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Something’s been bugging Jack Evans. Ahead of every campaign finance report deadline, he brings in the gargantuan campaign contribution totals that made him the first mayoral candidate to break $1 million in total fundraising. But he has similarly outsized expenses, repeatedly leaving him with a smaller bank account in campaign finance disclosures than rival Muriel Bowser.
Now Evans says he’s figured out why he’s lagging in cash on hand, claiming that his rivals are dishonestly keeping their disclosed expenses down by making payments to pollsters and staff after filing deadlines.
“The other candidates are not honestly reporting,” Evans tells LL.
Consider Bowser, whose campaign paid for a poll conducted between Jan. 6 and Jan. 9. In her Jan. 31 campaign filing, though, there’s no payment to the polling firm. While Bowser campaign manager Bo Shuff says that the campaign pays its expenses when a vendor asks, Evans thinks the campaign delayed making the payments until after the Jan. 31 reporting deadline to boost Bowser’s cash-on-hand figures.
“I’ve been polling for 22 years,” Evans says. “Pollsters don’t do polls unless they get paid upfront. So what she’s doing is she’s suppressing her bills.”
Also stuck in Evans’ craw these days: the fact that Vince Gray campaign manager Chuck Thies hadn’t been paid yet by the Jan. 31 deadline for his work on the campaign since early December.
“Does Chuck Thies work for free? Is everybody working for free?” Evans says. “Am I the only dummy in the whole place that’s paying anybody?”
Thies explains his lack of a salary by saying that he volunteered for the campaign in December and planned to invoice the campaign for January after the end of the month. “I’m not doing this for money,” Thies says. “I’m doing this because I care very deeply for Mayor Gray, and he was dealt a bad hand in 2010.” (LL’s waiting to hear back from the Office of Campaign Finance on whether Thies’ volunteering should count as an in-kind contribution.)
Thies, not one to let a campaign slight go unanswered, tells LL that Evans’ 2005 Jack PAC flap, in which Evans controlled a PAC that spent money on his own sports tickets and trips, makes him an imperfect messenger for campaign finance honesty. OCF later cleared Evans, but suggested that he pay back some of the money, which Evans did.
“He’s just lucky that happened before there was a sheriff in town,” Thies says, referring to U.S. Attorney Ron Machen.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery