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In a classic late Friday news dump, the office of Mayor Adrian M. Fenty this evening released a report detailing a pair of controversial foreign trips.
The first junket was Fenty’s August trip to China for the Olympics. According to the report, compiled by Attorney General Peter Nickles, “The donation was valued at $11,300, including $3,800 from the Beijing municipal government, $5,000 from the Shanghai municipal government, and $2,500 from the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship, and it covered food, hotel, incidental, and transportation expenses related to the Mayor’s performance of his official duties.”
The other trip was to the United Arab Emirates last month. According to the report, expenses “were donated to the District government by UAE Ambassador, Yousef al-Otaiba. The donation was valued at $25,000, and covered food, hotel, incidental, and transportation expenses related to the performance of the Mayor’s official duties.”
The report also addresses the public reporting of those trips, saying Fenty’s travel arrangements will be reported through the Office of Partnerships and Grants Services by March 31. That’s a change from prior practice, where foreign travel donations were reported through the Office of the Secretary and the U.S. State Department. “In early 2009, in an effort to increase transparency and to better streamline our donation acceptances, and following discussions with the State Department, the District has begun to report international travel donations through its internal authorized donations reporting procedures—with the Mayor’s trip to Dubai being the first such trip handled by the OPGS.”
The report, natch, finds Hizzoner innocent of any legal malfeasance, calling “the acceptance of both donations…legally sufficient and in compliance with applicable law.”
But is it a good idea from a ethical and public relations and general decency standpoint to not immediately disclose foreign donations?
LL says no.