D.C. Council at-large candidate Pat Mara is four days away from election day, but some D.C. government officials are paying more attention to one of his older campaigns. The District’s Office of Campaign Finance is looking into an arrangement Mara made with a conservative group to assist in raising money from his 2008 campaign donors, OCF spokesman Wesley Williams said this afternoon.
Under the terms of the deal, first reported by the Washington Post on Monday, Mara helped a think tank called DC Progress by meeting with donors and sending them fundraising letters. In exchange, Mara would make as much as $2,500 a month or 10 percent of the donations, according to the Post—-a potential violation of campaign finance law. Mara’s campaign responded with a statement on Tuesday denying that he had used campaign records for the fundraising and saying he had made less than $10,000 on the project.
OCF decided to begin what Williams describes as an “internal inquiry” shortly after the Post story ran. Williams doesn’t know whether the inquiry will be ready in time for the election. “We’re trying to expedite it as fast as possible, considering with the election coming up on Tuesday,” he says.
In an email, Mara says that he hasn’t been contacted by the OCF. “We have run a positive campaign,” he writes. “I wish I could say the same for my rivals.”
Photo by Darrow Montgomery