New Math at the Fenty Campaign

This just in (too late for today's political notebook in the D.C. Extra):

A former volunteer with Adrian M. Fenty's mayoral campaign has filed a complaint with the D.C. Office of Campaign Finance accusing the Ward 4 council member of overstating political contributions by $21,127.51.

The volunteer, Sulaimon Brown, an auditor by trade, said he caught the mistake by plugging individual donations detailed in Fenty's Jan. 31 campaign finance report into an Excel spreadsheet and adding them up. Brown said the result fell substantially short of Fenty's declared total of $692,342.51 for the period between Aug. 1 and Jan. 31.

Together with money collected last summer, Fenty (D) reported raising $905,800.51 since he entered the race in June, putting him ahead of all other candidates for mayor in the race for cash. Council chairman Linda W. Cropp (D) reported raising $821,233.29 since entering the campaign in September.

Fenty aide Alec Evans acknowledged that the finance report contains a number of errors, including six contributions that were double-counted. But the mistakes add up to $3,251, Evans said; "there's nothing close to $21,000."

Evans described Brown as "disgruntled," and Brown acknowledged that he quit the campaign after Fenty refused to pay him a salary or reimburse him for routine expenses, such as gasoline. But Brown said that dispute is irrelevant to the errors he found.

"You want to run a city with an $8 billion budget and you can't even file a $700,000 report?" Brown said. " I wouldn't want him balancing my checkbook."

Fenty isn't the only mayoral candidate being questioned about finances.

Companies with ties to developer and philanthropist Stephen A. Goldberg have contributed $40,000 in campaign contributions to mayoral candidate Linda W. Cropp and another $60,000 to an independent political action committee that posted signs and broadcast radio ads on Cropp's behalf. The Office of Campaign Finance is checking to see if the contributions, from more than two dozen companies, meet legal restrictions, which limit campaign contributions from individuals and corporations to $2,000 per candidate.

Cropp acknowledges that the large sums may raise eyebrows. But she insists they are perfectly legitimate.

Goldberg, a registered Republican who lives in Northwest D.C., isn't talking.

By Lori Montgomery |  February 16, 2006; 8:00 AM ET
Previous: Daylight Debate | Next: Baseball Bean Counting

Comments

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Sulaimon Brown claims to be an auditor by trade- I wonder why he isn't working in that field- Of course the Fenty campaign should have made sure that nothing was double counted but as all campaigns know the money comes in until the last minute and you need to make the filing deadline so the newspapers can get the story- there hasn't been even a Presidential campaign that didn't have to correct figures after the fact on their filings. I guess it's easier for the people who don't raise much money. So it's really not a big deal- I wish Mr. Brown good luck and hope he finds a real job and can be productive.

Adrian Fenty will make a great Mayor- I happen to think Tony Williams made a great Mayor and he couldn't even get himself on the ballot no less file accurate signatures. His campaign was sued by people after the fact on disputes on what was owed etc. None of this impacts on how good a Mayor the person will be.

Let's focus on the real issues- and we in the city will be so much better off.

Posted by: dupont | February 16, 2006 11:43 AM

Accountability appears to be a real issue, Dupont.

Posted by: Bob | February 16, 2006 01:09 PM

let fenty be fenty and watch his numbers dive

Posted by: caroline | February 16, 2006 01:35 PM

Having worked on campaigns for ten years, there's no excuse for making mistakes on financial reports. There's a reporting deadline and a filing deadline (usually two weeks after) that provides plenty of time to get one's number right.

Interesting that dupont smears Brown instead of defending Fenty. Says a lot about the support Fenty has and about Fenty himself. In my book he's a political grandstander of the very worst kind.

If we want to talk about issues, let's talk baseball and why Fenty is trying to shake down baseball owners. He's upset that they make too much money. What business is that of his? If he can't realize the long-term benefits of having a team in the city, the hell with him.

Posted by: Glover Park | February 16, 2006 01:57 PM

I thought that was the point of the Web generally and blogs specifically...any idiot can say whatever they want, regardless of its veracity.

Hey, at least the Post didn't hire Jayson Blair or sit on a story about domestic wire tapping for over a year!

Posted by: Glover Park, DC | February 16, 2006 02:14 PM

Fenty shaking down MLB?!

I don't think so.

How about this:

1. MLB Shakes down Mayor (and city taxpayers)
2. Cropp shakes things up, but still lets us get held up. . .

Posted by: Another Idiot with an opinion | February 16, 2006 02:19 PM

I never said Fenty shook down MLB, only that 1) he wanted to and 2) he was preoccupied with the financial matters of others.

On the topic of financial matters, who can forget Fenty parading about his financial accomplishments for the city, including working on issuing bonds on behalf of the city and then he couldn't name the three bond rating services!

Oh yeah, he's qualified!

Posted by: Glover Park, DC | February 16, 2006 02:21 PM

"ANother idiot..." brings up an interesting point. No one has ever accomplished anything, let along won an election by despising the rich. Everyone wants to be rich! Let's create opportunities so everyone can have a few mucks in the bank.

As soon as Democrats learn that lesson they might win something for a change.

Posted by: Glover Park, DC | February 16, 2006 02:29 PM

Having had the opportunity to volunteer for the Fenty campaign with Mr. Brown, I can say that he is individual of specious character. His spurious claim suggests the Fenty campaign is trying to 'cook the books.' I would bet any discrepancy in the actual funds raised by the campaign is probably the result of honest error rather than the type of duplicity that Mr. Brown has proven himself to capable of. It's a shame that Mr. Brown would sully his reputation because he wanted payment for his volunteer services to campaign. This ethic will likely make him a very attractive campaigner for the other four candidates, however. Good luck, Mr. Brown.

Posted by: IDiop | February 16, 2006 02:29 PM

Nice to see that Mr. Fenty has rallied the troops to attack someone. Truly says a lot about Fenty's character!

Honest mistake or not (and I personally believe it WAS an honest mistake), if Fenty can't get a simple report right, why should we trust him with the city?

Posted by: | February 16, 2006 02:36 PM

Glover Park - I don't know exactly how you are going to get your own personal cut of the stadium construction deal, but I do know that baseball owners in other cities have been paying for a MUCH higher share of stadium construction costs. DC taxpayers got rolled and Fenty knows it. Why don't you?

Posted by: Another Idiot with an opinion | February 16, 2006 02:52 PM

I do know it. I don't care. The long-term benefits vastly outweigh any short-term compromises we had to make to get baseball. Besdies, tax-payer won't get hiut. Businesses are the ones fronting most of the costs. But if you're as informed as you proport, you would know that.

Understanding the difference is the key to understanding the difference between leadership and politics. Too bad, Mr. Fenty doesn't know that one.

Posted by: Glover Park, DC | February 16, 2006 03:01 PM

I'm not sure why this story is overshadowing the Cropp developers contributions story -- much more daunting if you ask me. My understanding is that Cropp's contributions overall tilt heavily toward the max, and the number of contributions is relatively small.

Posted by: SE | February 16, 2006 03:46 PM

Why is Fenty paying Ward 3 Candidate Sam Brooks so much money for?

$7K in August alone.

Posted by: Not John Rees | February 16, 2006 04:00 PM

In response to "Not John Rees," my colleague at the Post, Lori Montgomery, interviewed Brooks who told her that he was working for the Fenty campaign last summer. He was before he announced he was running for council in Ward 3.

Posted by: Yolanda Woodlee | February 16, 2006 05:06 PM

In response to "Not John Rees," my colleague at the Post, Lori Montgomery, interviewed Brooks who told her that he was working for the Fenty campaign last summer. He was before he announced he was running for council in Ward 3.

Posted by: Yolanda Woodlee | February 16, 2006 05:06 PM

oops, I meant to write:"It was before he announced he was running for council in Ward 3." Pardon the error... Thanks

Posted by: Yolanda Woodlee | February 16, 2006 05:10 PM

I've got to agree w/dupont. An alleged accounting error, particularly an overstatement, simply doesn't strike me as worthy of much remark.

Interesting, though, how Linda's campaign gets vast sums from out of town (republican) developers while, at the same time, she votes to subsidize MLB. I'm sure it's just coincidence.

Posted by: Mark | February 16, 2006 05:28 PM

because fenty currently has more enablers than cropp. the financial funny business of the cropp campaign is not a one day story but will discussed throughout the campaign and the voters will decide in september.

Posted by: caroline | February 16, 2006 05:29 PM

why is everyone so surprised at the fenty over statement of money. How soon we forget. Remember Fenty could not even handle a 25k estate without money getting missing so are we surprised that he can't handle a small campaign which is his own finances. Oh don't forget they get to split the money at the end of the campaign. No he is not ready to run our city which is a 8 billion dollar budget. He can't count nor can he manage.

Posted by: ward 4 resident | February 16, 2006 07:39 PM

Well, if you're Cropp, you wouldn't need it. If you got an overdaft, you could just call that developer and get another questionably legal contribution funneled through another dummy company.

Posted by: balance my checkbook | February 16, 2006 08:23 PM

Alledgely funneling money through a dummy company and being a dummy. Cropp vs. Fenty

Posted by: Rubenstein Georgetown | February 18, 2006 05:46 AM

I will not vote for Fenty because of his making issue of "age" in his campaign. This using age as an issue says he is bigoted on the basis of age and we do not need a bigot as out mayor.

Furthermore, Fenty is a man of bad judgment because he chose people like Brown, Brooks and Evans to be on his team. These three are the biggest losers known in the DC political community and as the saying goes, you are judged by the company you keep.

Posted by: Grandpa Jones | February 18, 2006 08:43 AM

I do not get it. Why are some of our Democratic candidate running to die hard Republicans for their campaign financing? Fenty was first, Cropp was next, Brooks for city council was third and down the line.

Is it these people can't get money from Democrats or are they closet case Republicans running as Democrats.

Posted by: Free Republican $$ For All | February 18, 2006 08:48 AM

There is a conflict here Yolanda. Fenty's only paid Brooks $3,000 a month not $7,000. Thus a $7,000 figure might have been a total since Brooks only worked for Fenty a few months before Billy Lightfoot convinced Fenty to drop Brooks as a liability to his campaign.

Now Brooks is sitting at home collecting unemployment insurance from the DC Government and using that and his own campaign funding to sit outside of Mexican restaurants downing whatever.

Fenty is a loser and seems to be attracted to other losers.

Posted by: A Man Inside Team Fenty | February 18, 2006 09:00 AM

I hope the Washington Post IT folks can track the above post and compare it to some of the other scathing remarks about other candidates on other DC Wire threads, and then perhaps check some of the IP posts at DCist and DCpages to see if it is that guy Rees.

Posted by: Gee | February 18, 2006 03:35 PM

I'm sure that several of the above posts are by Rees. possible even that one.

Note that he's begun using a service that anonymizes IPs (a proxy service). He even included the links to those services, accidentally of course, on a recent post on the Tenleytown Yahoogroup. So the IP issue can't be used to reliably catch him anymore. however, it can be used to document his on-online activities prior to January, when he apparently discovered proxy services.

FYI

Posted by: ....... | February 18, 2006 08:22 PM

big deal if he playes charades. this is a blog not a legal instrument. please lighten up and enjoy the forum the WP has provided:)

Posted by: so what | February 19, 2006 07:53 AM

Alleging that a political opponent was fired by Mr. Lightfoot is an allegation that can be easily proven by Mr. Lightfoot. However, making the statement without foundation leaves it there for others to have to verify. This might be acceptable behavior for a 6th grader, but for a serious political candidate, it is abhorrant.

The concistent pattern of mucking up public listservers and blogs with half-truth and innuendo is just outright getting old. Impersonating public figures and law-enforcement officials is illegal, and stupid.

I am glad you think it is ok.

Posted by: ?so what | February 19, 2006 09:38 AM

I checked out some of the links posted here and elsewhere. If anyone wants to see what Rees is all about, this is pretty funny:

http://www.dcmessageboards.com/index.php?showtopic=7756

Posted by: ?so what | February 19, 2006 02:36 PM

Letís stick with the issue at hand. Is Adrian Fenty competent? The article so well written by the Washington Post clearly identifies a pattern of inexperience and incompetence. It doesn't take a brain surgeon to file a simple financial report of how many checks did I collect and how much of it did I spend. This is simple addition and subtraction. If fenty can't do that, do you think he should be mayor?

Posted by: T. Freidman Woodley Park | February 19, 2006 02:46 PM

I disagreed with Mr. Fenty's lack of forethought on the baseball funding issue, so I am probably the wrong person to ask. That said, I think OCF filings, or lack thereof do speak to the managerial competency of a candidate.

Posted by: ?so what | February 19, 2006 03:01 PM

One more thing, how is the Fenny campaign going to balance the city's budget, if they can't balance their own? If the report was complicated to file and dealt with a lot of money, I could understand the a ledge mistake, but come on guys face it, the only thing you all could do in response is attack the outstanding citizen who reported the error. Is that Mr. Fentys plan if he gets elected and a city worker finds an error? Is he going to attack that person or fix the problem?

Posted by: T. Freidman Woodley Park | February 19, 2006 03:06 PM

I would like to see an impartial party take a look at ALL the candidates' campaign finance reports. I would be shocked if there weren't inaccuracies in all of them--whether they be honest errors or intentional misrepresentations. Seems to me the Post should do its own legwork on all the candidates, rather than reporting an allegation from a single source--especially when, credible or not, the source is NOT impartial.

Posted by: my 2 cents | February 19, 2006 08:48 PM

In response to my 2 cents, thatís the job of the office of campaign finance, which according to the article is where the information came from. They are impartial and do look into all campaign finances. It sounds as though youíre NOT impartial. I think the Post is doing and has been doing a fine job for years to report accurate and credible information to the public. Donít blame the Post and the citizen who reported the error for the incompetence of Adrian Fenty.

Posted by: Ward 3 resident | February 21, 2006 06:11 AM

IF YOU CARE TO READ:
The Mayor and The City Council are the same...approving WASA, Pepco, Washington Gas to increase rates beyond the average cost of living increase.

Mayor Williams...just diverted D.C.funds from investing in people to building a Convention Center. Now, the neglected and overtaxed "Middle Class" are being forced out of the city.

Wms. & City Council Attack on Blacks...
Closed Vocational schools...no training young folks to earn a living in the many contruction projects and sites...
Closed D.C. General Hospital it costs $40 million to operate annually, HOWEVER, $40 million is given to Catholic Arch Diocese to build a new facility plus the land on Capital Hill was also given free...$40 million was handed to the Corcoran Musuem and Randle School was given free. A $10 dollar a month repayment doesn't carry water. The City Council members are traitors to the trust and protection of the District of Columbia residents and their hard earned funds.

Fears and Victims of crime have increased...with a $200,000.00 Chicago Police Chief who only caused the District to pay untold millions to settle lawsuits.
Chief Ramsey has cost the District lives, limbs and cash.

Take from the Colored to give to the rich...Whites, some who do not even live in the District of Columbia.

Not one Council Member will speak up for Black residents...low income or the Middle Class...but the White rich folks own these elected officials. I do admire J.Evans - he does support his rich cirlce of friends when he cleverly tilted the D.C. property tax rates to benefit the rich. And not one City Council Member fought against this disparity...the rich over the middle-class and poor.

Any new mayor can increase taxes and property taxes to get this city out of ruin. But, Williams doesn't have the nerve to demand the Federal Government to contribute its share.

This city needs a balance when bugeting its annual expenditures...between development and investing in people/programs.

Mr.Fenty...don't send a boy in to do a man's job. Mendelson is done...Bolden is a lawyer that will just add one more lawyer onto the Council.

I fought city hall to void the tax children had to pay to use public swimming pools...particular the Takoma Park pool in Ward 4.

Not one word or support from Councilmember Fenty. However, Fenty does pass a Single-Beer Can law that is illegal because the law does not affect the entire city ...only a small area in upper Ward 4. I wonder who lives there?

Crop appeals with experience and presence and name recognition. However, the Wash. Post will push Fenty.

So no matter who wins...D.C.residents will still have the same insensitivity to Children and Seniors and the Middle-Class residents.
The only thing in my way is the Hatch Act.

Posted by: Calvin H. Gurley | February 21, 2006 12:53 PM

The above post was written by someone (wonder who)impersonating Sam Brooks.

Let's see...who could be that immoral, that duplicitous, that odd...hmmm....

Posted by: AliasBoyIsBAck | February 21, 2006 11:45 PM

I guess Mr. Rees has come full circle in terms of slinging the mud and impersonating his political rivals on the internet. It's deja vu all over again.

Posted by: Please make it go away | February 22, 2006 10:01 AM

The way to prevent someone from creating multiple aliases and using them to sling mud at opponents and critics is to require posters to identify themselves honestly. Just as those submitting a letter to the editor of the print edition of the Post must give their real name, address, and daytime phone number, so should all posters to this online version of a "letters" column. The addresses and phone numbers should not be published but used by the moderators to verify a posting in the event that someone posts fraudulently under someone else's name or posts under false names.

What's the public interest in letting anonymous cyber-stalkers intimidate people?
Why is that acceptable to the Post online but not in print? And isn't it election fraud to pose as a candidate and issue statements designed to alienate voters from that candidate?

Posted by: Peggy Robin | February 22, 2006 12:29 PM

Freedom of speech is freedom of speech. It's a 1st Amendment right. You spin doctors are aggravated that this wasn't another love story written for Adrian Fenty.Everytime someone made a comment that wasn't favorable to Fenty, you spin doctors logged on and said it was some guy named Reese. Whoever that is, but who cares. Unless youíre Psychic, have accesses to the server. How do you know whoís who? You spin doctorís sound like paranoid complete idiots,like Adrian Fenty.

Posted by: Ward 3 Resident | February 22, 2006 11:49 PM

If Fenty drops out NOW! then it will become a race for mayor. All it is now is a political daycare.

Posted by: Paul Evans III | February 23, 2006 07:16 AM

Fenty's campaign is a joke. He has a racist, by the name of Sinclair Skinner, on his staff. Sinclair Skinner is the man behind the "Grahamzilla" posters and the "Georgia Ave. Defender."

Posted by: Skinner Must Go | February 24, 2006 04:27 PM

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