Brown Feels Vindicated by Campaign Finance Office
Former D.C. Council member Michael Brown, a candidate in the April 23 at-large D.C. Council special election, said that he's pleased with the work of the D.C. Office of Campaign Finance, which recently revealed that his former treasurer for his 2012 re-election campaign took money from the campaign illegally.
During the summer of 2012, Brown, 47, fired Hakim Sutton as the treasurer of his re-election campaign after discovering thousands of dollars missing from the campaign's accounts. Brown took a great deal of political heat during the fall campaign for alleged mismanagement of his campaign's finances and other personal issues. As a result, Brown lost his seat on the D.C. Council to David Grosso in the Nov. 6, general election.
"I want to see how the investigation goes but I am glad that I was cleared of any wrongdoing," Brown said at a meeting of the Ward 8 Democratic Committee in Southeast on Feb. 19.
District officials said that Sutton broke D.C. campaign finance laws "knowingly and willingly" in handling almost $114,000 in checks made out to himself with Brown's campaign account. No criminal charges have been filed by the District's U.S. Attorney's Office as of yet.
The investigation into the matter is being pursued by the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department.
Brown said that the campaign treasurer issues proved to be a distraction to District voters when he was trying to make the case as to why he should be re-elected.
"We were so busy dealing with that issue that we did not have time to talk about such things as economic development, helping people find jobs and affordable housing," he said. "We knew we were going to come under attack and that is fine because that is the nature of politics, but when you don't have the ability to fight back, it does not help."
Silverman Gets Key Endorsement
Elissa Silverman, a candidate in the April 23 special election for the D.C. at-large seat, recently received a major backer in her bid.
DC for Democracy, an advocacy organization based in Northwest that focuses on progressive policies for the District and its residents selected Silverman, 40, as its candidate for the D.C. Council position on Feb. 15. Silverman received 78 percent of the group's vote, when only two-thirds is needed for the organization's nod, and is she ever pleased with the support.
"I am thrilled to receive the endorsement from DC for Democracy," she said. "Members of DC for Democracy are highly engaged in efforts to bring integrity, accountability and strategic investment to our local government. I am excited to be partners with them in bringing our message to the halls of the [John A.] Wilson Building [in Northwest]."
DC for Democracy Chairman Keith Ivey said that Silverman shares the values of his group.
"We've worked with Elissa on making D.C.'s budget fairer and its politics cleaner, and we're excited to work to elect her to the council," Ivey said. "It's great to have an unapologetic progressive running a serious, citywide campaign."
Silverman, a former journalist and budget analyst for the D.C. Policy Institute in Northeast, has received the backing of former D.C. Council candidates A.J. Cooper and Peter Shapiro. A Democrat, Silverman has stated that she will not accept corporate contributions for her campaign, which is in line with DC for Democracy's support of banning corporate contributions in campaigns.
Silverman said that DC for Democracy's well-known grassroots network and resources is a boon to her campaign.
"What gives DC for Democracy such impact is that its members are in the trenches fighting for a fair, responsible budget for our city and they speak out on many important public policy issues," she said. "I am so excited to have the members of DC for Democracy hitting the streets for my campaign."