By his own admission, City Council Chairman Sterling Tucker is being haunted by a ghost as he campaigns for mayor this year. More than 20 years ago, Tucker filed some inaccurate income tax returns and wound up being indicted and later pleading no contest to tax evasion charges.
He received a suspended sentence and later (in 1966) a presidential pardon.But in the past two years, there have been additional charges of financial impropriety on Tucker's part. Those charges have largely gone unproven, but still, thanks to the ghost of the 1952 affair, Tucker told a reporter recently, people are uneast about him.
So when Sterling Tucker announced his intention to run for mayor this year, he said he would not accept any corporate contributions - even though they are permitted by city election law. And he claimed to have received none during his 1974 campaign. Contrary to the City Council chairman's assertion, however, his campaign organization received more than a dozen such contributions.
The subject of corporate contributions was prominently discussed duringthe Jan. 19 press conference at which Tucker unofficially announced that he would be running for mayor in the Sept. 12 Democratic primary.
Tucker said he would not accept any corporate contributions this year and had not taken any in 1974. It wasn't because he was concerned that his candidacy would be associated with the interests of those firms that contributed, he said. Rather, it just was not his style to take money not clearly raised for use in political campaigns.
"I am following a policy that I adopted four years ago in my campaign for the chairmanship," Tucker told reporters. "That was my same policy in that campaign and I am simply following that policy.
"It worked well then. It's simply a basic feeling I have about it, and I chose to adopt that policy for this campaign."
Reports filed with the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics contradict Tucker's claim. The Committee for Sterling Tucker received at least 14 contributions from corporate entities (excluding labor, trade and professional organizations or their respective political committees). Those donations accounted for more than $2,600 of the approximately $87,000 the Tucker organization raised and spent.
The largest such contribution was $500 from Parking Managment, Inc., the firm owned by millionaire developer Dominic F. Antonelli Jr., who was listed as a member of the finance committee of the Tucker organization.
There were also corporate donations of $250 each from a pair of District vending companies, $200 from another parking firm, $250 from Southern Railway System and $250 from Griffith Consumers Co., the home fuel firm.
Nearly half the money - $1,200 - was given during the last half of December, more than six weeks after the close of the campaign, during which Tucker faced only token opposition.
Tucker chose Harley J. Daniels, the lawyer for the 1978 campaign, to explain the contradiction to a reporter this week. "As best as we can determine," Daniels said, "some corporate checks slipped through."
All the corporate checks should have been returned, Daniels explained. "The acceptance of those checks represented a breakdown in communications in the system," he said. Daniels could not say if the money will be returned to the donors.
City Council Member Marion Barry's campaign appears to have been bitten by the marryin' bug. Last month, it was candidate Barry who quietly slipped off to the living room of his house and, with only a few friends present, married Effi Cowell. Tomorrow, Ivanhoe Donaldson, Barry's campaign manager and longtime friend, will marry Winnie Burrell.
Gerald Wallette, the campaign manager for Sterling Tucker, is also a bachelor. When informed of the Barry organization happenings by a reporter last week, not only did Wallette say he would not follow suit, but he also said he was not surprised at what was going on in his rival's camp.
"Some people will do anything to get elected," Wallette said, "including Marion Barry."
To most people in this city, it may be just another move when Nacy Linton and family leave their big brick house in the Forest Hills section of upper Northwest Washington and take up residence on the other side of Rock Creek Park. The new Linton Home will be a Connecticut Avenue condominium on the fringe of the Adams-Morgan neighborhood.
But for those in the political know, it will be a very significant relocation. Linton, a wiry, red-haired woman with a gravel-pit voice and cigarette forever between her fingers, is one of the most sought after political organizers in the city.
She has been one of - if not the - person to talk to if you wanted to win Ward 3, the politically high-powered area of the city west of Rock Creek Park, which has some of the highest voter registration and voter turnout statistics in the District.
In last year's special City Council election to fill the vacancy created by the death of Julius Hobson Sr., it was Linton, armed with her file cards on who votes and who doesn't , who played a pivotal role in delivering a good number of the votes in that ward to Hilda Mason. Based on her showing in Ward 3, Mason eaked out a victory over former D.C. School Supt. Barbara A. Sizemore.
Politics, which has been a close part of her life for the past decade, was not the reason for the move, Linton said. "Things change. Life changes. I think it will be fun to do something different" she said the other day.
Linton's husband Ron is an at-large member of the D.C. Democratic State Committee and a supporter of the mayoral candidacy of Council Chairman Sterling Tucker. For many people, that implies that Nancy, too will be working for Tucker. But, she is quick to say, "That's a bunch of balderdash."
Bob Barry and Tucker supporters have asked her to come aboard, but she has refused, Linton said, preferring to stay neutral. "I don't want to split up my household," she said.
Linton says she will be active in politics in her new ward, Ward 1, but exactly how she still does not know. She might even work in Ward 3 as well, she said. If she does, she can expect to be met with a little friendly vocal opposition from her political foes. The thing you must remember, the would-be rivals plan to say, is that Nancy doesn't live here anymore.