What's in a name?

What's in a name?

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Request to the Board of Elections and Ethics.

23 March 2012

Ms.Deborah Nichols

Chair, Board of Elections and Ethics

Board of Elections and Ethics
Government of the District of Columbia
One Judiciary Square
441 4th Street NW
Suite 250 North
Washington, DC 20001

Ms. Nichols,

Pursuant to the authority set forth in D.C. Official Code 1-1103-01 (b-1) (1) 2001 edition, and the authority vested in the District of Columbia Board of Elections and Ethics by the District of Columbia Government.

I respectfully request a complete investigation into the Campaign related actions of Ward 4 Councilmember Muriel Bowser.   In so doing, it is evident that while being duly elected and serving her current term as as Councilmember for Ward 4, District of Columbia, she has personally violated the terms of Section 3300 of Chapter 33 of 3 DCMR, “Applicability” as it reads.

Specific to my complaint and request for a board instigated investigation,  section 3300.1 A Conflict of interest shall occur when a public official exerts any “effort to realize personal gain”, as defined in 9900.1 through official conduct. Additionally, pursuant to Code 3301.1  
“A person shall be prohibited from using their official position to obtain financial gain, other than that compensation provided by law for the public official, for the following.
(a)The public official;
(b)Any member of the public official’s household; or
(c)Any business with which the public official or a member of the public official household is associated.

It is alleged that Councilmember Muriel Bowser did on occasion use her District of Columbia government issued cell phone for personal gain.  By both dialing this cell phone to make direct contact with her campaign office and by receiving incoming calls from the number clearly identifiable by caller identification on her Blackberry device, and thus engaging in conversation with her staff at the campaign offices,  she is in violation of above aforementioned laws.

Use of said government issued cellular phone on government paid and contracted minutes constitutes an abuse of the guidelines set forth in the official code. This use is in direct violation of of the ability of the sitting councilmember to possibly have personal gain. As well a violation of Campaign laws that forbid the mingling of normal Councilmember and District of Columbia Government responsibility with that of re-election efforts.  There can be no clear line of division when a government issued cell phone is used for any contact with a campaign office. Either during regular government hours of operation or evening/weekend hours.  There should be a clear division to the two offices and the staff of each endeavor.

Additionally,  pursuant to code 3301.9 “Resources of the District of Columbia Government shall include, but not be limited to, the following:
(a)The personal services of employees during their hours of work and
(b)Non Personal services

It is suggested to the board that Ward 4 Councilmember Muriel Bowser did on numerous occasion speak with campaign staff and did request that Council staff relay messages via their government issued cell phones to both paid staff as well as volunteer staff at the campaign headquarters during regular business hours.

As per the provisions of code 3301.10 “Non personal services shall include, but not be limited to, the following:
(d)Office Space:
(f)Utilities, for example, telephone, gas and electric services.

It is suggested that Ward 4 Councilmember Muriel Bowser and members of her Council staff have on occasion abused the ethics of these codes of the “District of Columbia Government to engage in re-election, while being in office and during regular Government of the District of Columbia hours of operation.  

As stated in code 3300.1 “A conflict of interest shall occur when a public official exerts any “efforts to realize personal gain”, as defined in 9900.1 through official conduct.

These violations and the attached document obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, through the Office of the Secretary of the Council, clearly demonstrates that Councilmember Muriel Bowser is and has been in violation of said District of Columbia laws pertaining to the above stated ethics  as presented by the BOEE.

On this day (23 March 2012 do by this written notice request that the District of Columbia Board of Elections and Ethics conduct a thorough and responsive investigation into the matters as presented.


Keith Jarrell

Saturday, March 24, 2012

What's in a name? Did our councilmember forget who she is?

Not only while on Council business,  but now in the Ward as well.  Councilmember Bowser has refused to turn over her cell phone records pertaining to the recent article about council excessive cell phone bills.
It was appropriately noted that Ward 4 Councilmember Bowser has racked up the highest usage of any councilmember.  Her extensive call log now proves that she isn't just doing council business but also making personal calls on her District of Columbia Government issued cell phone.

While Ward 4 Councilmember Muriel Bowser was too busy to show up at a senior candidate's forum,  and too busy to care about Ward 4 constituents, she clearly had time to dial up her Campaign offices and inquire about how she was looking in the eyes of voters.

What is it about an elected official that proclaims to have good judgement, and to be engaged on the issue of credibility and transparency that they just don't get it.  Residents of the District of Columbia should not be forced to foot the bill for her use of a government issued cell phone for personal gain.  Personal gain of seeking re-election.

Muriel Bowser made a tragic mistake and took a call from her campaign office and then subsequently picked up her government issued cell phone and called her campaign offices. Wonder what that conversation was about?

Perhaps it was about her decision not to attend a Committee hearing held on the Committee of the Judiciary in their oversight capacity when Fire and EMS Chief Dennis Rubin was brought before the committee to discuss the Fire Department's performance.    This committee rubber stamped Rubin's confirmation hearing just over a year ago for the public now to learn that there was 6 counts of personnel related complaints in his personnel fine from 6 different women at the Sarasota Florida Fire Department.

Maybe Councilmember Bowser could have used her government issued cell phone to call Sarasota Florida and inquire about then Chief Ellerbe's history there during his short tenure as their Chief.

She clearly didn't.  She clearly failed this city,  and the residents of this ward when she did nothing to assure us that we were getting the best possible Chief of our fire department.

She failed every senior citizen in this Ward when she failed to show up for the Senior's candidate forum earlier this month and stand face to face with many and answer their questions.  Instead she sent a young and inexperienced staffer Brandon Todd,  although on leave he as served the councilmember in the past as nothing more than a constituent relations liaison.  Don't get me wrong Brandon is probably one of the best on her staff.  At least offering a polite mannerism and an approachable personality.

Fact is,  there may have been a violation of the Federal Hatch Act by him standing in front of citizens talking about the Councilmembers accomplishments while in office.  For the most part, Brandon Todd failed to answer the final two questions asked about the Councilmembers failure to show up at the committee hearing, and again for the Senior Forum.

We know she likes to talk on the phone and that she doesn't care enough to show up in public unless perhaps there is a ribbon to be cut,  and a celebration to appear to offer up her accomplishments for all those attending to see.

Let's move beyond this style of "not caring" and beyond this style of "not showing up" and let's elect someone that cares.  Someone that will offer us a truly transparent approach to our District government.  Let's elect someone that will not sell out to pay for play developers,  and corporations seeking favors so that they can get rich off of their relationships and favoritism from our elected in Ward 4.  

Monday, March 5, 2012

Bowser Campaign in Receipt of more than $18,000.00 from local Health Care firm .

The news that the FBI are investigating contributions from Jeffrey Thompson and those associated with his organization came as not surprise to many of us in the District of Columbia.  Earlier this month,  the news came just weeks from the April 3, primary. The FBI had raided the offices and residences of: Jeffrey Thompson of Thompson, Cobb, Bazilio, & Associates, Inc. Things like this always seem to have a relationship with those elected in our city. It is almost a given that there will be connections to this company's alleged misconduct and some of our elected officials.

Muriel Bowser, Councilmember Ward 4 has received numerous contributions from Jeffry Thompson and his associates.  Many through money orders,  and most evading the campaign laws that limit contributions to $500.00.  The recently submitted records indicate more than $385,000.00 in corporate contributions.
With such a large percentage of her total campaign funds coming from contributions from corporations how can you or I expect our voices to be heard?  Clearly we won't be.

Muriel Bowser who chairs the very committee that could have introduced real campaign finance reform, tabled the matter until after the primary.  Why one might ask?  Because a method for real reform would likely paint her and her campaign as indulgent to the over load of taking too much from those wishing to be given priority.  Priority in decisions that can clearly given them an advantage in development, District contracts and much more.

In a means to bring as much of corporate contributions to light here in Ward 4 I have spent a considerable amount of time to research the connections between the Executive Staff of Thompson, Cobb, Bazilio & Associates and our very own Ward 4 Councilmember, Muriel Bowser.

Thompson, Cobb, Bazilio and Associates, PC (TCBA or the Firm) is a full service professional services firm that provides accounting, audit and assurance, information systems.

Here is where there contributions to Ward 4 have gone since the 2007 special election held to replace then Mayor-Elect Fenty.

Contributions to Muriel Bowser during her first run for Council of the District of Columbia, Ward 4, her re-election campaign in 2008 and now re-election in 2012.

This group has contributed more than$18,000.00 to Muriel Bowser and her campaigns since 2007.
Often giving several donations on the same day from various entities from within the company.
Often using up to three different corporation names or Limited Liability Corporations.

Most often giving the legal limit and clearly giving from every perspective they can and under every name. Look carefully at the dates as there are numerous contributions given on the same day from various entities from within the corporation.

What kind of influence has Thompson, Cobb, Bazilio & Associates been trying to buy?  Why are they so interested in the the election of Muriel Bowser ?  All things that you should want answers to.  All things you should wonder about.

Given the fact that any individual is only allowed to contribute a maximum of $500 to a political campaign. If you are married you then can give $500 and your spouse can give another $500.  But in no situation other than a corporation or an L.L.C. can you garner any more legally.  Here are examples of numerous members of the same firm donating on often the same day,  and with different divisions of the corporation giving the allowable limit.

Ever wonder why Muriel Bowser is on record of not wanting to curtail corporation donations to political campaigns?  Ever wonder why Muriel Bowser has refused to return these donations and make good on her "transparency" to the voters of this ward?

The voters in this city, and more intimately here in Ward 4 must step back and take a serious look at how we can best form our city's trust in our elected officials.  Electing those that have such contiguous histories of listening first to the large corporate contributors rather than you and I should end.  

The history our of political system depends on you and I stepping up and saying enough is enough.  The future must depend on honesty, integrity, and transparency.  Ward 4 clearly doesn't have this now,  and we won't see it if we are used as a platform for Muriel Bowser to be re-elected, with her publicly stated intentions of running for a higher office in the future.  She clearly has her sights set on a run for Mayor in 2014, or possibly Chair of the Council.

We must create the positive change that our city deserves so that our efforts are looked upon by our children as one of compassion and insightful determination to do better.

Listen, read and make yourself aware of the many problems with current leadership in Ward 4 and across this city and vote accordingly.    

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Voters in Ward 4 and frankly across this city should march forward with strong convictions when it comes to who they elect.  Who they consider and most importantly who we place our trust in.
Those that have earned our support and trust that we have elected lately have truly let us all down. They have done so by not being honest, open and fair in their dealings with us as residents and over issues that effect us and our lives. 
The District of Columbia has a delima built into our very progress toward voting rights in congress. That turmoil exists with the very stigma that we have put ourselves in by continuing to elect those that turn out to be less than good representatives.  In fact, they are failing to represent us. This failure continues to complicate the struggle for voting rights in Congress.  With a city so widely exposed for our elected having problems ranging from financial, taxes,embezzlement and taking major donations from those wishing to gain access.  We the citizens and voters are often left out when it comes to our voice being heard and respected.  
This disrespect is rampant here in Ward 4 under the currently elected councilmember.  Muriel Bowser has lost her touch to keep in touch with the very people that supported her in the past. 
Moreover, the very people that need representation and support within the structure of city agencies to get and keep services that they are dependent on.  Muriel Bowser has failed her constituents in every way possible.  The method behind the madness is nothing short of rude,arrogant and pathetic.  Bowser seems to have forgotten the very residents of her own ward.  
With a chief of staff that has never lived in Ward 4 and who surely doesn't drive into the Ward often enough to see problems and to offer assistance in a resolve to the many issues.   It is clear that Bowser isn't concerned about residents of Ward 4.  Instead she has set her sights on things like District wide politics.  City wide elections possibly? 
However, if you by default weaken you own base, and their respect of you, how can you then expect to win a city wide election?  Didn't being friends with Fenty teach her anything? Fenty was by all accounts a great councilmember,  his own Ward 4 constituents helped to get him elected as Mayor and then his re-election bid failed and failed big within his very own ward.   This accomplishment occurred because of arrogance, and rudeness displayed toward the very voters that he had relied on previously.  Failure hit him hard,  but due to his own fault.  
Ward 4 voters and residents now have to contend with the very same failures in our elected member to the Council of the District of Columbia.  Muriel Bowser depended on many of us for support and votes to get her into office.  Yet she has turned her back and her ear to our needs.  She has gotten overly sure of herself and her abilities.  Her staff fails her and the constituents miserably and people across this ward continue to talk about it. However as in any like situation, one must hold the elected to their promises and the responsibility of their offices.  
Muriel Bowser has been aware of the many failures from within her staff time and time again. Thus, without failure she must be held accountable.

Additionally, when ethics reform was begun it was a desire and a hope of many voters in this city that Corporate giving would be one of the many areas that Muriel Bowser would tackle.  In her position of Chair of the Government Operations Committee Bowser had a chance to show her constituents and city wide residents her intent to bring full disclosure to the campaign financinglaws. She had the ability to stop corporate giving and the way they buy their influence into city elections.  
Bowser did what serves herself, and didn't tamper with corporate giving.  Thus keeping the door open to a large portion of her own campaign fund raising. Her Chief Fund Raiser, David Wilmot must have  influenced her to not mess with the current ability for corporations and development companies to be able to give to candidates of their choice, thus buying their influence on future projects and in areas most likely to grow.  Casting a negative light on the very system that was designed to give one vote for one person.  Casting doubt on her very honesty and lack of integrity as a public servant. 

Muriel Bowser is now lost in the sea of unworthy servants that we have cast our votes for and placed out confidence in for representation in our government. The many failings that could be counted as simple oversight in her office structure and how her employees serve her constitutes  is something that could be corrected and frankly forgiven.  But the very lack of integrity in the very process that could have brought closure to a long and nasty task of giving those with big money to spend the influence over our neighborhoods and the very growth around us is unforgiving.  Muriel Bowser has now proven that she has no conscience. Clearly, she prefers the big money that corporations and developers have given her to the voice of her constituents. She prefers to have money to run a campaign to walking the streets and knocking on doors asking us for our support and our vote. Muriel Bowser has lessened the reality that we have an elected official downtown that cares for us and our neighborhoods. Remember if you will Bowser held out on her support for Harry Thomas Jr. until it was clear that he had to resign.  She then quickly ran to the media and gave a statement to position herself as among those calling on the ward 5 councilmember to resign. In reality she held out, silent like a child until she had no other choice. 
Yet she professes to be a fifth generation Washingtonian.  A story that I have never believed. But for a minute if it were true don't you think she would be comfortable relying on the very residents and the support that they could offer her rather than the big money she has chosen to use to attempt to remain in office?
It has been suggested that Bowser has Mayoral possibility.  Clearly, she'll have the money behind her but will she be able to engage enough supporters that have a vote to again invest their hopes in her to represent them again?
Ward 4 desperately needs to move forward and elect a councilmember that both cares and shows it. Someone that will represent us and our issues.  The quality of our lives and the services that are available to us. Not big corporations and the gain financially that they are all looking to achieve. Big corporations don't care for seniors,  they don't care about quality education.  They don't care about the services that our most vulnerable residents get.  They are out to make money on the backs of every resident in this city and every future new resident as they continue to over built, and over price many people from the ability to even live here.  Bowser clearly buys into this with her ineffectual move to not offer change to the campaign finance rules on corporate giving.
I encourage every ward 4 resident and voter to take up issue with this and push back the inclination to re-elect Muriel Bowser.  Stand on firm ground and bring change to our ward in a way that speaks to the very need throughout this city. The kind of change that every resident can see unfold before them with better services,  and the kind of development that will serve us, not those out to make a fortune off of our backs. 
You have to ask yourself, Who is Muriel Bowser listening to? And in doing so, listen to your conscience and vote for change. Stop this train and detour it now rather than experience another wreck in the future.  If we take actions now and do not re-elect Muriel Bowser to another term as Councilmember for Ward 4 we will stop her dead in her tracks to become mayor and continue the influence peddling in high elected office in this city. Additionally, we will return the voice to our ward that has been missing for far too long now.