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  • DC Residents Have Little Faith In Mayor To Address Corruption Problems

    After revelations that a Super-PAC supporting Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser was using a loophole in city law to raise unlimited sums of money, residents say they want to do away with the practice.

    According to a recent Washington Post poll, 53 percent of D.C. residents say they want to see a ban on all contributions to candidates from people or businesses that are attempting to do business with the city.

    Along those same lines, the Post poll shows that residents have little faith in Bowser to eliminate the corruption that has plagued the city over the past decade.

    Just 37 percent of residents said Bowser was doing a good job reducing corruption in city government, and only around one in four think she is doing a good job reducing the influence of wealthy political donors on government decisions.

    Members of Bowser’s 2014 campaign team set up the Super-PAC, called FreshPAC, to help elect members to the D.C. Council that are friendly to Bowser’s ideas and some believe the effort was little more than a thinly-veiled pay-to-play political scheme.

    In October, seven members of the 13-member council introduced legislation that would close the loophole in campaign finance laws that currently allows political action committees to raise unlimited funds in non-election years.

    “Unlimited donations undermine the voice of the people, which is why I introduced this measure to close the loophole that allows political action committees to raise unlimited donations in non-election years,” Council Member David Grosso said while introducing the bill.

    Following public outcry and backlash from the council, Bowser and her supporters closed down the PAC and returned the more than $300,000 it had already raised.

    Before the PAC was shut down, it brought in donations several developers actively bidding for parts of the city’s revamping of the Southwest Waterfront have donated $10,000 or more. Three other men appointed to boards by Bowser also donated $10,000 each to the PAC.

    Bowser appointed one of those men, Buwa Binitie, a managing principal at the developer Dantes Partners, to the Housing Finance Agency Board of Directors. In July, Binitie donated $10,000 to FreshPAC. Shortly after the donation, the council confirmed Binitie’s nomination.

    Steve Adams, president of two private ambulance companies based near Atlanta, Ga., donated $10,000 to FreshPac Oct. 1. Two days prior, Bowser began pushing legislation that will bring private ambulances into the city to handle low priority calls.

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