Todd fined for fail­ure to doc­u­ment con­tri­bu­tions

Bad record keep­ing blamed for coun­cil mem­ber’s vi­o­la­tion

The Washington Times Daily - - METRO - BY RYAN M. MCDER­MOTT BRIEFLY THE METRO AREA

City au­di­tors fined D.C. Coun­cil mem­ber Bran­don Todd $5,100 on Wed­nes­day for his cam­paign’s fail­ure to doc­u­ment more than $100,000 in con­tri­bu­tions dur­ing his 2015 spe­cial elec­tion.

The Of­fice of Cam­paign Fi­nance faulted bad record keep­ing for the dis­crep­ancy in do­na­tions that to­taled about a quar­ter of Mr. Todd’s cam­paign war chest.

“The OCF de­ter­mined that the vi­o­la­tions are the re­sult of ir­re­spon­si­ble record­keep­ing that im­paired the abil­ity of the com­mit­tee to pro­vide com­plete and ac­cu­rate fi­nan­cial records,” the agency said in a state­ment.

The Wash­ing­ton Post in April first re­ported that the OCF had launched the in­ves­ti­ga­tion shortly af­ter Mr. Todd’s suc­cess­ful bid to fill the Ward 4 coun­cil seat va­cated by D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser in 2015. The Post re­port that the Todd cam­paign could not pro­vide doc­u­men­ta­tion for more than $102,000 in con­tri­bu­tions. The cam­paign also did not re­port $34,139 in con­tri­bu­tions and failed to re­port 19 ex­penses that to­taled about $30,000.

Be­fore be­com­ing a law­maker, Mr. Todd, a Demo­crat, served as Miss Bowser’s fi­nance di­rec­tor dur­ing her 2014 may­oral bid.

Ben Soto, who was Mr. Todd’s cam­paign trea­surer, did not re­spond to re­quest for com­ment. He has said that the doc­u­men­ta­tion er­rors were not ne­far­i­ous.

Mr. Soto also served as cam­paign trea­surer for Miss Bowser’s 2014 may­oral run and as trea­surer for the con­tro­ver­sial po­lit­i­cal ac­tion com­mit­tee FreshPAC, which was af­fil­i­ated with Miss Bowser.

The OCF said it fined the cam­paign as much as is legally pos­si­ble for the vi­o­la­tions and for how long it took the cam­paign to re­spond.

“The fines are based on the max­i­mum al­low­able per vi­o­la­tion and the num­ber of days of delin­quency based on when the mat­ter was re­ferred to the Of­fice of the Gen­eral Coun­sel,” the agency said.

Pub­lic Cit­i­zen, a na­tional group that ad­vo­cates for cam­paign fi­nance re­form, was not pleased with the re­sults of the OCF au­dit.

“The max­i­mum pos­si­ble fine for los­ing track of ap­prox­i­mately $100,000 in cam­paign con­tri­bu­tions is $5,100? The Dis­trict of Columbia needs ethics and cam­paign fi­nance re­form now more than ever,” said Aquene Freechild, co-di­rec­tor of Pub­lic Cit­i­zen’s Democ­racy Is For Peo­ple Cam­paign.

Ms. Freechild ques­tioned why it took au­di­tors a year-and-a-half to con­clude the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Todd

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