City State: Morning Roundup

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D.C. MAYOR VINCENT C. GRAY’S CAMPAIGN ACCEPTED CASH DONATIONS above the city’s legal limit and in some cases recorded donations from people who say they didn’t contribute to his mayoral bid, according to a review by The Washington Post of D.C. records and interviews. The paper found several instances of cash donations that exceeded the city’s $25 limit. Gray campaign workers then improperly exchanged that cash for money orders, which carry a higher donation limit. The campaign officially reported the money-order donations and not the cash, according to the paper.

Money-order donations totaled more than $56,000 — primarily from the city’s taxi industry — and are part of the $2.7 million war chest the Gray campaign amassed in last year’s defeat of incumbent Mayor Adrian M. Fenty, who spent nearly $5 million on his re-election bid. Revelations about the money orders and cash follow allegations that Gray’s campaign paid and promised a job to Sulaimon Brown, a minor mayoral candidate, to entice him to stay in the race and disparage Mr. Fenty. The U.S. attorney’s office is investigating Mr. Brown’s allegations as part of a criminal probe. Mr. Gray, a Democrat, has denied any wrongdoing. Taken together, the allegations suggest that officials in Mr. Gray’s campaign either didn’t know the law or disregarded it.

THE D.C. LOTTERY IS TAPPING ITS BREAKS on every aspect of its unprecedented Internet gambling plans, though city residents wouldn’t have lost a dime by playing demo games slated to begin this week. After a public hearing made it plain that more input is needed before the District of Columbia offers i-Gaming in homes and public hot spots, the lottery postponed its plans. Demos intended to allow players to try the games before wagering money are on hold as well, in a turnabout from the scheduled launch of Blackjack and Victory at Sea in late July and four more games in August, The Washington Times reports.

THE FATE OF EXTENDING METRORAIL TO WASHINGTON DULLES INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT is expected to end this week with a series of votes starting today. The angry debate has gone on for months between Northern Virginia officials and the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority about the design and cost of Metrorail to Dulles and into Loudoun County. But the outcome relies on agreement among the Fairfax and Loudoun counties and the authority about a funding proposal put forth earlier this month by U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, according to the Washington Examiner.

The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors is voting today whether to move forward with the proposal, which calls for a less-expensive, above-ground station instead of a below-ground one. Fairfax officials have suggested enough support for the proposal to move forward. The airports authority board will vote on the proposal Wednesday morning. On Wednesday afternoon, the stakeholders will report back to Mr. LaHood with their decisions.

VIRGINIA’S STATE GOVERNMENT ended its fiscal year June 30 with a surplus of $311 million, according to state documents obtained by the Associated Press. Gov. Bob McDonnell, a Republican, plans to detail today at a news conference how the state ended the year with the unspent balance. After three years of revenue shortfalls, Virginia cut spending, found savings and used federal stimulus cash to balance budgets the past two years. The bulk of the surplus comes from individual income tax collections that exceeded forecasts by nearly $200 million, according to a draft analysis of final revenues from fiscal 2011.

VIRGINIA’S CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION IS RAMPING UP its fundraising, with vulnerable lawmakers stockpiling cash ahead of the 2012 November election. Reports filed last week with the Federal Election Commission show that Rep. Gerald Connolly, a Democrat, has the most money in the bank of any of the state’s lawmakers who face potentially tough challenges in 2012, The Washington Post reports. Mr. Connolly, whose 11th District includes portions of Fairfax and Prince William counties, raised $270,000 in the second quarter of the year and had $456,000 on hand as of June 30. No Republicans have stepped forward to challenge him thus far.

A FEMALE EMPLOYEE OF THE D.C. DEPARTMENT OF YOUTH REHABILITATION SERVICES has accused her male supervisor of forcing her to perform oral sex in his office over a period of several months, prompting investigations by local police, D.C. officials and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. A Metropolitan Police Department incident report dated July 12, a copy of which was obtained by The Washington Times, states that the alleged sexual abuse occurred from February through May. The accusations come at a sensitive time for the agency under new Director Neil Stanley. DYRS has struggled with youth escapes, guard beatings and employee morale.

AT LEAST THREE PEOPLE WERE INJURED IN FOUR D.C. SHOOTINGS over a 24-hour period Sunday and Monday, according to fire and police officials. Two locations that officials responded to for reports of shootings were just blocks from corners where D.C. firefighters have been stationed as crime deterrents. In one instance, a firetruck was on its way to a post when the call about the shooting went out, and in the other instance, firefighters were not assigned to the post at the time of the reported shooting, a fire union official said. “This obviously shows they are not a crime deterrent in the neighborhoods,” Edward Smith, president of the D.C. Firefighter Association, told The Washington Times.

© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

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