The D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics yesterday refused to rule on a complaint that three City Council members violated the District's conflict-of-interest laws when they voted to allow city officials to serve as delegates to the statehood constitutional convention.
However, after a 2 1/2-hour hearing, the board voted 2 to 1 against dismissing the charges brought by Lindell Tinsley, acting director of the city's Office of Campaign Finance, against council members David A. Clarke (D-Ward 1), Hilda Mason (Statehood-At Large) and Jerry A. Moore Jr. (R-At Large).
The action in effect means that Tinsley must redraft his charges to meet procedural objections raised by lawyers for the council members before the board will weigh the issues involved. Tinsley, however, said after the hearing that he did not know whether he would pursue the complaint.
The three council members were elected this week as at-large delegates to the convention that is charged with drafting a proposed constitution for D.C. statehood. The statehood initiative passed by D.C. voters a year ago had specifically barred city officials from serving as convention delegates, but the three council members voted over the summer for a successful amendment that allowed officials to serve.
Tinsley argued this constituted a conflict of interest because the council members intended to run as convention delegates, for which they may be paid $30 a day, when they voted to amend the law.