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Posted at 05:28 PM ET, 09/05/2012

Michael Brown ordered to amend old campaign finance reports


Brown’s missing-money disclosure has left opponents seeking answers. (Michael Temchine for The Washington Post)
D.C. Council member Michael A. Brown has been ordered to amend and refile old campaign finance reports by Monday, but he will not be required to file his most recent report until a city audit is complete.

The D.C. Office of Campaign Finance previously excused Brown (I-At Large) from having to file his report due Aug. 10 while it investigated claims that a “substantial” amount of money was missing from Brown’s coffers.

Auditors have concluded a preliminary investigation, said OCF spokesman Wesley Williams, and Brown must now amend reports dating through June 29 to reflect its findings. That date is when Brown disclosed that he suspected a theft from his campaign account and sacked his former treasurer, Hakim J. Sutton.

But officials are not requiring Brown give an accounting as of the August reporting deadline. That lack of disclosure has already been blasted by one of Brown’s opponents, David Grosso, as well as members of the media.

After the August deadline, Brown voluntarily disclosed a list of donations totaling $30,000, but he has not offered information on recent campaign expenditures or his bank balance — information included in mandatory campaign finance reports.

“The effect of this decision leaves voters in the dark about Mr. Brown’s finances,” a recent Washington Post editorial said.

Until the preliminary audit report is made final, it remains confidential, Williams said, and that goes as well for any side letter accompanying Brown’s forthcoming finance filing explaining the state of his accounting.

That means it could be weeks or months before there’s a full accounting of what exactly happened to Brown’s war chest. But next week’s filing should give an idea of just how much money went missing.

Brown campaign spokesman Asher Corson declined to share a copy of the preliminary audit report but said more information will be forthcoming Monday.

“We want to have our response included when [the audit report] comes out,” he said, noting that Brown himself asked for the audit to be done.

Corson added that the campaign had expected to file amended reports in due course, “and we look forward to doing so.”

Grosso said the new disclosure is a “half victory.”

“It’s good to at least know what is going on with his account,” he said. “Still, giving him a pass on the Aug. 10 report gives different standards to him as the rest of us in this campaign.” Grosso added that he might consider filing suit to force Brown to disclose his campaign finances.

By  |  05:28 PM ET, 09/05/2012

 
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