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Remember when Bernard Demczuk, former aide to Marion Barry and longtime political fundraiser, said he’d had a road to Damascus moment and was swearing off big-money giving?
“Estimating conservatively, I have raised nearly a half a million dollars for D.C. mayors, D.C. Council members, members of Congress and nonprofits. My fundraising has given me good access to these officials, and I have enjoyed the process,” Demczuk wrote in a Post op-ed outlining reforms he said were needed to clean up District government. Demczuk suggested that the city limit all donations to $25 for any individual, corporation or labor group.
“As much as I respect and support the politics and officials of this great city, I plan to no longer give more than $25 to any politician. After all, there is nothing stopping me from limiting myself to $25 even if the ideas I lay out here never see the light of legislative day,” said Demczuk, who now liaises for George Washington University.
That op-ed was published in July 2011. Four months later, Demczuk donated $100 to Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans‘ re-election campaign. A month later, $250 went to Ward 7 Councilmember Yvette Alexander‘s campaign. This year, Demczuk’s written $500 checks to Barry and Vincent Orange. He also gave $100 each to two Ward 5 special election candidates: Drew Hubbard and that contest’s winner, Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie. The only person he’s given $25 to since penning that op-ed is former at-large candidate Sekou Biddle. In total, Demczuk has given $2,175 to 10 different candidates since last July.
What’s up the over-$25 giving? Demczuk says he left out a big disclaimer in his op-ed: the $25 rule only is for the next election cycle, not this one.
“I have promised several candidates that I would contribute during this election cycle and I have,” Demczuk says, adding that come Nov. 6, it’s $25 from here on out. For real this time!