The D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics asked the U.S. Attorney's Office here yesterday to determine whether criminal action should be taken against a 60-year-old former D.C. policeman and acquaintance of Mayor Walter E. Washington who failed to report $4,700 allegedly spent on the mayor's 1974 election campaign.
The board, in a unanimous decision, rejected any consideration that charges of election-law violations be brought against the mayor and top officials of the campaign organization, even though they personally paid the $4,700 debt and $700 in related legal fees.
The board decided that the campaign organization had not authorized the former policeman, Maurice A. (A1) Lockhart, to incur the debt, and thus had no obligation to report it. Instead, the board cited Lockhart for violation of a law requiring that all unauthorized expenditures of $50 or more be reported.
Lockhart, who is now a political consultant and lives in Oak Bluffs, Mass., was not interviewed by board investigators. He could not be reached yesterday for comment.
The board's investigation stemmed from an article in The Washington Post on Jan. 5, which reported that the mayor and top officials of his campaign organization had paid the $5,400 debt with three Riggs National Bank cashier's checks. The mayor paid $4,900 of the money with "my own personal funds," he said at that time.
The remaining $500 was paid by William Lucy, who was chairman of the mayor's campaign organization, the Committee for Washington.
The mayor, who refused through a spokesman to comment yesterday, said in January that he and the campaign officials had decided to make the payments in order to avoid being tied up in a "nuisance" lawsuit.
They denied that the $4,700 debt - which resulted almost entirely from the rental of a Xerox machine and purchase of some supplies for it - was related to the campaign, and said categorically that Lockhart had not been authorized to incur the debt.
Knowledgeable campaign sources have told The Post, however, that the Xerox costs stemmed from a little-publicized alternative campaign that Lockhart ran on behalf of the mayor.
The sources said Lockhart's activity came at a time when managers of the mayor's campaign were worried about violating a $200,000 spending limit imposed by Congress, and distrustful of the official campaign machinery, even though campaign coordinator John Dean was a nationally known political strategist.
Campaign sources said that Lockhart believed he had a commitment first from Lucy and later from Dean to carry out campaign activities that would later be paid for by the official committee. These activities included production of an unknown number of copies of a 45-page, Xeroxed election-day directory, coordination of an election-day transportation system and production of other election-day materials.
The board's investigators, led by campaign finance director Carl McIntyre, interviewed eight persons, including the mayor, Lucy, Dean, other campaign employees, officials and mayoral confidants, according to the board's report. None of the testimony was under oath.
Among those not interviewed was John B. Ivey, president of John B. Ivey Associates, 1010 Vermont Ave. NW, in whose name Lockhart rented the Xerox machine. Lockhart operated an office adjacent to Ivey's.
When the Xerox Corp. was unable to get payment of the $4,700 bill from Ivey, they filed suit in D.C. Superior Court to collect the money. After a deposition was taken from Lucy and, according to sources, Ivey threatened to include the mayor and top campaign officials in the law suit, an attorney for the mayor, James L. Hudson, arranged to pay the $4,700 bill and $700 legal fees.