For months, political observers of the District's exploratory committees have wondered where some of the mayoral hopefuls got their cash.
D.C. Council member Adrian M. Fenty (D-Ward 4) and his council colleague, Vincent B. Orange Sr. (D-Ward 5), made the majority of contributors to their committees public months ago. Fenty raised a total of $312,000 and Orange more than $175,000.
Until Tuesday, Michael A. Brown and A. Scott Bolden had refrained from revealing their financial backers. But under a new city law requiring exploratory committees to report to the D.C. Office of Campaign Finance, Brown and Bolden opened their exploratory ledgers.
Brown, who plans to announce his candidacy for mayor in September, provided a complete list of donors to The Washington Post. Brown said he's collected a total of $151,345, including $76,400 raised after March 1.
Brown made 23 contributions to his committee with his own money, ranging from $300 to $3,500 for a total of $38,000.
Bolden raised more than $160,000, including four contributions of his own money, totaling $16,000, and nearly $50,000 from his fellow lawyers at Reed Smith, a K Street firm.
What's more interesting is how these mayoral hopefuls spent the money.
Brown spent $17,000 on consultants, with the lion's share going to political strategist Joe Ruffin, who was paid $7,500, and to media adviser Andre Johnson, who received $6,000. Office rent for March and April to Alcalde & Fay was $7,607.
He doesn't raise money on the cheap, either.
Brown spent $22,000 the Ortanique Restaurant for fundraising costs related to his 40th birthday party. Mya, the popular R&B singer who serenaded Brown, was paid $7,000.
He paid a legal retainer of $1,750 to Sandler, Reiff & Young, the law firm of Joseph Sandler, the former general counsel for the Democratic National Committee. Sandler also is Brown's treasurer.
"Remember, I had to build a political apparatus," Brown said.
Bolden, who has aborted his mayoral aspirations for now and decided to run for an at-large seat on the D.C. Council, spent $20,000 on consulting with McLean Clark LLC, a fundraising firm. Ronald L. Lester, a local pollster, was paid $20,000 for consulting services. Bolden also paid two exploratory committee officials, Brandon Hill and Eric J. Jones, nearly $16,000 and more than $14,000, respectively. Jones was executive director of the exploratory committee and Hill its chief executive.
Bolden reimbursed himself $10,500 for the production of a "video biography" that ran on cable and public television. Another $6,142 was paid to Gilbert Wolfand, for accounting services. Eye2Eye Communications was paid $1,200 for rent and $3,750 for consulting services.
The L.A. Bolden Co., which is owned by Bolden's ex-wife, Lisa, was paid $3,500 for editing services.
She helped produce the video biography.
Johns Filling Coffers
Former telecommunications executive Marie C. Johns may have jumped in the pool of mayoral candidates just two weeks ago, but she's already started fundraising.
Under D.C. law, she is not required to file a campaign finance report until January. But Johns said she has about $46,000 in her campaign coffers and plans to raise lots more by the next filing deadline. "I'm working on getting my fundraising effort up and running," she said Tuesday.
Mendelson Likes His Odds
Repeat after him: Council member Phil Mendelson will not be in a "tough" race.
A challenging one maybe, a busy one definitely, but not a tough one, according to the at-large Democratic council member.
Mendelson, who is white, says the evolving election lineup actually promises to help him in an expected Democratic primary battle against two black opponents: David Bowers, an affordable housing executive, and Bolden, the former D.C. Democratic Party chairman.
While Mendelson has never received more than 50 percent of the vote in past Democratic primaries against multiple candidates, he says his record and the campaign calendar will work in his favor this time.
Next year, in addition to elections for mayor, council chairman and the at-large seats held by Mendelson and David A. Catania (I-At Large), there will be elections in Wards 1, 3, 5 and 6, according to the city elections office.
Mendelson says the ward lineup includes his home base in Ward 3, which will work to his advantage by drawing some of his strongest supporters to the polls.
To show he is serious about holding on to his seat, Mendelson filed a campaign finance report this week showing that he has so far raised $30,500 for the campaign and has yet to spend a penny. Every cent was raised in the last three days before the reporting period that ended Sunday, including a $1,000 check from himself.
Bowers, meanwhile, raised $29,073 and had $9,435 on hand. Bowers lent his campaign $13,856.
Bolden raised $37,825 in two weeks and has $31,415 on hand. At least $17,000 of it came from Bolden's own checkbook.
As the financial front-runner, Bolden said he begs to differ with Mendelson's assessment of the road ahead.
"The campaign finance reports are pretty indicative of what is to come,'' Bolden said.