- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 7, 2002

D.C. Council members are considering appointing a special prosector to investigate Mayor Anthony A. Williams and former staff members over fund-raising improprities.
"This will not end with the report," said D.C. Council member Kevin P. Chavous, Ward 7 Democrat, referring to a report released last week by the city's inspector-general. "The report was clearly more political than investigative. We need to find out what is really going on."
The 514-page report detailed inappropriate fund-raising practices in city hall: soliticing funds from city contractors, creating nonprofit organizations for political purposes and to launder money, a misuse of donations, and an appearance of quid pro quo between city officials and would-be contractors.
The mayor's staff bore the blame for these irregularities, according to the report. But it implied that investigators found it unbelievable that the mayor didn't know the details of the fund-raising activities. The report and the names of three former staff members have been forwarded to the U.S. attorney and the Internal Revenue Service for further investigation and possible indictments.
Mr. Chavous, a possible mayoral candidate in the 2002 election, and other council members called the inspector-general's $5 million, 13-month investigation "inadequate." They pledged to work with the U.S. attorney and subpoena key witnesses in the matter possibly including the mayor during council hearings that begin Tuesday, and to consider appointing a special prosecutor.
The mayor said yesterday through a spokesman that the inspector-general's investigation cleared him of any wrongdoing.
"At the end of the day, the mayor's integrity is in perfect shape," said spokesman Tony Bullock. "He didn't do anything unethical or illegal and has taken steps to ensure nothing like this ever happens again."
Many disagree. They point to a pledge by Mr. Williams when he was a mayoral candidate and accuse him of violating it.
"When I am elected as your mayor, the government will be dedicated to a new standard of integrity, accountability and openness," he said in 1998.
Some activists and political insiders who say the mayor's image is tarnished wonder what happened to that pledge.
"He will never recover his reputation or image of wanting things to be open and honest," said city activist Gary Imhoff, who with Dorothy Brizill runs the watchdog group, DCWatch. "Now he will have to strive for a different reputation. Instead of 'I'm your honest mayor,' it will have to be 'I'm your effective mayor.'"
Others say this is just a blip on an otherwise good record.
"It's unfortunate," former D.C. financial control board Chairman Alice Rivlin said. "But it isn't a major threat. It would be unfortunate if it deflects from the business of improving the government and the economy."
City officials say this isn't the first time this type of thing has come up. Since 1999, the mayor has been accused of using solicited funds to pay for his mother's chauffeur, and received citations from the D.C. Office of Campaign Finance for not declaring a $40,000 donation from city contractors Arthur Andersen and Nations Bank for consulting work, and using city staff and resources in suppport of a charter amendment to remake the D.C. school board.

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