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Robert White‘s maybe sorta at-large bid just got a little more complicated, thanks to the Board of Ethics and Government Accountability.

White, who came in third place for the set-aside at-large D.C. Council seat last year, is the subject of an exploratory committee launched last month to mull a run against At-Large Councilmember Vincent Orange.

The committee was a nice cover for White. He’s almost certainly running, but in theory, the exploratory meant he could raise money while not violating Hatch Act rules against government employees running for office. That meant White could keep his $95,000 a year job in Karl Racine‘s Office of the Attorney General.   

But not anymore! Yesterday, BEGA issued Hatch Act advice that puts White in a bind. According to the decision, District government employees can create exploratory committees—as long as they don’t fundraise. In other words, White can have an exploratory committee, as long as he doesn’t do the one thing it exists for.

That’s bad news for White, who appeared at a fundraiser hosted by his committee Wednesday night. In a statement, White exploratory committee consultant Sean Rankin says they have been following earlier BEGA advice. (Interestingly, Rankin’s Apollo Political firm also ran Racine’s campaign).

“We are reviewing yesterday’s issuance in detail, and as previously demonstrated, the Committee will act in step with the guidance provided,” Rankin says.

Correction: The exploratory committee wasn’t created by Robert White, as this story initially stated. The fundraiser was hosted by the committee’s members, not White.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery