Mayor Marion Barry yesterday nominated community worker Jeannine Smith Clark to the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics to fill the unexpired term of James L. Denson, who resigned last month following allegations that he misappropriated D.C. Chamber of Commerce funds.
Clark, Barry's choice as Denson's successor, has been accused of election misconduct -- an issue bound to arise when her name goes before the D.C. City Council for confirmation to the elections board.
Clark was accused by an opponent in the 1971 D.C. School board election of using a junior high school mailing list to parents and the school's bulk mail permit to send out personal campaign literature.
The city's elections and ethics board had not yet been created, but then D.C. School Supt. Hugh Scott investigated the matter, reprimanding the school principal for giving Clark access to the parents list and bulk mail permit. U.S. Postal Service inspectors, also brought into the case, ruled the mailings did not violate federal law.
Clark did not win the 1971 election.
Valerie Barry, the mayor's special assistant who headed the search resulting in the nomination of Clark to the elections board, said yesterday she was not aware of the 1971 incident. After being told about it by a reporter, she said she made a further check of Clark's background, noting that Clark had been cleared of any illegal acts.
Clark, reached yesterday afternoon said she did not want to comment prior to the City Council hearings on her nomination. The hearings have not been scheduled.
The three-member elections and ethics board oversees the city's elections, maintains records on campaign contributions and investigates complaints of election related misconduct.
Denson, who had been chairman of the board, resigned May 9 in the face of three separate investigations into allegations that he misappropriated thousands of dollars from the D.C. Chamber of Commerce, which he also headed. He has since resigned from the chamber position as well.
The three investigations -- by the city's inspector general, a federal grand jury and the chamber of commerce -- are continuing.
Clark, a Republican, will join Democrats Albert J. Beveridge III, the new elections board chairman, and Virginia Moye, if she is confirmed by the council. Under city law, no more than two members of the board may belong to the same political party.