The Problem With Local Reporting: Who Is She?

It seems D.C. Mayor and Glorified ANC Member Muriel Bowser has got herself in trouble again (boldface mine):

The payments from Mayor Muriel Bowser’s campaign to Kimberly Lockett started just before the primary election.

On June 11, eight days before primary voting, Lockett was paid $26,500 for work as a “consultant,” campaign finance reports show.

On June 21, two days after Bowser won 80 percent of the democratic vote, effectively sewing up a historic second term, Lockett was paid $3,200.

But it was the Bowser campaign’s latest payment to Lockett—of $62,350—on October 20 that raised the eyebrows of local experts and the D.C. Office of Campaign Finance. That payment is recorded on Bowser’s “8 Day Pre General Election Report,” which covers October 11 through 29th.

Altogether, that’s $92,050 for five months of work, paid to an individual consultant during a race in which Bowser faced only nominal competition

Williams has since not returned calls seeking further explanation. Efforts to reach Lockett were unsuccessful. (Bowser recommended Lockett for an appointment to the D.C. Boxing and Wrestling Commission in 2015, a positions she still holds.)

…For Dorothy Brizill, a longtime D.C. government watchdog, the large sum of money and the Bowser campaign’s refusal to release specific details of Lockett’s work are emblematic of an issue that’s plagued local elections in recent years. Brizill has watched campaigns shell out big paydays to “self employed” individuals for “consultant” work, but not give further explanation. Bowser’s campaign finance reports list Lockett as “self employed” and she was paid for consulting work.

“There is no reason why Bowser and her people should try to keep information regarding campaign expenditures secret,” Brizill tells City Paper via email. “You cannot raise and expend funds for a campaign for a political office and then try to claim that such information is ‘protected’ in order to shield ‘campaign tactics.’ Moreover, the campaign is over. Who are Bowser and her people trying to protect, other than themselves?”

Craig Holman, a government affairs lobbyist for the nonprofit watchdog group Public Citizen, joins in Brizill’s suspicion…

“Kim Lockett is being paid an extraordinary amount as an individual for consulting services,” Holman says after reviewing Bowser’s finance reports. “It’s as much as she’s paid some business firms for consulting.”

…According to campaign finance reports, Lockett worked on Karl Racine’s campaign for attorney general in 2014 and Brandon Todd’s campaign for Ward 4’s Council seat in 2015, but for smaller payouts.

So who is Lockett? As the article notes, she’s a member of the DC Boxing and Wrestling Commission, but somehow I don’t think that committee has a whole lot of political juice. What bothers me is that I’m sure some reporters have a fairly good idea of who Lockett actually is–that is, why Bowser would pay her so much. But your typical reader, even one who is fairly informed, has no clue who she is. Lockett doesn’t seem to be a big contributor or bundler–but maybe she is? Someone should commit some journalism and find out who she really is–she’s not a ghost or phantasm.

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