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D.C. Council Chairman candidate Vincent Orange plans to ask the D.C. Office of Campaign Finance to investigate the past campaign disclosure filings of his opponent, At-Large Councilmember Kwame Brown.
Orange spokesman Sean Metcalf says Orange plans to file a formal complaint tomorrow, and hold a news conference outside OCF afterwards.
At least part of the issue is Brown’s campaign finance filings from his re-election campaign. As of Jan. 31, 2009, several months after the 2008 election, Brown reported having about $69,000 in cash. At the end of July, his campaign reported having about $73,000 in cash. But on Jan. 31, 2010, his filing reports exactly $2,o00 in cash—but has no corresponding expenditures that would explain where the other $70,000 or so went. The July 31, 2010, report pegs the committee’s cash level at $33.
But earlier this summer, Brown filed amended reports for both January and July, which add the $70,000 back into the commitee’s cash-on-hand totals. Now the Orange campaign wants District officials to look into the whole thing. Considering that campaigns file amended financial reports all the time, you may be wondering why Orange thinks this is a big deal. LL is here to help. Though no one is offering any proof so far, some people in D.C. political circles are whispering about whether Brown—whose personal financial problems are well known—might have used campaign funds for his own purposes. And Orange’s campaign has already tried to highlight Brown’s personal debts throughout the race. This complaint—even if campaign finance officials never do anything about it—would play into that strategy.
Brown’s campaign spokesman, James Jones, could not immediately be reached for comment.
(By the way, Brown’s 2004 committee, Committee to Elect Kwame R. Brown, is also in debt to the IRS. According to the most recently amended report, Brown owes the IRS $5,667.14.)