Unchecked Information Puts Alexander Probe into Question

Article excerpt

Byline: Jeffrey Anderson, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

D.C. Council member Yvette Alexander said she was relieved last week to find, after a three-month investigation by the Office of Campaign Finance (OCF), that she did nothing wrong in the way she managed her constituent-services fund.

But a review of documents that surfaced in the investigation shows that OCF neither requested nor received any of the receipts that office holders are required by law to maintain to support their use of funds intended to benefit constituents in need.

Among the unexamined expenditures is more than $9,000 paid from Ms. Alexander's account to her campaign treasurer Derek Ford and an unregistered company he owns. The expenditures are labeled on her quarterly reports as being for supplies, catering, travel, postage, petty cash and consultant.

In addition to serving as Ms. Alexander's treasurer, Mr. Ford is a consultant to Brett Greene, a lobbyist for Wal-Mart Stores Inc., which is seeking to build one of its four proposed D.C. stores in Ward 7, the area represented by Ms. Alexander, whose website features her appearing in a Wal-Mart video about the big box store's New Healthier Food Options.

Wal-Mart's chief lobbyist is D.C. power lawyer David W. Wilmot, who represented Ms. Alexander before the OCF.

Geraldine Washington, who was among the people who requested the investigation, said she would appealthe matter to the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics. She was among Ward 7 residents who wanted to know whether Ms. Alexander commingled campaign and constituent-service funds, failed to report and exceeded limits on in-kind donations, accepted reduced rents on a private office in exchange for legislation to benefit her landlord, and benefited personally from funds raised to serve the needy.

The conclusion of this investigation failed to adequately expose the malfeasance of Councilmember Alexander, yet it accomplishes with blinding transparency the shoddy work product, waste and incompetence of OCF, which so moves me with unyielding determination to seek justice by any other means necessary, Ms. Washington wrote in an email to The Washington Times.

According to documents released Monday by OCF, Mr. Ford is a recipient of five starter checks drawn on Ms. Alexander's constituent-services account totaling $705 that were not properly disclosed to OCF, as required by law. The memo entries on the checks were for catering, events, food and reimbursement, according to the documents, which included canceled checks signed by Mr. Ford.

Mr. Ford, who is not mentioned in OCF's final investigative report, did not return a call for comment. …