- Israel hits symbols of Hamas rule; scores killed
- Mississippi abortion law can’t be enforced
- Teacher who survived Sandy Hook has book deal
- Jury awards Jesse Ventura $1.8M in case vs. ‘American Sniper’ author Chris Kyle
- Government OKs Arab-owned company to operate U.S. cargo port
- Defense lawyer: McDonnell’s wife had ‘crush’ on CEO
- Chinese hackers stole ‘huge quantities’ of sensitive data on Israel’s Iron Dome
- House Republicans unveil bill to speed deportations of border children
- Californians protest middle school for hiring white man to teach cultural studies
- Killer’s sentencing overturned because mother couldn’t find seat in courtroom
Petitioners for D.C. corporate political donations ban sprint to get the issue before voters
Question of the Day
D.C. activist Bryan Weaver said he was surprised to find his name missing from a master list of voters that the D.C. Board of Elections considers to be valid signers of a petition that may lead to a ban on direct corporate contributions to the city’s political campaigns.
He was, after all, the one who spearheaded the effort for the better part of this year. He said another key organizer was missing from the roll as well, but their attorney made the list.
“It’s maddening,” he said.
Their group, the D.C. Committee to Restore Public Trust, plans to argue in D.C. Superior Court on Thursday that the elections board used a confusing and inconsistent system to reject signatures on their petitions for ballot access on Nov. 6, which would allow voters to decide whether to curtail corporate influence in city elections after a scandal-plagued year.
Last month, the board rejected the group’s petitions on the basis of too few signatures, forcing the group to start from scratch and gather more than 23,000 valid signatures in order to qualify for the ballot in a later election.
The group initially accused the board of grossly miscounting its valid signatures. Now, the group says the board failed to mention a color-coded system of green and red checks that determine whether a signature is valid or not, an important detail considering the group pored over black-and-white petition pages while forming its appeal.
Elections officials argue that members of the group are the ones who failed to follow established rules and did not take steps to accurately monitor the process and research the notation system for eliminating invalid signatures.
In a scathing motion to dismiss, the elections board said the group was simply careless in its “rush” to get the initiative on the general election ballot. The volunteer group counted “OKs” and check marks in the board’s notations without considering additional nuances within the city’s two-phased, color-coded system that determines which signatures are valid and which are not, the board said.
“Had they emphasized accuracy and validity over speed,” the board said, “they might have detected in a timely fashion the numerous address mismatches, duplicate signatures, non-registrant or inactive signers and other defects that have proved fatal for the petition.”
At a status conference Thursday, Judge Laura A. Cordero ordered the petition group to submit a response to the board’s motion to dismiss the case by Tuesday, giving her time to review it Wednesday, before a courtroom showdown the next day. The parties agreed Thursday that the case must be settled by Sept. 9 to allow time to print and distribute absentee ballots 45 days before the election.
“Civil cases usually take months,” Judge Cordero said. “We don’t have months.”
The calendar looms large in the trust’s push for the November election, when voters are expected to stream to the polls to cast their ballots for president and a number of D.C. Council seats. Volunteers for the trust had gathered more than 30,000 signatures by fanning out across the city this summer in an effort to stem a stream of scandal and suspicion that has emanated from city hall.
Most notably, federal prosecutors say Mayor Vincent C. Gray’s 2010 campaign benefited from at least $650,000 in undocumented funds, whether the now-mayor knew it or not, from a city contractor hoping to protect his lucrative managed care contract with the District. The development capped off months of uproar over suspicious money orders and bundled contributions that D.C. politicians received from powerful donors who maximized their influence by contributing over and over again through their corporate subsidiaries.
After the trust began its hard-line approach to the issue, Mr. Gray asked the D.C. attorney general to help him develop more nuanced campaign reforms. This week Mr. Gray unveiled the resulting legislation, which among its reforms bans contractors who do big business with the city from donating to political campaigns and forces corporate donors to reveal their stake in subsidiary companies.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Tom Howell Jr. covers politics for The Washington Times. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Sen. Joe Manchin sued by his brother over old loan: report
- Putin a 'megalomaniac' who must be challenged with force: Sen. Johnson
- New Mexico decides to use HealthCare.gov for 2015
- New Englander Scott Brown turns his gaze to the U.S. border crisis
- HHS: 'Donut hole' reforms saved Medicare enrollees $11.5 billion since 2010
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
- Boehner rules out impeachment: 'Scam started by Democrats'
- Obama thanks Muslims for 'building the very fabric of our nation'
- PHILLIPS: Once-in-a-century stupidity
- Federal judge grants 90-day stay in D.C. gun case
- D.C. seeks to stay judge's order allowing gun owners to carry in public
- Obama: 'Not a new Cold War,' but new Russia sanctions announced
- Smugglers, rainstorm combine to poke holes in border fence
- Obama's brother wears Hamas scarf bearing anti-Israel slogans in photo
- Illegal immigrants demand representation in White House meetings
- Hillary Clinton: Forget Obama, George W. Bush made her 'proud to be an American'
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world