- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 2, 2002

Local Democrats yesterday said the findings in the D.C. Inspector General's report on unethical fund raising in the Office of D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Wiliiams will not be a stumbling block for the mayor's re-election campaign.
"All in all, [the report] has not been met with as much thunder as I thought it would," said Budd Lane, Ward 2 Democratic State Committee chairman.
Ward 8 Democratic State Committee Chairman Phil Pannel said the end result is "outside of hard-core political junkies and I hate to say this no one really cares."
Inspector General Charles C. Maddox last week released a report on his 13-month-long investigation that did not directly implicate Mr. Williams in illegal or unethical campaign practices, but held him accountable for such activity in the mayor's office.
According to the report, former Deputy Chiefs of Staff Mark A. Jones and Henry "Sandy" McCall, his predecessor, solicited funds from private donors most of them companies with city contracts and instructed them to pay event vendors directly for events like the 2000 Millennium Celebration. They also solicited funds on behalf of private entities or took control of funds in their custody and paid vendors directly.
When Mr. McCall was reassigned to raising money for the Millennium Celebration, Mr. Jones picked up where Mr. McCall had left off in mayoral fund raising, the report states.
"Both patterns bypassed accounting and disclosure requirements, as well as the procurement process," the report says.
Mr. Maddox said in the report that it is hard to believe Mr. Williams had no knowledge of the fund-raising practices, noting it took place through a succession of staffers.
"Because critical witnesses provided contradictory statements, it is difficult to determine the extent of the mayor's knowledge of the fund-raising activities of his staff," Mr. Maddox said in the report. "Nevertheless, Mayor Williams is accountable and responsible for the conduct of … employees under his immediate supervision."
The Maddox investigation found "the possibility of criminal violations in only a few instances, and these matters have been referred" to the U.S. attorney for the District, the report states.
"I haven't seen anything that shows any attempt by the mayor or anyone else to feather their nest," said Mr. Lane, 69.
Mr. Williams, who has raised more than $1 million for his re-election bid, currently has no challengers for his office.
The Inspector General's report embarrasses a Democratic mayor who ran as a reformer touting his financial-management skills and high ethical standards.
In fact, the report marks the third ethical lapse in Mr. Williams' administration: In his 1998 mayoral campaign, he failed to disclose that he earned $40,000 in consulting fees from companies that were doing business with the District when he was the city's chief financial officer. After the matter was investigated by the city elections board, he apologized and paid a $1,000 fine.
Last year, the D.C. Office of Campaign Finance found that Mr. Williams violated personnel regulations by using city workers to campaign for a favorable vote in a June 27 referendum to create a hybrid school board of elected and appointed members.
On Friday, Mr. Williams apologized for his lack of oversight in the fund-raising scandal, saying staffers who committed the most egregious infractions "are no longer members of my administration."
Mr. Lane and others said it is too early to tell how much damage the Maddox report will do to Mr. Williams politically.
"City residents don't have all of the facts," said David M. Pernell III, advisory neighborhood commissioner for Ward 6.
"People who are opposed to Williams will search the report for anything damaging to the mayor, but supporters will discount the whole thing," said Mr. Pannel.


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