Northern Virginia Republicans accused Alexandria Mayor James P. Moran Jr. yesterday of accepting illegal business contributions for his congressional campaign, a charge Moran aides said was based on an incorrect flier they circulated.
At a news conference, Republican officials led by Fairfax County GOP Chairman D. Patrick Mullins displayed a flier for a Moran fund-raiser July 22 that listed six Alexandria businesses as sponsors. Federal law bars businesses and corporations from contributing to congressional candidates.
Aides to Moran, a Democrat, said yesterday that the flier mischaracterized the businesses' role in the fund-raiser, a $20-a-head softball game organized by a coalition of political action committees. Kathy Lash, a campaign spokeswoman, said the flier was prepared by the PAC organizers and that Moran campaign officials did not catch the mistake.
Lash said four of the "sponsors" were restaurants that were paid for providing food, one was a car repair shop whose owner contributed to Moran and another did not participate.
Northern Virginia GOP leaders have previously accused Moran of violating federal election laws by using about $2,000 from a state-chartered PAC he controls for expenses related to his congressional campaign, a charge Moran denied. The Republicans asked the Federal Election Commission yesterday to investigate the July 22 fund-raiser.
According to Fred Eiland, a spokesman for the commission, the complaint will be evaluated by the agency's legal counsel; the commission's six members will decide whether it merits further investigation. Eiland said the commission makes no public statements about complaints until a decision has been reached.
"This is just another case of Mayor Moran's total disregard for federal election law," Mullins said in a statement. "This type of attitude and poor judgment is not what the people of Northern Virginia want in their congressman."
"We don't take corporate gifts and that's all there is to it," said Mame Reiley, Moran's campaign manager. The businesses "shouldn't have been listed as sponsors. We are being so careful" to obey campaign finance laws.