- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 18, 2011

D.C. Council member Yvette Alexander and her vocal opponent in next year’s race to represent Ward 7 are breathing sighs of relief now that recent investigations have largely cleared both of mishandling government money.

The investigation on Ms. Alexander focused on her handling of a constituent services fund. The other focused on how the nonprofit group Peaceoholics, co-founded by Alexander opponent Ron Moton, handled $13.8 million in grant money.

While it is unclear how the findings will impact the April 2012 primary election, both candidates were quick to underscore any differences between their situations.

Ms. Alexander said the investigation into Peaceoholics concerned government money while hers concerned “private” money.

“I don’t equate the two,” she said.

Ronald Moten (The Washington Times)
Ronald Moten (The Washington Times) more >

Acting D.C. Auditor Yolanda Branche released an audit of the Peaceoholics late Wednesday that found the nonprofit lacked the internal controls to monitor funds it received from government agencies and the Child and Youth Investment Trust Corporation from 2005 to 2010, though the group made a “significant contribution” to the District.

Ms. Alexander had asked the auditor to look into the Peaceoholics‘ financial disclosure forms and potential role in the 2010 mayoral race between incumbent Adrian M. Fenty and eventual winner Vincent C. Gray, both of whom were Democrats.

Ms. Alexander supported Mr. Gray, while Mr. Moten supported Mr. Fenty.

Ms. Alexander said she called for the audit amid concerns about the lack of checks and balances in accounting for the funds. She also was worried that other groups did not get a chance to compete for $1.3 million in grants and subgrants to Peaceoholics that were not competitively bid.

She was also critical of how the government awarded the grants, saying it “wasn’t on top of the job,”

“Where’s the fairness in all of it?” she asked. “We need to look at where the ball was dropped.”

Mr. Moten said he is happy Ms. Alexander asked for an audit because it revealed “we have not stolen any money, we have not misappropriated any money.”

He also said the investigation into Ms. Alexander is of more concern because she used less than 5 percent of her constituent services fund on those in dire need.

“I think ours is totally different than Yvette‘s,” Mr. Moten said. “We spent the money on the people.”

Ms. Alexander says she can account for robocall expenditures and a number of missing checks, two issues that resulted in a $4,000 fine from the Office of Campaign Finance.

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