Todd fined for failure to document contributions
Bad record keeping blamed for council member’s violation
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.