On Tuesday, D.C. Vote held its 7th annual “Champions of Democracy” awards reception at the Carnegie Library (né City Museum). The festivities, like at many a fundraising bash, included a silent auction of lunches with D.C. politicos, with the proceeds to benefit D.C. Vote’s general operations.
Such a fundraising tactic has always held a certain appeal for LL because it’s about as close as one can get to a free-market determination of a councilmember’s relative clout. After all, who shells out big bucks to have lunch with a politico who can’t get things done? Herewith, an accounting:
$275 – Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh*
$250 – At-Large Councilmember Kwame Brown
$200 – Ward 8 Councilmember Marion S. Barry Jr.
$105 – Ward 1 Councilmember Jim Graham
$90 – Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells
$70 – Ward 4 Councilmember Muriel Bowser
$60 – Ward 7 Councilmember Yvette Alexander
$60 – Ward 5 Councilmember Harry Thomas Jr.
Now to be fair: Cheh’s number is inflated, considering a bid gave you a shot at an eight-person dinner with the councilmember at the home of local filmmaker and D.C. Vote board member Aviva Kempner, rather than the usual restaurant lunch for two.
The true champion of clout, though, was Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray, who got $500 for his offering. That, however, was a little bit more than just lunch: four spots in the city’s Verizon Center luxury box for a Wizards game.