- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Dear Karl Racine,

The city needs you to turn your independent probing attention toward two matters.

People acting on behalf of Muriel Bowser during her successful run for mayor in 2014 broke the law. Within months, in 2015, people working on behalf of Brandon Todd, her successor to fill her Ward 4 seat on the D.C. Council, did the same.

Coincidence or not, as voters prepare for what’s shaping up to be earlier-than-usual primaries in 2018, voters need reassurance.

They need reassurance from you, Mr. Racine.

There are many moving parts to the Bowser violations. The least of them, according to the D.C. Office of Campaign Finance:

1) The Bowser campaign accepted 13 contributions that exceeded the legal limit of $2,000 to a mayoral candidate.

2) Two of the 13 contributions were from Keystone Plus Construction Corp. and Sanford Capital.

Interesting, the D.C. government has targeted Keystone for short-shrifting the city on a nursing-home renovation project and Sanford for violating housing regulations and short-shrifting tenants.

Mr. Racine, forget, if you will, the politics of the Bowser and Todd violations (both pols are Democrats) and, momentarily, your own political ambitions.

You are the District’s last (untethered) line of civilian defense between the good guys and the bad — and supporters respect as much.

Surely, there’s some way you can cast more than a passing glance at the Office of Campaign Finance and determine whether the Bowser and Todd violations were mere oversights or whether something nefarious is at work and the laws and regulations on the books are more bark than bite.

Former council member Bill Lightfoot, ex-Bowser campaign chairman whose legal and political mind I’ve always respected, wants voters to believe technology was at fault.

That’s like blaming the dog for eating the Bowser camp’s list of donations.

Mr. Racine, the Bowser violations occurred three years ago and the Todd violations in 2015, yet neither case hit the Office of Campaign Finance’s radar screen until 2017?

And as a refresher from the authorities’ own website: “The mission of the Office of Campaign Finance (OCF) is to regulate and provide public disclosure of the conduct, activities, and financial operations of candidates, political committees, exploratory committees, transition, inaugural, legal defense committees, and constituent service and statehood fund programs to ensure public trust in the integrity of the election process and government service.”

In other words, the Office of Campaign Finance is the self-proclaimed watchdog.

The question then is this: Who is watching the dogs?

Thanks for your time and consideration, Mr. Racine.

Deborah Simmons can be contacted at dsimmons@washingtontimes.com.

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