D.C. autonomy push gets April Fools treatment

(D.C. Budget Freedom Committee) (D.C. Budget Freedom Committee)

The effort to give the city more freedom from congressional spending restrictions has indulged in some April Fools Day hijinx, or at least some reverse-psychology marketing.

Monday, activists led by D.C. Vote are running Internet ads on Facebook and local blogs offering residents reasons to “say no to D.C. budget autonomy” on April 23 — the day a controversial referendum will appear on city ballots.

D.C. Vote, of course, wants residents to say yes to Referendum 8, which would modify the District charter to allow the city to spend locally raised funds prior to a congressional appropriation.

To make that point, the ads promote some questionable arguments against budget autonomy: “We can trust Congress with our money,” for one. That ad features the bipartisan floating heads of House Speaker John Boehner, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Majority Leader Harry Reid.

The ads are part of a broader marketing campaign in support of the referendum, one that has included yard signs, community speaking engagements and happy hours.

Mike DeBonis covers Congress and national politics for The Washington Post. He previously covered D.C. politics and government from 2007 to 2015.

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Mike DeBonis · April 1, 2013