WASHINGTON - Some D.C. city councilmembers say Mayor Muriel Bowser’s office is getting a little too cozy with donors to her political action committee.
Ward 3 councilmember Mary Cheh is calling out the administration for what she feels are some unethical decisions. Some big donors to Bowser’s PAC – set up by her campaign staff -- are now in government positions appointed by the mayor, and some of them are currently with Bowser on her trip to China to promote tourism.
At a hearing on affordable housing last Thursday, Cheh questioned Buwa Binitie about whether he received political favors for his financial support to Bowser’s campaign. Speaking to FOX 5 Tuesday night, Cheh said she feels these decisions are polluting city politics:
This PAC is unprecedented. First of all, it is exploiting a loophole in the law that allows unlimited contributions, unlimited. Second, the people involved with this PAC are soliciting money from people who do business with the city, or who have been given an appointment to a board or a commission or maybe are getting other perks. So they’re potentially exploiting that – pay to play, writ large. And then the third thing -- which is probably as disturbing as anything else – is that the organizers of this PAC proclaim, they unabashedly say, that they are going to use this big treasure trove of money to support councilmembers who support the mayor’s programs and against those who do not support her programs.
The mayor’s office says everything they are doing is above board and in line with the law, and people appointed by the mayor are done so on their merits.
"Each member of the delegation is going [to China] for one reason: they have a proven ability to create jobs and grow the District's economy,” said Michael Czin, a spokesperson for Mayor Bowser.
The mayor’s spokesperson points to current law stating limitations on contributions shall not apply to political action committees during a year when there is not a city election.
Cheh says she has support from the council to change the law, but she wants the mayor to voluntarily disband the PAC.