Prominent activist and Peaceoholics co-founder Ron Moten is demanding that At-Large Councilmember David Catania retract statements that implicate Moten in an alleged illegal campaign spending effort on behalf of Councilmember Muriel Bowser, the Ward 4 Democrat who polls indicate leads Catania in the mayoral race.
The demand, sent Tuesday by Moten's attorney Johnny Barnes in a letter to the Catania campaign, insists that Catania "publish a 'retraction,' 'correction' and an 'apology'" to Moten for "for the untruths you published in an electronic communication this instant date."
Those "untruths" refer to statements in an email sent to thousands of voters by Catania campaign manager Ben Young that appear to identify Moten as a person "associated with the illegal spending."
The allegations and retraction demand stem from a controversy last week over mysterious red-white-and-blue campaign signs that recently appeared in wards 7 and 8, accusing Catania of waging a "war against the poor." The signs were attributed to a group identifying itself as "DC Citizens Against Catania," which as reported by the Washington Post did not provide any indication of who paid for the signs, as city election laws require. The Post identified three advocates for ex-offenders' rights, Yango Sawyer, Debra Rowe, and Eddie Moton, as key figures at the gathering, though only Moton was reported to be brandishing any materials. (He reportedly was wearing a T-shirt.)
Sawyer has since acknowledged that he's responsible for the signs, placards, and T-shirts, and is the subject of a complaint to the Office of Campaign Finance accusing him and his colleagues of making unreported "in-kind contributions" to Bowser's campaign. A hearing on the OCF complaint, filed by Ward 1 activist Marie Drissel, is scheduled for Monday. Sawyer and Rowe declined to comment. Moton couldn't be reached. The Bowser campaign has denied any involvement with "DC Citizens Against Catania." She didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
But the Post article also included an interview with Moten, co-founder of Peaceoholics, a nonprofit group that advocates non-violence on behalf of at-risk youth. He was at the rally and was quoted voicing support for Bowser from the community of advocates for ex-offenders, known as "returning citizens."
Moten is not related to Eddie Moton, whose name is misspelled in the OCF complaint, perhaps confusing an already murky matter. Read more Ron Moten Wants David Catania to Apologize