The D.C. Office of Campaign Finance subpoenaed the records yesterday of two District political action committees that have received contributions from massage parlors and which have reported combined receipts of $200,000 since November.
The campaign finance office wants the records for the Franklin Square Political Action Committee and the Democratic Freedoms Political Action Committee, which were both organized by Dennis Sobin, who runs several sex-oriented businesses.
Last December, Sobin, the treasurer for both PACs, said that $35-massage parlor fees would become contributions to the PACs and that the money would be used to finance a planned voters' initiative to bar police from enforcing D.C. vice laws and to fight efforts by developers to drive sex businesses from 14th Street.
Yesterday, Sobin received two subpoenas and the chairman of both PACs, Jon Kemp, got the others.
Sobin said that he had refused to comply with the campaign finance office's request for a field audit of his records because he believed that his PACs were being singled out for unfair treatment.
"We'll turn over the records," Sobin said. "We just didn't want to put our heads on the chopping block voluntarily."
The D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics approved issuance of the subpoenas after campaign finance director Keith Vance reported that Sobin's PACs had received more money in four months than some of the District's major PACs receive in an entire year.
Vance said in an interview that he is also concerned because Sobin did not itemize any of the receipts.
Vance presented documents that said Sobin had reported $139,421 in unitemized receipts for the Democratic Freedoms PAC and $65,594 in unitemized receipts for the Franklin Square PAC. He noted that there was a total of $73,339 in expenditures for the two PACs and that the expenditures went to Sobin and his organizations.
Sobin will have until April 11 to produce the records and the penalties for failing to submit records for a field audit range from one year in jail and a $5,000 fine to 10 years in jail and a $10,000 fine for each day of the offense.