Greater Greater Washington

DC Council ethics: C'mon son, we can do better

Tuesday marked just how serious the DC Council is about ethics reform. I am sad to report that they are not very serious at all.


Photo by (Alex) on Flickr.

Like all besieged governments across the globe that have held power with an insular, corruptible and outdated system, the Council of the District of Columbia is now offering concessions in the hope of easing the unprecedented anger at this crisis.

They have established a process to remove a member, set up an ethics panel, slashed how much money councilmembers can raise to help "constituents," and required stricter reporting of outside income and potential conflicts.

But ultimately the Council has only responded narrowly to several questions raised this year concerning the alleged actions of some city leaders and government staffers.

Some highlights include requiring councilmembers to file an annual affidavit in which they certify they paid all of their taxes and have not "been offered or accepted any bribes" or engaged in any "pay to play schemes." Really?

In the words of the teenagers I work with: "C'mon Son!!!"

The law fails to address or enact any real protections against "pay-to-play."

On November 30, Councilmember Tommy Wells (Ward 6) introduced two amendments to the bill. The first amendment would close a loophole that allows corporations to give numerous campaign contributions through subsidiary Limited Liability Corporations (LLC). Wells' amendment would limit corporations to just one contribution.

The second amendment banned companies with city contracts from giving directly to political campaigns, because councilmembers often vote on contracts for those same companies.

The Council rejected each of Wells' amendments by 12 to 1 votes. Wells seemed to have support from Cecily Collier-Montgomery, director of the Office of Campaign Finance, who said, "It certainly would make it a lot easier to enforce in terms of corporations and subsidiaries sharing a single contribution limit.

William Sanford, General Counsel of OCF went further, saying, "We agree that bundling should be prohibited and perhaps it could be more specifically addressed in this or other legislation."

Even Councilmember Jim Graham (Ward 1) openly stated during debate that every time a councilmember takes a check from a corporation, there is a string attached. Astutely, Mr. Graham has touched the heart of "Pay to Play."

When it became obvious that no other member of the council was was willing to ban subsidiary corporations from giving multiple contributions, Wells regrouped and offered a compromise for the final vote on December 20. He proposed sunlight provisions that would require LLCs to disclose their controlling interest, and require corporations with contracts with the city to disclose those contracts when contributing to local political campaigns.

Every councilmember talks about the importance of disclosure, transparency and sunlight, making this an obvious compromise. Don't ban a corporation's ability to bundle, just make the disclosure more transparent. As a friend of mine likes to say about the DC Council, "It's all about getting to 7 votes."

One would think this a no-brainer. Wells' office went back to Sanford, the OCF General Counsel, to ask for advice. He responded by saying, "The language you have suggested appears to require clarification of the relationship between subsidiaries and parent corporations which may have controlling interest. Therefore, from an enforcement standpoint it would result in a greater degree of transparency."

Armed with support of OCF and a willingness of the Council to create stronger "open government" laws, Wells brought his two sunshine amendments to the floor. Each amendment still fell 12 to 1.

And with that, the council punted on a golden opportunity to show the residents of DC that they are serious about ethics, committed to ridding our government of the corrupting influence of money, and that DC will no longer be the butt of jokes on late-night talk shows.

It is heartbreaking that in the capital city of the world's greatest democracy, the effort for transparency and accountabilityvalues that people are giving life and limb for around the worldwould fail so miserably and so anticlimactically.

Big money diminishes accountability, transparency and inclusiveness in our government. It determines who runs for office and where those candidates stand on the issues.

Money should not determine how our elected officials spend their time in the Wilson Building. Issues facing the city should do that. Problems facing the residents should come first.

The DC Council would do well in recognizing they still have some serious work to do if they are going to be taken seriously by voters.

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Bryan Weaver is a Ward One community activist, former four-term Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner, and founder/director of Hoops Sagrado, a youth leadership and development nonprofit. Bryan is a 20+ year resident of the District, a graduate of Howard University, and lives in Adams Morgan with his wife and their two children. In his spare time he can be found on a city basketball court. 

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After almost 40 years of largely inept and corrupt government and largely failed schools (despite the valiant efforts of many dedicated educators)...perhaps it's time we DID AWAY with this experiment in Home Rule and reverted the District back to what the US Constitution called for. The District has proven it cannot govern itself, is a national laughing stock and could be easily cast aside. Worth discussing...

by Pelham1861 on Dec 22, 2011 3:59 pm • linkreport

I don't think removing all accountability (i.e. elections) is a great solution. Maybe electing better legislators would help?

by Cassidy on Dec 22, 2011 4:12 pm • linkreport

If I understand your position correctly, things would have been better (and this article likely would not have been written) had the Council agreed with Wells?

I think Wells' proposals made sense and it's a shame that the Council didn't approve 'em. But has bundling and pay-to-pay (from a historical pov) been the most egregious ethics issue that Council has faced? Would that have prevented the Harry Thomas issue? Or the Suilamon Brown? Or the Kwame Brown issue?

by HogWash on Dec 22, 2011 4:23 pm • linkreport

BTW, I thought your "C'mon son" was funny.

by HogWash on Dec 22, 2011 4:24 pm • linkreport

After almost 162 years of largely inept and corrupt government and largely failed budgetary, electoral, and referendum systems (despite the valiant efforts of many dedicated reformers)...perhaps it's time we DID AWAY with this experiment in Statehood and reverted California back to a US territory. The State of California has proven it cannot govern itself, is a national laughing stock and could easily be cast aside. Worth discussing...

by Brian Vargas on Dec 22, 2011 4:42 pm • linkreport

If the Council won't enact serious ethics reform on its own, why not go the ballot initiative route?

by Brooklander on Dec 22, 2011 5:13 pm • linkreport

Who didn't see this coming? I mean isn't there an obvious conflict of interest here with the council trying to pass ethics regulations for themselves. They obviously aren't going to agree to anything that's going to stop the very corruption they themselves are currently involved in. This whole exercise seemed silly to me from the beginning.

by Doug on Dec 22, 2011 5:21 pm • linkreport

Brooklander: Because, insanely enough Council has the authority to overturn the public. We voted in term limits a while back, and as soon as they returned to session agenda item #1 was voting them out. The public approved term limts, and the then term limited Council voted away their term limits in session.

Nice, huh?

by John on Dec 22, 2011 5:52 pm • linkreport

@John

The solution to that is a ballot initiative to change the city charter to bar the Council from reverting ballot initiatives. At the same time, voters shouldn't get to vote on taxes, finances, etc. Then we WILL end up like California.

by Adam L on Dec 22, 2011 6:51 pm • linkreport

A couple things:

Giving the Council the power to expel one of its members dangerously strips power AWAY from the constituents and places it in the hands of only 11 people in D.C.

Your main problem with the ethics reform legislation seems to be it not tackling campaign finance, while CM Bowser has said repeatedly that she plans to reform campaign finance in a separate piece of legislation, and I would generally agree that would be the right course of action (so long as we hold her to it.)

CM Wells, while speaking from the dais against CSFs has himself accepted donations to his...

On a different but not really different note, it took this Council (minus VO) only 2 weeks from the issuance of a non legal binding report to censure CM Barry for his fiasco with kickbacks and a girlfriend in 2010. Now after CM Thomas has been sued by the City, less than a handful have publicly called on his resignation and not even a motion to censure has hit the floor. CM Wells et al should introduce one immediately to try and shame their colleagues into taking a public stance against CM Thomas, because their conscience can't seem to force their hands.

Weaver '12/'14!

by @SamuelMoore on Dec 22, 2011 7:02 pm • linkreport

My 'hood can get behind my man. Buck One City as tissue soft propaganda, "Recall Mayor Gray, C'MON SON!"

And to these jello minded yip-yip yungins on here sayin we shouldnt have Home Rule, dont forget Alexander Shepherd from the days cows and chickens roamed dusty city streets. Dingbats hustlin backwards in city politrix have a legacy that go back more than a century in my city.

Our city council are all scrubs. Kwame Brown is lead scrub. Stuck on stupid dum-dums heart pumps Arizona teas through they veins. This yungin Weaver go hard in the paint, forget what you might heard. I be on Chicago Street but my bidness takes me crisscross the city. We need real radicals with brains that know this here city game. If your daddy or somebody was a political trickster before you there should be a law that says you cant even try it. But the people of my city dont use that ballot to they advantage. I mean how does Marion Barry still have a city job? In the real world we live in he couldnt get a job at McDonalds.

Everybody try to make it like its a black thang and white people dont have no place. Buck that. It used to be nuthin but white people around my parents when they was on Chicago St but poeople try to act like DC is only for black people. These black leaders are not leaders. They are scrubs. Alexander, both Browns, Barry, Thomas. The white yungins arent perfect but they aint as bad.

Back to what Im sayin, these yip-yip idiots talk like they know whats going down but they don't. C'mon son, this white man Weaver knows more what's goin in the heard of the city than these folks that try to act like they the end all and be all.

Black people will only wake up from they comotoze state when we get a white mayor. Yeah, son, I said it.

Bring back Boss Shepherd you simpletons.

by SE Jerome on Dec 22, 2011 8:19 pm • linkreport

Barry to the rescue!

by TGEOA on Dec 22, 2011 10:42 pm • linkreport

Wells for Mayor!

by catpower on Dec 23, 2011 8:17 am • linkreport

@ John: Good point, it is not a bulletproof strategy. But it would create additional pressure, visibility, & leverage. Plus, Council would have to actually hold a vote to overturn and (I assume) Mayor would have to sign. So while not perfect, it would presumably change the playing field. I'm just sayin'.

by Brooklander on Dec 23, 2011 9:27 am • linkreport

Actually I haven't taken a position on whether he should have or should not have voted for the bill.

My position has only been that accusing him of grandstanding and lying about it is irresponsible and unfair based on the complete absence of any basis for those accusations.

by David C on Dec 23, 2011 10:27 am • linkreport

Great analogy about the Council operating according to an old-school system that is now deeply unpopular and falling apart. They're trying to sustain the unsustainable but change is coming whether they like it or not. It's part of the dynamics of a growing city. The current council has not done a good job of adapting from the dynamics of a shrinking city to the conditions of a growing city. It's only a matter of time before they adapt or are replaced by those who are looking to manage a growing city.

by Cavan on Dec 23, 2011 11:13 am • linkreport

BRIAN - California has NOT been poorly run for most of its years as a state...in fact quite to the contrary through about 1982. Plus statehood is different from the District. From inception, the District was never intended to have its own 'government' so I say its time to fold the tent on Home Rule. Washington's 'leaders' ...using the term loosely...have shown themselves to be vapid pretenders.

by Pelham1861 on Dec 23, 2011 11:14 am • linkreport


Bryan makes good points. Many of this issues raised by historic roots, but a good portion of the current dymanics is rooted in so-called Gentrification,which as public policy is generally unethical. Gentrification in DC is/was fueled by pay-to-play. Much of the city's development is driven by contracts related to the disposition of public lands and related construction contracts. Tackling ethics reform would really mean tackling some of the corruption rooted in Gentrification, which many don't really want to touch.

The Council is not really serious about ethics reform, because "we" are not really serious outside of scoring a few political points here or there. While the City Council can be full of it, "C'mon Son!!!", ethics is optional as long was we get our bike lanes, street cars and trendy bars.

William

by W Jordan on Dec 23, 2011 2:09 pm • linkreport

Pelham: while the current implementation of home rule has obviously turned out to be a dud, retrocession to Maryland would probably work out fine.

ethics is optional as long was we get our bike lanes, street cars and trendy bars.

The city council was corrupt long before gentrification, and the most corrupt members of the city council are not the members whose districts are driven by gentrification and trendy bars. The problem [phrase removed for violating the comment policy] is not the GGW writers who are promoting corrupt. The problem is the people [phrase removed for violating the comment policy] who are the ones going to bat for the Harry Thomases and Kwame Browns. [Sentence removed for violating the comment policy.]

by JustMe on Dec 23, 2011 2:17 pm • linkreport

I believe that this report on the voting on the ethics bill shows exactly why Tommy Wells voted against the bill - namely that he doesn't think it goes far enough. He tried to pass several amendments, and those were not approved despite wide public support. He opposed other amendments that many in the public also opposed. And when it was clear that he was making little progress, he tried to compromise, but this was also ignored.

They left him little choice but to vote against the bill. Voting for it would create the illusion that the bill had unanimous support from the council - which it clearly doesn't. It was the only tool they left him to get a bill that more closely resemble one he can support.

by David C on Dec 23, 2011 2:29 pm • linkreport

David C gets it exactly right. When they take every tool away from you, you use what's left. If Wells is grandstanding, I'm proud of his grandstanding in contrast to being a rubber-stamp to a corrupt Council Chair.

by oboe on Dec 23, 2011 3:38 pm • linkreport

Committee Name Contributor Amount Date of Receipt
Re-Elect Jim Graham (2006) 1331 Kenyon Street, LLC $500.00 4/7/2006
Re-Elect Jim Graham (2006) 1407 W Street, LLC $500.00 5/15/2006
Re-Elect Jim Graham (2006) Columbia Heights Ventures Parcel 15, LLC $500.00 4/7/2006
Re-Elect Jim Graham (2006) Columbia Heights Ventures Parcel 26, LLC $500.00 4/7/2006
Re-Elect Jim Graham (2006) Donatelli & Klein, Inc. $500.00 4/7/2006
Re-Elect Jim Graham (2006) Donatelli, Ann $500.00 5/5/2006
Re-Elect Jim Graham (2006) Donatelli, Christopher $500.00 7/28/2006
Re-Elect Jim Graham (2006) Donatelli, Karen $500.00 4/7/2006
Re-Elect Jim Graham (2006) Donatelli, Louis $500.00 5/15/2006
Re-Elect Jim Graham (2006) Ellington Plaza-DG Partnership $500.00 4/7/2006
Re-Elect Jim Graham (2006) Gates Owls Nest, LLC $500.00 5/15/2006
Re-Elect Jim Graham (2006) Gragg & Associates, Inc. $500.00 5/23/2006
Re-Elect Jim Graham (2006) Park USA, Inc. $500.00 5/23/2006
Re-Elect Jim Graham (2006) Petworth Metro Ventures, LLC $500.00 4/7/2006
Re-Elect Jim Graham (2006) Tuscany Square, LLC $500.00 5/15/2006
Re-Elect Jim Graham (2006) Urban Parking Ventures, LLC $500.00 5/23/2006
Reelect Jim Graham 2010 1407 W Street, LLC. $500.00 6/9/2010
Reelect Jim Graham 2010 1900 Vermont LLC. $500.00 6/9/2010
Reelect Jim Graham 2010 3801 Georgia Avenue, LLC $500.00 12/24/2009
Reelect Jim Graham 2010 Clark, Larry $500.00 6/2/2010
Reelect Jim Graham 2010 Clark, Larry $250.00 3/19/2010
Reelect Jim Graham 2010 Columbia Heights Ventures Parcel 26, LLC $500.00 10/7/2009
Reelect Jim Graham 2010 Columbia Heights Ventures Parcel 26, LLC $500.00 10/7/2009
Reelect Jim Graham 2010 DB Residential Partners, LLC $500.00 12/24/2009
Reelect Jim Graham 2010 Donatelli & Klein, Inc $500.00 12/24/2009
Reelect Jim Graham 2010 Donatelli, Christopher $500.00 6/9/2010
Reelect Jim Graham 2010 Donatelli, Karen $500.00 12/24/2009
Reelect Jim Graham 2010 Donatelli, Louis $250.00 3/19/2010
Reelect Jim Graham 2010 Ellington Plaza-DG Partnership $500.00 12/24/2009
Reelect Jim Graham 2010 Gragg, Nigel $500.00 1/24/2010
Reelect Jim Graham 2010 Gragg, Nigel $500.00 12/10/2009
Reelect Jim Graham 2010 Gragg, Vance $250.00 1/27/2010
Reelect Jim Graham 2010 Highland Park West, LLC $500.00 12/24/2009
Reelect Jim Graham 2010 Kenyon Square North, LLC $500.00 12/24/2009
Reelect Jim Graham 2010 Petworth Metro Ventures, LLC $500.00 12/24/2009
Bill Rice for Ward 3 Gragg, Nigel $500.00 5/9/2006
Bobb for School Board President Donatelli, Chris $500.00 10/1/2006
Bobb for School Board President Gragg, Nogel $500.00 10/11/2006
Bobb for School Board President Park USA Inc. $500.00 10/11/2006
Bolden 2006 DC Council Member at Large Donatelli, Christopher $1,000.00 8/24/2006
Bowser 2012 3801 Georgia Avenue LLC $500.00 7/29/2011
Bowser 2012 Clark, Larry $500.00 6/10/2011
Bowser 2012 Clark, Larry $500.00 6/10/2011
Bowser 2012 DB Residential Partners LLC $500.00 7/29/2011
Bowser 2012 Donatelli, Karen $500.00 7/29/2011
Bowser 2012 Ellington Plaza-DG Partnership $500.00 7/29/2011
Bowser 2012 Kenyon Square North $500.00 11/7/2011
Catania 2006 Gragg, Nigel $2,000.00 10/25/2006
Catania 2010 Donatelli, Christopher $1,000.00 3/29/2010
Citizens to Elect Linda Cropp Mayor 1407 W Street LLC $2,000.00 5/26/2006
Citizens to Elect Linda Cropp Mayor Gates Owls Nest LLC $2,000.00 5/26/2006
Citizens to Elect Linda Cropp Mayor Tuscany Square LLC $2,000.00 5/26/2006
Clampitt for Council Clark, Larry $500.00 1/26/2008
Clark Ray for Council 2010 Clark, Larry $250.00 6/3/2010
Committee to Elect Dotti Love Wade 1407 W Street, LLC $200.00 11/2/2008
Committee to Elect Dotti Love Wade Clark, Larry $200.00 11/2/2008
Committee to Elect Dotti Love Wade Columbia Heights Venture Parcel 15, LLC $200.00 11/2/2008
Committee to Elect Dotti Love Wade Columbia Heights Ventures Parcel 26, LLC $200.00 11/2/2008
Committee to Elect Dotti Love Wade Donatelli & Klein, Inc. $200.00 11/2/2008
Committee to Elect Dotti Love Wade Donatelli, Christopher $200.00 11/2/2008
Committee to Elect Dotti Love Wade Ellington Plaza-DG Partnership $200.00 11/2/2008
Committee to Elect Dotti Love Wade Kenyon Square North $200.00 11/2/2008
Committee to Elect Frank Wilds Councilmember for Ward-5 Gragg, Nigel $500.00 6/5/2006
Committee to Elect Jacque Patterson Gragg, Nigel $500.00 2/11/2011
Committee to Elect Jacque Patterson to School Board Gregg, Nigel $200.00 10/18/2006
Committee to Elect Yvette M. Alexander Columbia Heights Ventures Parcel 15, LLC $500.00 2/24/2007
Committee to Elect Yvette M. Alexander Columbia Heights Ventures, LLC $500.00 2/24/2007
Committee to Elect Yvette M. Alexander Donatelli & Klein, Inc $500.00 8/23/2007
Committee to Elect Yvette M. Alexander Ellington Plaza-DG $500.00 2/24/2007
Committee to Elect Yvette M. Alexander Gragg & Associates, LLC $500.00 2/24/2007
Committee to Elect Yvette M. Alexander Gragg, Nigel $500.00 3/22/2007
Committee to Elect Yvette M. Alexander Gragg, Vance $500.00 2/24/2007
Committee to Elect Yvette M. Alexander Gragg, Viet $500.00 2/24/2007
Committee to Elect Yvette M. Alexander Kenyon Square North LLC $500.00 8/23/2007
Committee to Elect Yvette M. Alexander Park USA, Inc $500.00 2/24/2007
Committee to Elect Yvette M. Alexander Petworth Metro Ventures LLC $500.00 8/23/2007
Committee to Re-Elect Yvette Alexander Clark, Larry $250.00 4/16/2009
Committee to Re-Elect Yvette Alexander Clark, Larry $250.00 10/31/2008
Committee to Re-Elect Yvette Alexander Clark, Larry $250.00 8/8/2008
Committee to Re-Elect Yvette Alexander Columbia Heights Ventures Parcel 26 $500.00 8/8/2008
Committee to Re-Elect Yvette Alexander Donatelli & Klein $500.00 8/8/2008
Committee to Re-Elect Yvette Alexander Donatelli, Karen $500.00 4/16/2009
Committee to Re-Elect Yvette Alexander Ellington Plaza DC Limited Partnership $500.00 4/16/2009
Committee to Re-Elect Yvette Alexander Kenyon Square North LLC $500.00 8/8/2008
Dr. Victor Vandell for Ward 7 Donatelli & Klein, INC. $500.00 1/30/2007
Dr. Victor Vandell for Ward 7 Donatelli, Karen $500.00 1/31/2007
Evans 2008 Clark, Larry $250.00 7/31/2008
Evans 2008 Columbia Heighs Ventures Parcel 26 LLC $250.00 9/4/2007
Evans 2008 Ellington Plaza-DG Partnership $500.00 6/20/2008
Evans 2008 Ellington Plaza-DG Partnership $250.00 9/4/2007
Evans 2008 Petworth Metro Ventures, LLC $250.00 9/4/2007
Evans 2012 Clark, Larry $250.00 6/16/2011
Evans 2012 Donatelli, Chris $500.00 11/7/2011
Evans 2012 Donatelli, Karen $500.00 11/7/2011
Evans 2012 Donatelli, Louis $500.00 11/7/2011
Evans 2012 Urban Parking Ventures, LLC $250.00 11/7/2011
Fenty 2006 1407 W. St. LLC $2,000.00 7/22/2006
Fenty 2006 Donatelli, Louis & Ann $1,000.00 7/22/2006
Fenty 2006 Gates Owls Nest, LLC $2,000.00 7/22/2006
Fenty 2006 Gragg, Vance $2,000.00 10/5/2006
Fenty 2010 Clark, Larry $200.00 6/9/2010
Fenty 2010 Clark, Larry $500.00 12/5/2009
Fenty 2010 Clark, Larry $500.00 10/15/2009
Fenty 2010 Clark, Larry $300.00 1/30/2009
Fenty 2010 Clark, Larry $500.00 12/12/2008
Fenty 2010 Columbia Heights Ventures Parcel 15 $500.00 5/1/2009
Fenty 2010 Columbia Heights Ventures Parcel 26, LLC $500.00 5/1/2009
Fenty 2010 D & K Management $500.00 2/7/2009
Fenty 2010 Donatelli & Klein, Inc. $2,000.00 1/30/2009
Fenty 2010 Donatelli, Christopher $2,000.00 1/30/2009
Fenty 2010 Donatelli, Karen $2,000.00 3/10/2010
Fenty 2010 Donatelli, Louis $1,000.00 12/12/2008
Fenty 2010 Park USA, Inc. $2,000.00 12/12/2008
Fenty 2010 Urban Parking Ventures LLC $2,000.00 12/12/2008
Friends of Michael Brown Clark, Larry $250.00 3/23/2009
Friends of Michael Brown Donatelli & Klein $500.00 3/23/2009
Gray for Mayor Columbia Heights Ventures Parcel 26 LLC $1,000.00 10/13/2010
Gray for Mayor Donatelli & Klein, Inc $2,000.00 10/13/2010
Gray for Mayor DONATELLI, KAREN K. AND CHRISTOPHER J. $2,000.00 11/4/2010
Gray for Mayor Ellington Plaza-DG Partnership $2,000.00 10/13/2010
Kwame for Chair Clark, Larry $500.00 7/20/2010
Kwame for Chair Columbia Heights Ventures Parcel 15, LLC $1,500.00 6/16/2010
Kwame for Chair Columbia Heights Ventures Parcel 16, LLC $1,500.00 6/16/2010
Kwame for Chair Donatelli & Klein, Inc. $1,500.00 6/16/2010
Kwame for Chair Ellington Plaza DG LP $1,500.00 6/16/2010
Kwame for Chair Gragg, Nigel $1,500.00 7/3/2010
Kwame for Chair Urban Parking Ventures, LLC $500.00 8/23/2010
Mendelson for Council 2006 Gragg, Nigel L. $1,000.00 8/25/2006
Michael Brown 2012 Donatelli & Klein, Inc. $500.00 11/29/2011
Michael Brown 2012 Donatelli, Christopher $1,000.00 7/12/2011
Michael Brown 2012 Ellington Plaza DG LTD Partnership $1,000.00 7/12/2011
Michael Brown 2012 Kenyon Square North $500.00 11/29/2011
Muriel Bowser for Ward 4 1407 W Street, LLC $500.00 1/28/2007
Muriel Bowser for Ward 4 Clark, Larry $250.00 1/28/2007
Muriel Bowser for Ward 4 Clark, Larry $250.00 1/22/2007
Muriel Bowser for Ward 4 Columbia Heights Ventures Parcel 15 LLC $500.00 1/28/2007
Muriel Bowser for Ward 4 Columbia Heights Ventures Parcel 26, LLC $500.00 1/28/2007
Muriel Bowser for Ward 4 Donatelli & Klein, Inc. $500.00 1/28/2007
Muriel Bowser for Ward 4 Donatelli, Christopher $500.00 1/28/2007
Muriel Bowser for Ward 4 Ellington Plaza-DG Partnership $500.00 1/28/2007
Muriel Bowser for Ward 4 Gates Owls Nest LLC $500.00 1/28/2007
Muriel Bowser for Ward 4 Gragg, Nigel $500.00 1/31/2007
Muriel Bowser for Ward 4 2008 1407 W Street LLC $500.00 1/28/2008
Muriel Bowser for Ward 4 2008 Clark, Caitlin $250.00 7/31/2008
Muriel Bowser for Ward 4 2008 Columbia Heights Ventures Parcel 15 LLC $500.00 1/28/2008
Muriel Bowser for Ward 4 2008 Columbia Hieghts Ventures Parcel 26 LLC $500.00 1/28/2008
Muriel Bowser for Ward 4 2008 Donatelli & Klein Inc $500.00 1/28/2008
Muriel Bowser for Ward 4 2008 Ellington Plaza-DG Partnership $500.00 1/28/2008
Muriel Bowser for Ward 4 2008 Gragg, Nigel $500.00 3/20/2008
Muriel Bowser for Ward 4 2008 Greenhoot Inc Agt Willco Contruction Co Inc $500.00 1/29/2008
Muriel Bowser for Ward 4 2008 Kenyon Square North LLC $500.00 1/28/2008
Muriel Bowser for Ward 4 2008 Urban Parking Ventures, LLC $300.00 8/8/2008
Pannell For Senator Gragg, Nigel $51.00 6/7/2006
Re-elect Cheh 2010 Clark, Larry $250.00 6/18/2009
Re-elect Cheh 2010 Donatelli, Christopher $500.00 6/18/2009
Re-Elect Kwame R. Brown Clark, Caitlin $250.00 8/6/2008
Re-Elect Kwame R. Brown Columbia Heights Parcel 26, LLC $500.00 8/6/2008
Re-Elect Kwame R. Brown Columbia Heights Ventures Parcel 15, LLC $500.00 8/6/2008
Re-Elect Kwame R. Brown Donatelli & Klein, Inc. $500.00 8/6/2008
Re-Elect Kwame R. Brown Ellington Plaza-DG Partnership $500.00 8/6/2008
Re-Elect Kwame R. Brown Gragg, Nigel $1,000.00 8/15/2008
Re-Elect Kwame R. Brown Kenyon Square North, LLC $500.00 8/6/2008
Re-Elect Kwame R. Brown Urban Parking Ventures, LLC $500.00 11/20/2008
Re-Elect Paul Strauss 2008 Kenyon Square North, LLC $500.00 8/5/2008
Re-Elect Tommy Wells Clark, Larry $500.00 7/22/2009
Re-Elect Tommy Wells Donatelli, Karen $500.00 7/22/2009
$106,401.00

by W Jordan on Dec 27, 2011 1:38 pm • linkreport

from the donkey's mouth: Evans' fundraiser for CSFs video: http://youtu.be/6af33jicV2I

...no mention of parking tickets, sports tickets, DeerPark water for the office, well connected ANC Commissioners, etc.

by @CCCAPrez on Dec 27, 2011 2:57 pm • linkreport

And the Martin Moulton hard-on continues for Jack Evans. For God's sake, Mart, ask the guy out already.

by Em on Dec 27, 2011 6:50 pm • linkreport

Oh, ... Em.../Paco Fimbres/Mayor Gray's *current* TheOne Director:

We're just li'l ol' citizens who "wish" (when our expectations have been lowered to the gutter) for honesty and integrity from deecee gubbamint officials who represent and supposedly serve us. Is that so much to ask for, Quien no sabe?

(And let's just leave the sexual innuendos for the prostitutes/contortionists who take money for the strange positions they take from one moment to the next.)

¡Feliz año nuevo!

by El Hombre Murciélago on Dec 27, 2011 7:57 pm • linkreport


My previous post represents some of what was spent,$106,401, by Donatelli Development and affiliates via bundling to ensure that their interests were placed ahead of the interests of the neighborhoods in which they developed. I don't believe $106K bought off our government nor these elected officials in the crudest since, but a blind eye here or a fudge of rules there. It greases the system in a way that can be and was worth 10s of millions to the bundler.

For example, in order for Donatelli Development to move forward with Phase II of Highland Park and refinance Highland I in Columbia Heights, they needed to neutralize their community benefits responsibilities, including ensuring the construction of the LaCasa SRO. The person with Council oversight of the LaCasa project was CM Tommy Wells as chair of Human Services. Wells at the hearing made all kinds of noise about the homeless, but did nothing to hold Donatelli Development responsible for throwing the homeless into the cold at the start of hypothermia season, to make it easier for Donatelli Development to refinance their failed condo project. The money basically made it easier for CM Wells and the Council not do it jobs, by keeping the specifics of this issue off the agenda. The money does not corrupt overtly, but in more subtle ways.

In the TOD and New Urbanist community Donatelli Development is a model. I wonder what I would see if I crossed checked donor lists of organizations that promote TOD and New Urbanism with political bundlers what I would find. The same with advertisers for other blogs that promote these isseus. Especially if I cross reference the timing of that giving with support needed by bundlers in public matters?

I don't think we need new laws as much as people with a little more integrity be they citizen, advocates or politicians.

William

by W Jordan on Dec 28, 2011 9:14 am • linkreport

For example, in order for Donatelli Development to move forward with Phase II of Highland Park and refinance Highland I in Columbia Heights, they needed to neutralize their community benefits responsibilities, including ensuring the construction of the LaCasa SRO.

It's my understanding that the city didn't cough up their share of the money to build this shelter. Have you got any further information?

As far as "developer interests" go: I hate to parrot "what's good for GM is good for America", but the truth of the matter is, the most critical project for DC at this point should be building housing for taxpaying residents. Increasingly middle-class people want to live in the city; capturing those income tax dollars is critical to DC's long-term solvency. And it's ability to deliver a strong social safety net.

by oboe on Dec 28, 2011 11:20 am • linkreport


The city was working on behalf of the developer, that's what the money bought, killing the project. Unfortunately, Donatelli's city subsidized over-priced efforts is having the opposite affect and not adding to solvency and as the examble shows undermining the safety net. As well so called good government. This is in part why I used this examble, it helps bring some reality to the myth you and others spout.

by W Jordan on Dec 28, 2011 12:41 pm • linkreport

Pelham1861: After almost 40 years of largely inept and corrupt government...

Lowest homicide rate in 50 years; highest current population increase rate in the metro area; stable budget structure in the face of a national economic crisis; a focus on quality of life issues and sustainability; a surging middle class - yeah, what a disaster DC's government is.

There seems to be an increasing level of whining (of the unjustified variety) among the commenters here, which is really a shame. Yes, there are problems in DC (including some corruption), as there are anywhere. But inaccurate and overwrought complaining is detrimental to addressing them.

by Arnold on Dec 30, 2011 11:32 am • linkreport

"After almost 40 years of largely inept and corrupt government...."

If corruption is the standard by which a government should be shut down, we'll get in line behindVirginia, which has been at this a lot longer than us. You think they'd have figured it out by now.

by David C on Dec 30, 2011 11:52 am • linkreport

The city was working on behalf of the developer, that's what the money bought, killing the project. Unfortunately, Donatelli's city subsidized over-priced efforts is having the opposite affect and not adding to solvency and as the examble shows undermining the safety net. As well so called good government. This is in part why I used this examble, it helps bring some reality to the myth you and others spout.

There's probably an argument to be made around here somewhere, but I'm not sure showing that small campaign contributions were made and that some complex project proceeded in a complex way is going to convince anyone who doesn't already have their mind made up.

Why not submit an article that lays it out?

by oboe on Dec 30, 2011 1:22 pm • linkreport


First note who got the big money Graham & Fenty. Then note the amount of city property and WMATA property awarded to Donatelli Development.

Donatelli Development(DD) and others have built Luxury Condo projects that did not sell in a timely manner. Not because of a general lack of demand, but becuase they were priced there product beyond what the market would absorb. Note Donatelli got the land for most of its projects way below market from the city or other public entities. Instead of being forced to mark-to-market the city bailed them out, via tax abatements, extended development rights and so on. What this means is the government has been using resources designed to support middle and moderate income families to help DD others hold speculative prices.

DD got the abatement and then opened a sports bar in their project which pays no property taxes. Basically, homeless were pushed into the cool to allow DD to open a bar with a subsidy.

CFO Report
http://app.cfo.dc.gov/services/fiscal_impact/pdf/spring09/B18-231_.pdf

Tax abatements, exemptions to face new scrutiny in D.C.
http://www.bizjournals.com/washington/print-edition/2011/09/30/tax-abatements-exemptions-to-face-new.html

DONATELLI WANTS WARD 7 TAX BREAK http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/mike-debonis/post/demorning-debonis-march-21-2011/2011/03/21/ABNUPg6_blog.html

Graham Donatelli Diagram
http://newcolumbiaheights.blogspot.com/2011/03/william-jordan-on-jim-grahams.html

by W Jordan on Dec 30, 2011 5:24 pm • linkreport

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