other witnesses and gathered preliminary evidence such as financial records, Congressional Record statements and photographs that corroborate some aspects of the accusations, officials have told The Washington Times and ABC News.

    But the Justice Department's public integrity section — which normally handles corruption cases involving elected figures — rejected FBI agents' bid to use a federal grand jury and subpoenas to determine whether the accusations are true and whether any federal crimes were committed by state and federal officials.

    The information involving Mr. Reid and Mr. Lee is not fully developed but centers on two primary issues:

    • whether both or either politician sought or received money or other benefits from donors and/or fund-raisers in connection with doing political favors or taking official actions;

    • whether Mr. Lee provided accurate information when he bought, then sold a Utah home for a big loss to a campaign contributor and federal contractor, leaving his mortgage bank to absorb large losses.

    "There are allegations, but they are very serious allegations and they need to be looked at by somebody," Sim Gill, a Democrat who is the elected chief prosecutor in Salt Lake County, told The Washington Times. "If true, or even if asserted, they truly should be investigated and put to rest, or be confirmed."

    Spokesmen for both senators denied their bosses engaged in any wrongdoing and said the lawmakers were unaware of the investigations.

    Mass recusal

    The investigative efforts has been further complicated by the fact that Mr. Reid worked to get Mr. Lee's chief counsel, David Barlow, confirmed in 2011 as the new U.S. attorney in Salt Lake City. That action — a Democratic Senate leader letting a Republican be named to a key prosecutor's position in the Obama administration — raised many eyebrows and angered some Democrats.

    Subsequently, the entire office of federal prosecutors in Utah was forced to recuse itself from the corruption case after questions surfaced about a conflict of interest involving one prosecutor and a subject of the probe. After the recusal, state prosecutors secured a court order transferring the federal evidence gathered up to that point to their possession.

    The process has left FBI agents in the unusual position of trying to help two local prosecutors make a case in state court without the ability to use the federal court system to determine whether accusations against two powerful members of Congress are true.

    "We're just two local prosecutors but everybody who was supposed to look at this evidence above us has made a decision not to, and by default left it to us to investigate and prosecute at the state level," Mr. Gill said.

    He and his counterpart in the wide-ranging probe, chief Davis County prosecutor Troy Rawlings, praised the FBI agents assisting their case for their dedication to finding the truth.

    State charges sought

    The prosecutors said their current focus is pursuing state charges against Utah officials and figures, like former Utah Attorney General John Swallow. To the dismay of the investigators, the Justice Department declined to prosecute Mr. Swallow, a Republican.

    On Wednesday, a special committee of the Utah legislature concluded Mr. Swallow may have violated as many as eight state laws on abuse of public office.

    Mr. Swallow "compromised the principles and integrity of the office to benefit himself and his political supporters," and he "hung a veritable 'for sale' sign on the office door that invited moneyed interests to seek special treatment and favors," the legislative report concluded.

    Mr. Swallow has denied wrongdoing.

    A senior law enforcement official familiar with the discussions between FBI, Justice Department and state authorities said that after federal prosecutors declined to take the Swallow case or pursue the accusations about the senators, a decision was made to pursue justice wherever it could be achieved, even at the state level with FBI agents assisting.

    "The sentiment was that it doesn't matter in the end where it occurs as long as justice is served," the official said, speaking only on condition of anonymity.

    Both state prosecutors said they eventually plan to pursue the accusations involving the senators and other federal officials — at least to determine whether any crimes were committed inside Utah borders that would warrant state charges.

    "We're sweeping up that information and those items of evidence," said Mr. Rawlings, a Republican. "I think it would be unfair to say we are currently investigating Sens. Reid and Lee at this time. But we are not going to ignore the scraps of evidence coming in about them.

    "Do we plan on formally turning attention to all of the scraps picked up about them? We do plan on that," Mr. Rawlings said.

    Justice 'ran away'

    People familiar with the probe said both FBI agents and local investigators have been frustrated for months by the Justice Department's inaction on the initial accusations and evidence against the two senators, and those concerns were recently elevated to FBI headquarters.

    The special agent in charge of the Utah office was summoned earlier this month to Washington to meet with senior FBI officials, and the bureau's Utah office has been instructed that the FBI agents working the case may only assist in the state probe and cannot pursue federal criminal investigative leads — unless Justice finally approves a corruption probe.

    The frustrations have prompted discussions of a seeking a special prosecutor who would bypass the Justice Department and U.S. attorney's office and evaluate the evidence independently.

    FBI officials said it was rare but not unprecedented for their agents to assist a state-only investigation.

    "We've let agents provide expertise and assist on the ground investigations for states in the past, especially in complex cases where federal crimes weren't clear," a senior FBI official in Washington told The Times, speaking only on condition of anonymity because the official wasn't authorized to talk to reporters.

    "But in this case, DOJ risks creating the perception of a cover-up rather than let agents use the normal tools and follow the evidence wherever it leads Republican, Democrat, Senate or not," the senior FBI official said.

    Mr. Rawlings criticized the Justice Department for failing to let FBI agents examine the evidence for federal crimes, and leaving the matter to state prosecutors with limited jurisdiction.

    "Based upon what we know today, we were surprised that the DOJ ran away," he said.

    FBI agents have conducted some interviews in Utah and provided analysis of bank records. But until the Justice Department engages or a special prosecutor is named, the agents are handcuffed from using a federal grand jury to gather evidence. FBI officials requested Justice Department permission last year but were turned down in August, officials said.

    Influence-peddling claim

    One focus of the investigation is on allegations by federally indicted businessman Jeremy Johnson, who says he was asked by Mr. Swallow and other intermediaries to route hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions and consulting payments to an associate of Mr. Reid and other companies in hopes the senator would intervene on two matters.

    The first was a dispute that Mr. Johnson was having with the Federal Trade Commission, which led to a fraud lawsuit against him.

    Mr. Johnson says he was instructed by intermediaries to write a $200,000 check to one company and a $50,000 check to a personal friend of Mr. Reid in return for getting the senator to intervene with the FTC, an intervention which did not happen.

    The second accusation involves the timing of Mr. Reid's changing his opposition to legislation allowing Internet poker. Mr. Reid's aides contend his change of heart was consistent with a broader shift underway in his state — and of the leading industry group, the American Gaming Association.

    Mr. Johnson says Mr. Reid announced his new position in 2010 at a fundraiser with online gaming executives in a Las Vegas.

    In a recorded conversation published last year by a Utah newspaper, Mr. Johnson is heard telling Mr. Swallow about the Las Vegas event.

    Mr. Johnson says Mr. Reid told the gathering: "Look, I've polled my constituents and they don't like online poker, bottom line... It's bad for jobs here in Las Vegas. But I'm going to back what you guys are doing here, I'm going to introduce a bill for you."

    On the recording, Mr. Johnson tells Mr. Swallow that, after Mr. Reid departed, Mr. Johnson himself pulled aside an online gaming official to ask about his announcement.

    "I (Mr. Johnson) said 'How in the hell did you guys get him to do that?' And he (the online gaming official) says 'Let's just say he got a little something in his retirement fund.' And I was like 'Okay, that's how it is.'"

    Reid changes position

    Mr. Johnson said in the recording that he was instructed by intermediaries to route a seven-figure check to a company on the West Coast in response to Mr. Reid's plea for financial help, which he did.

    Mr. Reid did introduce online poker legislation one month after his re-election in a closely contested race in 2010. The proposed legislation never went anywhere.

    Jeffrey Ifrah, an online gaming industry attorney, attended the 2010 event, with what he guessed were 60 to 70 others. He confirmed to ABC News that Mr. Reid announced his change of position on Internet poker in front of the donors.

    But he said he did not think the contributions influenced the decision, and laughed off Mr. Johnson's suggestion that Mr. Reid was paid to make that change.

    "If someone said that they must have been joking," Mr. Ifrah said. "Let me tell you something about gamblers, they don't give their money to anybody and I highly doubt they would have given it to Reid. When they have cash to spend they gamble with it — period."

    Adam Jentleson, a spokesman for Mr. Reid, confirmed Mr. Johnson attended the fund-raiser.

    "Senator Reid met with a large group of supporters, just as he met with thousands of people over the course of his re-election campaign, and took pictures and shook hands with countless people. The record indicates that Mr. Johnson was present at this large group meeting but Senator Reid does not recall him as anything other than a face in the crowd," Mr. Jentleson said.

    "The event was a fundraiser but Senator Reid himself did not make a personal appeal for money. Fundraising is a necessary reality of politics and Senator Reid has always conducted his fundraising activities with full transparency and in full compliance with the law," he added.

    When Mr. Johnson's accusations were first made public last year, Mr. Reid called him a man of "low record and character" and termed his accounts as "absurd and utterly false."

    Mr. Jentleson echoed those sentiments Thursday.

    "Mr. Johnson is a desperate individual who's been indicted on over 80 counts. His allegations are false and the flailings of a desperate man," the Reid spokesman said.

    Mr. Reid had long opposed online poker, making clear his position in a 2006 news conference.

    "I, at one time in my career, was chairman of the Nevada Gaming Commission, which is the regulator for gaming in Nevada. I was there when gaming went to New Jersey. I do not believe in Internet gambling," Mr. Reid told reporters. "I know how hard gambling is to control. I had my life threatened on more than one occasion as a result of untoward people who were involved in Nevada gambling. I was involved in shutting down major hotels because of the involvement of organized crime. The commodity of gambling is cash. And someone asked me if I oppose a study. I don't oppose a study. If anyone wants to study it, they can study it. But unless I'm convinced differently, I do not favor Internet gambling."

    Shortly after Mr. Reid won re-election, the Senate majority leader surprised many by publicly supporting legislation to legalize online poker.

    "Under the status quo, Internet poker is played by millions of Americans every day in an essentially unregulated environment," Mr. Reid said in December 2010. "The legislation I am working on would get our collective heads out of the sand and create a strict regulatory environment to protect U.S. consumers, prevent underage gambling and respect the decisions of states that don't allow gambling."

    Mr. Reid's spokesman said his boss actually began reconsidering that position in late 2009, well before the fund-raiser.

    "Senator Reid has always opposed broad-based online gaming, in part because of concerns that it could not be regulated. Since the issue first arose nearly a decade ago, new regulations and new technologies have been developed, including technologies that would enable sites to block minors. Due to these and other developments, Senator Reid became convinced over time that states should be allowed to decide for themselves whether to allow online poker," Mr. Jentleson said.

    Tainted accuser

    Mr. Johnson's credibility is certain to come under attack from anyone he levels accusations against.

    Federal prosecutors secured a federal indictment accusing the St. George, Utah, businessman of 86 criminal charges accusing him and other executives of his former financial firm of bilking tens of thousands of consumers out of millions of dollars.

    A plea deal between him and the government fell through before the charges were filed, and the U,S. attorney's office subsequently secured a gag order from a federal judge prohibiting Mr. Johnson from talking to the media.

    Despite the accusations portraying Mr. Johnson as a swindler, FBI and state investigators have unearthed some early information that would substantiate some aspects of his claims against state and federal officials.

    They include canceled checks of some of the payments Mr. Johnson purportedly made to third parties other than Mr. Reid, other bank records and even a photo of the fund-raiser with Sen. Reid, officials said.

    Lee questions

    The questions in the broad-ranging state probe that surround Mr. Lee involve real estate transactions in which the Republican bought a home for $1.1 million in Utah in 2008 when he was still a private lawyer and then sold it for $720,000 after becoming a senator, leaving his mortgage bank, J.P. Morgan, to absorb a significant loss.

    Investigators want to know whether Mr. Lee accurately decribed his personal finances in conjunction with the mortgage transactions.

    Investigators have gathered information that Mr. Lee sold the home in a short sale in 2011 to a campaign contributor and federal contractor. As part of the short sale, Mr. Lee forfeited his down-payment and left the rest of the loss to his bank, then immediately turned around and rented another property from the same donor for just over $2,000 a month.

    A spokesman for Mr. Lee confirmed the house transactions but said the senator accurately reported all of his finances and all the transactions were legal and proper.

    "The purchase of the house was completely aboveboard so there was little to consider about appearances," spokesman Brian Phillips said, adding that Mr. Lee at the time of the house transaction didn't even know the buyer was a federal contractor.

    Around the same time, Mr. Lee made a speech on the Senate floor praising the same donor who bought his home. Mr. Lee called the donor a "friend" and suggested the donor's books and writings might offer a blueprint for compromise in congressional budget talks.

    Mr. Phillips said his boss did no other favors for the donor and that the brief mention on the Senate floor was "an off-the-cuff, unplanned remark referencing a single line from a widely-sold book" by the donor.

    Mr. Lee told a local newspaper in Utah that his sale of the home and the rental of the new property were not connected, but rather separate transactions involving the same friend. He said he gained empathy with average Americans after experiencing the loss of his first home in the short sale.

    "It certainly is something that is painful to go through, and I know a lot of people are going through it, and I feel for those who have had to go through it," Mr. Lee told the Salt Lake City Tribune.

    • ABC News contributed to this report.

    © Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC.

  • ivy

    Hey drez (Martin Moulton)! You are black. Why don't you do something to cure your self hatred of black people. You want to be white so bad and it won't happen unless you bleach your skin and even if you do the your black features will prevail and you will have to have plastic surgery. Why don't you get on our bike and go back to San Francisco. Clarence Thomas is like Malcolm X compared to your self hated punk ass.

  • orange is the new gray area

    as to wenward68:

    yes, it does seem he's being picked on, but between sulaimon jeanne jeff vernon etc the company kept caused the problem.

    jeff tainted a lot of people, but only a few are getting stuck.

    unfair. so far.

  • Typical DC BS

    The usual whining of the low intelligent DC denizens here. And they wonder why nobody takes them seriously. Pathetic.

  • DCShadyBoots

    Wow ivy, you went IN!!!

    Anyhow, folks simply should respect, or at least pretend to believe, that all Americans are innocent until proven guilty.

    Ronald Machen's timing has made this circus look like a witch hunt. He's trying to smoke the Mayor out with these "PRESS" conferences. Machen you are an attorney, not a reporter. If history is the judge, this isn't going to turn out the way he thinks it will.


    Muriel Bowser’s Record as Councilmember
    Dorothy Brizill, DCWATCH

    When Washington Post columnist Robert McCartney was preparing an article about Muriel Bowser, he asked me to give him my impression of her. I wrote him a long E-mail and told him that he could quote anything in it. In McCartney’s article, http://www.tinyurl.com/m7vuznp,rr he wrote that I “was one of a half-dozen people I interviewed who have observed Bowser’s work on the council and described it as lackluster. The others spoke on condition of anonymity to avoid offending a potential mayor.” Here’s an expanded version of what I wrote him.

    Muriel Bowser has been a member of the city council since 2007, when she won a special election to succeed Adrian Fenty as the Ward 4 representative on the council. As a legislator, Muriel doesn’t have an impressive record in the introduction of legislation or the use of the council to solve important public policy issues. The ethics bill, the Board of Ethics and Government Accountability Establishment and Comprehensive Ethics Reform Amendment Act of 2011, is the one exception. It is an important bill, and it is identified as her signature legislation. But the public was clamoring for ethics reform, she was running for reelection, and she touted her work on the bill as the one example of her legislative accomplishments, The bill was largely pushed through the council by Council Chairman Kwame Brown. In the wake of the “fully loaded SUV” controversy that raised questions about Brown’s own ethical lapses and poor judgment, Brown wanted to use the ethics bill to redefine himself in the eyes of DC voters as an “ethics reformer,” and he used his influence in the council to ensure passage of Bowser’s bill. Because of the messy manner in which the bill was drafted, several verbal amendments were made on the council dais, The final text of the bill wasn’t ready for several months after council passage, and no draft text was made available during that time for public comment. Neither Muriel nor her staff consulted with experts or Washington citizens who were most familiar with the ethics issues that have plagued the city government over the years. It should also be noted that, as chair of the Government Operations Committee, Muriel wasn’t able to draft a campaign finance reform bill, although other councilmembers introduced multiple bills on campaign finance in 2011 and 2012. It wasn’t until 2013, when freshman councilmember Kenyon McDuffie became chair of the council’s Government Operations Committee, that a comprehensive campaign finance bill was drafted and adopted by the council.

    Muriel doesn’t work well with her council colleagues. She is not well liked or trusted by them, and many of them consider her a lightweight. Even before councilmembers all started running against each other to be mayor, you couldn’t find another councilmember who would speak well of her.

    Muriel has not demonstrated good judgment in hiring her staff. She has one of the worst staffs on the council. They are not informed, knowledgeable, or even pleasant, and she micromanages them. She insists that her legislative/committee director, Rob Hawkins, keep his office in her suite of offices rather than in the committee office. Her staffers, including her press director, claim never to know about legislative or issue matters, and they must get Bowser’s or her chief of staff’s permission to provide any information. All calls to her committee and staffers must go through her main office receptionist.

    As a Ward 4 councilmember, she provides very poor constituent services, and there are numerous complaints by residents of the ward about not being able to get service or assistance from her office. Her director of constituent services, Brandon Todd, has been working on her campaign full time for several months.

    Regarding education, about three years ago Ward 4 residents were outraged over conditions at Roosevelt and Coolidge High Schools and the slow pace of renovation at the two schools. Coolidge, which should have been the first on the list schools in the District to be renovated, was dropped down to one of the last to be renovated. It was widely believed that funds that were earmarked for Roosevelt and Coolidge were diverted by Mayor Fenty to the renovation of Wilson and Woodson. Ward 4 residents felt that Bowser didn’t fight for school funding in her ward, and more generally that she wasn’t engaged in education issues. In an effort to silence Ward 4 residents who were criticizing her on education, Bowser tried to counter the Ward 4 Council on Education by creating her own entity, which she called the Ward 4 Education Compact; it has not been active or engaged since its creation.

    Economic development in Ward 4, especially on Georgia Avenue, has been a consistent promise by Bowser to Ward 4 residents, but for years there was been little meaningful economic development on the Avenue. Recently, Councilmember Jack Evans, campaigning against Bowser in the mayor’s race, took advantage of this lack of economic development by holding a rally on Georgia Avenue. The one exception has been the building of the Georgia Avenue Walmart. Walmart, of course, has many vocal opponents, especially in the labor movement, but one of Bowser’s early and most prominent financial backers was David Wilmot, who served as the finance chairman for Bowser’s 2011 reelection campaign. Wilmot is a paid lobbyist and consultant to Walmart. After Walmart announced its intention to open a store at the busy intersection of Georgia and Missouri Avenues, Muriel refused to hear or respond to legitimate community concerns about the store, including traffic and its potential impact on other businesses in the area.

    Most observers of District politics and the inner working of the Wilson Building have had unpleasant encounters with Bowser. People compare her personality to Adrian Fenty’s, and say that she is cool, aloof, and mean. She will roll her eyes and openly display disgust at citizens or colleagues with whom she disagrees even when she is on the council dais or at community meetings. She is still working in Fenty’s shadow; there are even rumors that Fenty will return to DC to campaign for her in the final weeks of the campaign, and he is raising funds for her in California. Many unpleasant people who worked for Fenty are now working in Bowser’s council office and campaign.

    A telling example that is often cited regarding Bowser’s personality and how she has discharged her council duties is her treatment of Betty Noel. Noel, a prominent Ward 4 resident, had served with distinction as the District’s Peoples Counsel for eighteen years, representing citizens’ interests with respect to public utilities. When her last six-year term expired, Mayor Fenty refused to reappoint her, and instead, with Bowser’s blessing, nominated Vicky Beasley, an attorney with little experience, to the Peoples Counsel position. Beasley’s nomination, however, was not approved by the council because of opposition from citizens, the Consumer Utility Board, and civic organizations. Bowser took the council’s rejection of Beasley personally, blamed Noel for it, and retaliated against Noel. When in 2011, Mayor Gray nominated Noel to fill a vacant seat on the Public Service Commission, which regulates utilities in the District, Bowser immediately announced her opposition. Rather than champion the appointment of a Ward 4 resident to such an important and prestigious commission, Bowser worked tirelessly with PEPCO behind the scenes to defeat Noel. Through procedural maneuvers, Noel’s nomination died in the council’s Public Service and Consumer Affairs Committee on March 15, 2012, in a three to two vote, with Bowser, Alexander, and Mendelson voting against her. To date, the seat to which Noel was appointed on the three-member board has remained vacant.

    Most troubling when assessing her qualifications to be mayor of the District is the fact that she has no meaningful work or management experience. Prior to running for the council to fill Fenty’s Ward 4 seat, she was an employee at the Silver Spring downtown redevelopment corporation, where she was not in management.

    Finally, despite her public image as being “clean,” Bowser has skirted campaign laws and regulations. When she ran for reelection to her Ward 4 council seat in 2012, she initially ran the campaign out of her council office. Joy Holland, her chief of staff, held campaign strategy meetings in Bowser’s front office, and Bowser’s campaign posters and literature were stored in the committee office of Ron Austin, who was then her chief of constituent services. Over the years, she received at least $18,600 in campaign contributions from Jeffrey Thompson and his straw donors.