WASHINGTON - A non-profit watchdog group is asking D.C.'s Office of Campaign Finance (OCF) to investigate whether D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser accepted illegal campaign contributions during her 2014 mayoral campaign.
A formal complaint was submitted Tuesday by Public Citizen to OCF stating public records show 23 contributions were made over the legal limit of $2,000 from individuals and corporations.
“That amounts to $31,500 in illegal contributions – if they are in fact illegal,” said Aquene Freechild of Public Citizen. “They could be reporting errors, they could be something else. That is why we are asking for an investigation.”
Freechild added, “It is really the job of the Office of Campaign Finance and the treasurer for every campaign to make sure this doesn’t happen, to refund excess contributions, and refunds did happen in that election, which is why this is all the more concerning.”
Among the contributions is from Sanford Capital, a company sued by the Office of the Attorney General after failing to abate a number of housing violations at its numerous properties across the city.
“Once the Sanford Capital excess contribution or apparently illegal contribution was made, there should have been an immediate apology from the mayor, that funding should have been returned,” Freechild said. “I am not sure why that didn’t happen, but that is partly why we are pursuing this.”
When FOX 5's Marina Marraco asked Mayor Bowser about the complaint, she said, “The treasurer has responded and we have been completely audited by OCF."
When Marraco asked her if she should return the excess contributions, Bowser responded, “Don’t you know that the campaign is closed and has been closed for more than two years?”
“Over the course of a $3.1 million campaign, I think that any questions about a few contributions can be answered by the Office of Campaign Finance,” she told FOX 5.
FOX 5 sought comment from Mayor Bowser's chief of staff, but he would not respond. We also reached out to the Office of Campaign Finance for comment and are still waiting to hear back from them.