Local politics in Washington, D.C., are a mess, according to Washington Post columnist Colbert I. King, and it’s not solely the fault of crooked politicians. In the shadow of fallen council chair Kwame Brown, is an incident in which a council member’s re-election committee was found guilty of violating campaign contribution laws. Instead of being held accountable, the Office of Campaign Finance gave the offenders a slap on the wrist.
The pass given to the rule-breaker in 2003 was another signal that D.C. campaign finance laws aren’t to be taken seriously. Veteran council member Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) owned up to that weakness last year when he noted that the $5,000 fine for not disclosing required campaign finance information is seen by most politicians and contributors as a “cost of doing business.”
Our political culture has deteriorated to the stage where large-scale corruption draws the silent treatment.
Take Jeanne Clarke Harris’s guilty plea this month to violating federal and D.C. campaign laws in efforts to elect Vincent Gray mayor in 2010. Authorities have noted that 16 people knowingly, willfully and corruptly made unlawful contributions to Gray’s campaign — a true mockery.
Yet, where is the community uproar?
Read Colbert I. King’s entire piece at the Washington Post.
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