D.C.’s Mayor Bowser: The Same Old, Same Old (Influence Peddling)

Maybe we should be thankful it’s not delivered to her in a paper bag (boldface mine):

Close allies of D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) have begun amassing large sums of money that could have unprecedented sway over city politics.

They have created a political action committee similar to a federal super PAC, in that it can accept contributions of unlimited size, and are pushing to raise $1 million before the end of the year.

That would be enough to finance the bulk of a mayoral reelection bid three years early, but Ben Soto, treasurer of the PAC and former campaign treasurer for Bowser, says the money will probably be spent long before then, beginning with bolstering her D.C. Council allies on the ballot next year…

How the PAC is being funded, though, is beginning to draw intense criticism for a mayor who was elected by promising a fresh break from the campaign-finance scandal that clouded the tenure of her predecessor.

More than $300,000 has poured into the pro-Bowser PAC, mostly from corporations that either have business before the city or that are actively seeking it, according to campaign disclosures filed last week.

Multiple developers bidding for rights to parcels in the city’s $200 million revitalization of the Southwest Waterfront area, one of the nation’s largest public works projects, have each donated $10,000 or more. So has Phinis Jones, a longtime supporter of Bowser who stands to profit from a development near the mayor’s planned $55 million Washington Wizards’ practice facility in Southeast.

Three men that Bowser has appointed to powerful boards and commissions also have contributed $10,000 each before or after their position confirmations. A fourth has given $2,500, and a fifth is serving as the PAC’s attorney and is paid by the fund.

Health-care companies and their executives have been the most frequent and largest contributors.

Two — a Virginia company and a board member of a health-care nonprofit — have already contributed 10 times the limit allowed to a mayoral campaign of $2,000…

Bowser appointees who have contributed $10,000 to the PAC include Frederick Hill, whose experience for a seat on the Board of Zoning Adjustments was questioned; Alan Bubes, a member of the Washington Convention and Sports Authority Board of Directors; and Buwa Binitie, a Housing Finance Agency board member.

Mind you, this is probably no more corrupt than many other places, but after decades of mismanagement, D.C. needs a government that isn’t bought and paid for by companies looking for contracts. It was wrong in Ivanhoe Donaldson’s day and it’s wrong now.

Related: The locals are not happy about this at all, especially since it looks like Bowser wants to use the money to target left-leaning, non-corporate city council members.

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1 Response to D.C.’s Mayor Bowser: The Same Old, Same Old (Influence Peddling)

  1. jrkrideau says:

    Would it not be more efficient to just hold public auctions for the seats on council?

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