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

Local activists have complained for years that just about anybody can file a petition with the D.C. Board of Elections and get a name or, say, a riverboat gambling initiative on the ballot—with or without legitimate signatures. But last month, the Office of Corporation Counsel filed unprecedented criminal charges against four men who allegedly circulated phony petitions in last year’s primary election. Oddly enough, one of the men charged is Roderick Liggens, who helped challenge Eydie Whittington’s one-vote victory in this year’s Ward 8 council race. (Whittington was Mayor Barry’s handpicked replacement.) D.C. Board of Elections General Counsel William Lewis says the cases are unconnected and that charges against Liggens and two others stem from petitions filed for D.C. Council chair candidate JePhunneh Lawrence. Ward 1 candidate Norman Morgan was charged with circulating fraudulent petitions to nominate himself. If convicted, the men could face fines of up to $10,000 and up to six months in jail.