Brandon Todd

At more than $130,000 a year, working as a member of the D.C. Council pays well. But being the Ward 4 councilmember will actually cost Brandon Todd a couple thousand dollars, thanks to a mistake with his constituent service fund.

On June 28, two months after he won the special election to replace Muriel Bowser in the ward seat, Todd hosted a “Ward 4 Family Fun Day.” There was a clown and a moon bounce. Todd paid for more than $3,500 of it personally, planning to reimburse himself later from his constituent service funds.

But alas! Todd didn’t actually set up his constituent service fund until a few days after he paid for the party, so when he tried to reimburse himself for the party money, he ran afoul of the Office of Campaign Finance. In a ruling made earlier this month, OCF decided that Todd could be reimbursed for some, but not all, of the party expenses.

He was in the clear on the moon bounce and the clown; $2,052.69 of the party fees, though, were coming out of his wallet.

“He’s happy to pay that from his own personal account,” says Todd chief of staff Sherryl H. Newman.

But the campaign finance watchdogs weren’t done. Noting that Todd previously ran Bowser’s constituent service operation, the ruling notes that Todd should have known better.

This isn’t Todd’s first brush with personal financial woe. In 2005, he filed for bankruptcy, citing bills owed to upscale clothiers like J. Crew and Saks Fifth Avenue.

Now that he’s drawing a a six-figure salary from the city, though, LL doubts a couple thousand dollars in party expenses will send Todd back to bankruptcy court.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery