- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 28, 2002

The D.C. Inspector General today is expected to release a report on his investigation of reputed campaign finance and personnel improprieties in the mayor's office, city sources said yesterday.
The contents of the report were unavailable yesterday, but former and current mayoral staffers speaking on the condition of anonymity said they are nervous about the yearlong investigation's findings.
Inspector General Charles C. Maddox has been investigating charges that Mayor Anthony A. Williams' staff had raised campaign funds by misleading donors, worked on campaign strategy as part of their city-paid duties and promoted an initiative for creating a hybrid school board of elected and appointed members.
"Many people have speculated that the findings could disclose criminal and/or inappropriate conduct … impact political developments during an election year, and impact the direction of new regulations and legislation to address fund-raising activities," Mr. Maddox said in a Jan. 14 letter to Mr. Williams and D.C. Council Chairman Linda W. Cropp.
The D.C. Council estimates the investigation has cost $5 million. The annual budget for the Office of the Inspector General is $12 million.
"The inspector general told us he had devoted nearly half of his resources to this investigation," said council member David A. Catania, at-large Republican. "That is an enormous expense the city has had to bear investigating the mayor."
Council member Vincent Orange, Ward 5 Democrat, has scheduled an April 9 hearing on the report.
In January, Mr. Williams publicly apologized for his part in the fund-raising scandal, blaming two former staffers for setting up nonprofit groups that collected more than $500,000 for campaign purposes. Some donors had complained they thought they were contributing to programs to send poor children to basketball games. The mayor also announced strict new rules to prevent a recurrence of the scandal.
Mr. Williams, whose campaign war chest boasts more than $1 million, is seeking re-election and has yet to draw a challenger.
In his 1998 mayoral campaign, Mr. Williams 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.
The current investigation stems from a complaint issued by community activist Dorothy Brizill in June 2000, when city residents were considering a referendum for a hybrid school board endorsed by Mr. Williams.
Mrs. Brizill charged that mayoral staffers had started working on campaign strategy in early May 2000 as part of their normal work duties and were promoting the hybrid school board. She also filed a copy of a U.S. District Court ruling that found the use of government resources for "one-sided electioneering" violates the First and Fifth Amendments.
The Williams administration said the mayor and its employees were following the guidelines set by the D.C. Corporation Counsel's Office.
The D.C. Office of Campaign Finance, in a 12-page ruling, found that Mr. Williams had violated personnel regulations by using city workers to campaign for a favorable vote in the June 27 referendum on the hybrid school board.


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