D.C. politicians are crazy for President Barack Obama. Go to one of Mayor Vince Gray‘s public events and there are very good odds Hizzoner will speak in glowing terms of Obama’s leadership. Pictures of councilmembers standing next to the president, or even close by, are proudly displayed trophies in Wilson Building offices. Councilmember Vincent Orange boasts of being on the same “ticket” as Obama, and passes out buttons reminding voters he and the president’s last names start with the same letter.
But when it comes to opening up their wallets. D.C. pols haven’t shown the president much love. The FEC has no records of any donations to Obama’s re-election campaign from any councilmember or the mayor of more than $200 this cycle. Actually, the FEC has no record of any donations of any amounts, but presidential campaigns aren’t required to report aggregate donations of less than $200. Ward 6 Councilmartyr Saint Tommy Wells, for instance, has donated $100 to the Obama campaign (he sent LL the emailed receipt) and plans to give more. (Wells says his wife has given for the family as well.) Bowser has given $698 over the course of the campaign (and has the receipts to prove it), but for some reason, the FEC has no records of those donations. Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie‘s chief of staff says the councilmember has given also, but hasn’t gotten back to LL with the details yet.
The lack of contributions is puzzling considering that all of the councilmembers make at least $125,000 (if not considerably more) and know firsthand the important of political fundraising. Many of them have also been generous in the past.
Last election, Orange, Councilmember Michael Brown, Councilmember David Catania, Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans, and Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh all gave at least $1,000 to Obama’s primary opponent, Hillary Clinton, FEC records show.
Wells ($250), Bowser ($1,500), and McDuffie ($250) all donated enough to Obama’s last campaign to show up on FEC records.
Of course, there are other ways besides money to give. Says a spokesman for Brown, whose father used to run the Democratic National Committee: “Councilmember Brown has not donated money to the Obama campaign but has donated his time as a surrogate.”
Photo courtesy of an LL reader