City Paper is not for tourists
Yesterday, LL had the scoop that Adrian Fenty‘s loudest supporter, Ron Moten, had to report to the Office of Campaign Finance to answer a complaint filed by a Vincent Gray volunteer saying Moten’s pro-Fenty go-go songs and magazine were breaking city election laws.
Today comes the news (thank you, awesome tipsters) that it was Fenty’s campaign chairman Bill Lightfoot‘s turn to met with OCF over the complaint. (For more background on the complaint, see here.)
Lightfoot said he told the OCF “the truth,” which is that Moten has acted on his own behalf, not in concert with the Fenty campaign, and hasn’t received a dime of campaign funds for his efforts. (The campaign has paid go-go bands for performing at at least one Fenty rally, which it reported on a campaign finance disclosure form, Lightfoot said.)
“He’s entitled to exercise his free speech, and he has,” Lightfoot said of Moten. Lightfoot said the campaign wasn’t even aware that Moten had made the pro-Fenty music video until after it was released.
Asked if it bothers him that Moten, who co-founded a non-profit group that has received millions under Fenty’s administration with little oversight, has become one of, if not the, most public faces of the Fenty campaign, Lightfoot said no.
“We don’t pick our supporters,” he said. (To which LL’s witty boss replied: That’s true; if they could pick their supporters, they would pick more of them.)
Vincent Gray‘s advisors are also having problem with their own rogue surrogate. Ward 8 Councilmember Marion Barry seems intent on injecting himself into the campaign in as many ways as possible. Last night Barry and Moten squared off in an entertaining but very dumb debate on Fox 5. The Washington Post‘s Tim Craig reports this morning that the TV spot didn’t quench Barry’s thirst for attention.
At an event Wednesday morning at the Courtyard Marriott Hotel, Gray unveiled his platform for restoring “public trust in government.” But as Gray prepared to step to the microphone, Barry walked into the room and took it upon himself to introduce the council chairman to a room full of reporters, business leaders and campaign advisers.
“There is no greater contrast than between Vincent Gray and Adrian Fenty,” said Barry, referring to the incumbent mayor.
The sight of Barry, who was censured by the council last year for misusing earmarks, taking center stage at the event sent waves of nervousness through the Gray campaign. Questioned by reporters after his prepared remarks, Gray reiterated that Barry does not speak for the campaign but he welcomes the support.
“I didn’t specifically ask him to be here, but I guess he happened to be in the room at the time the program started, so he spoke,” Gray said.