The D.C. Office of Campaign Finance yesterday filed a complaint with the city's elections board charging that D.C. Council member Charlene Drew Jarvis (D-Ward 4) and three others knowingly filed false financial reports for Jarvis' unsuccessful 1982 mayoral campaign.
The campaign finance office also ordered Jarvis to appear for a hearing on July 9 to explain why she should not be charged for failing to report contributions received by two political action committees.
Jarvis said in a letter to the campaign finance office that those contributions did not have to be reported because the organizations are not political groups as defined by the campaign finance office. A spokesman for Jarvis said that the money was used to pay for a birthday party for Jarvis and her trip to San Francisco to attend the 1984 Democratic National Convention.
The complaint before the elections board alleges that Jarvis, her political adviser, campaign manager Woodrow Boggs Jr. and two other campaign officials failed to report more than half of the $120,562 in contributions received by the 1982 mayoral campaign. It also alleges that campaign officials deposited and withdrew thousands of dollars of funds from an account at Security National Bank that they failed to disclose as required by the city's campaign finance law.
According to the complaint, the campaign issued $31,256 worth of checks improperly made out to cash. An audit of the campaign's records alleges that Boggs cashed 19 of the checks for a total of $10,563.
The complaint asks the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics to fine Jarvis, Boggs and former campaign aides Helena Henderson and Doraana Lindsey for a total of 17 infractions and to refer the cases to the U.S. attorney's office for possible prosecution.
The campaign finance office will ask the board to fine the four a total of $13,410, according to one source familiar with the complaint. The campaign finance office has filed similar charges in connection with Jarvis' 1984 reelection campaign, seeking $17,500 in fines. The three-member board of elections is expected to hold a hearing on those allegations late this summer. Meanwhile, the U.S. attorney's office and D.C. police are investigating to determine whether any of the alleged actions constitute criminal violations.
In a statement issued by her office, Jarvis, who is chairman of the Committee on Housing and Economic Development, said, "I am confident that the board will find no misuse of funds or any willful violations of the campaign finance laws."
However, she said if the board finds there have been technical infractions, "I will ensure that the committee moves swiftly to satisfy any requests from the board, including the payment of fines if necessary."
The complaint said that Jarvis' 1982 campaign did not maintain a detailed account of contributions. When auditors discovered from bank records that the campaign had taken in twice the amount of money reported, the committee filed an amended report that attempted "to correct those discrepancies by merely adding names and amounts . . . to arrive at the same amounts" as the auditors, the complaint said.
Campaign officials also failed to designate a treasurer as required after the appointed treasurer, James Collins, resigned in August 1982, the complaint said. Instead, Boggs signed the checks, although he was not authorized to do so from one bank account.
Campaign finance officials originally planned to charge Collins in the complaint, one source said, but later determined that he had no knowledge of the alleged violations.