Darrow Montgomery
Darrow Montgomery Credit: Ward 4 Councilmember Brandon Todd

We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.

Update Dec. 13 11 am:

Ward 4 ANC 4C voted 7-1-1 to call for an investigation into Councilmember Brandon Todd.

Following last night’s vote, Todd’s office released a statement denying wrongdoing, saying Todd used “emails collected by a variety of means through his engagement with the community over more than 10 years.

“At no time were emails directly or indirectly given to any campaign,” Todd’s statement says. “Councilmember Todd looks forward to cooperating with any inquiries.” 

The original story follows below:

Some hyperlocal elected commissioners in Ward 4 have had it with their councilmember.

Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4C will vote tonight on whether to call for an investigation into Ward 4 Councilmember Brandon Todd for alleged violations of laws that prohibit the use of D.C. government resources for campaign activities.

At issue is Todd’s alleged use of constituent emails to promote a political ally, as WAMU first reportedTodd’s office did not immediately respond to LL’s calls seeking comment.

Todd’s constituents have received campaign emails for Rhonda Henderson, who Todd supported in her failed run for Ward 4’s spot on the State Board of Education. 

Todd’s constituents, who say they previously contacted him via his Council email address, received the emails from Todd’s non-Council email address and from Henderson’s campaign.

Todd’s alleged use of constituent email addresses to promote Henderson’s campaign appears to be in violation of a D.C. law that bars elected officials from using “supplies, materials, equipment, office space, facilities, and telephones and other utilities,” to support candidates for office.

The vote will decide whether ANC 4C will send letters to the D.C. Office of Campaign Finance and D.C.’s Board of Ethics and Government Accountability requesting investigations. 

“Contacting one’s elected representatives is an essential part of democracy and comes with an expectation of privacy, as well as an expectation that such contact will not be used for political purposes,” the letter reads. “Councilmember Todd may have betrayed that trust and appears to have done it by misusing public resources.”

At least one other Ward 4 resident has filed an official complaint against Todd for the same issue, WAMU reported.

The ANC’s vote sheds light on simmering frustrations that date back to Todd’s shady campaign finance practices in 2015. Tonight’s agenda also includes a separate letter to Todd expressing the ANC’s disappointment with what they see as the councilmember thumbing his nose at campaign laws.

In 2017, Todd’s campaign was fined $5,100 for failing to properly document a total of $83,000 in deposits to his 2015 special election campaign fund.

The letter to Todd also references his voting record on the Council’s recent efforts to restrict the so-called pay-to-play culture in campaign contributions, where large campaign donors are rewarded with city contracts. Todd initially abstained from a vote on a bill that bars political donations from corporations and their executives who hold or have applied for valuable contracts with the city. Todd ultimately voted in favor of the bill on its second reading.

“You do not seem to have learned your lesson,” the letter says in reference to Todd’s history of questionable campaign dealings. “To clear your name and to begin to regain the trust of this commission, we urge you to actively support strengthening the campaign finance laws. A lack of support demonstrates a betrayal of your constituents.”

LL will update this post with the results of the ANC vote. If we hear from Todd’s office, we’ll add those comments, too.