Officials of D.C. City Council member Charlene Drew Jarvis' 1984 campaign organization made improper expenditures totaling $172,832 and knowingly misrepresented numerous financial transactions, according to an Office of Campaign Finance audit issued yesterday that recommends the maximum civil penalties.
The final audit concluded that Jarvis, her adviser and campaign manager Woodrow Boggs Jr. and two former campaign treasurers were involved in a total of 16 violations of the D.C. campaign finance law. Keith Vance, director of the Office of Campaign Finance, last week referred the audit to the police department's Public Integrity unit, which has begun an investigation, according to police spokesman Lt. William White III.
Vance said yesterday he also plans to ask the three-member D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics on June 4 to fine Jarvis' campaign $9,500 in civil penalties and to consider referring the case to the U.S. attorney's office for prosecution.
Jarvis (D-Ward 4), a three-term council member who ran an unsuccessful campaign for mayor in 1982, heads the powerful Housing and Economic Development Committee, which oversees bank licensing, city housing projects and the issuance of millions of dollars worth of housing bonds.
Jarvis, who considered a bid for mayor this year, contends that the audit was issued by Vance at the behest of Mayor Marion Barry to hurt her political career -- a charge that Vance and Barry denied yesterday.
Boggs said that the audit's allegations lack credence, but that on the advice of a lawyer he cannot comment other than to say he intends to continue to cooperate with authorities.
"We will continue to submit documents to satisfy his [Vance's] concerns," Boggs said. " . . . We obviously want to comply."
According to the report, auditors for the campaign finance office found numerous discrepancies when they compared bank records and canceled checks with the campaign's financial reports.
The auditors listed $3,956 in payments to Boggs that were not supported by canceled checks, $5,586 in checks to Boggs that were not listed on campaign finance reports and $4,900 in checks improperly made out to cash and endorsed by Boggs.
Although he was not the campaign treasurer and lacked the authority to issue checks, the report stated, Boggs authorized 487 payments totaling $161,957.
City Council Chairman David A. Clarke said yesterday that, "If after a hearing and adjudication, there is a finding of serious violation, the council may want to consider taking appropriate action."
Informed of Clarke's comments, Jarvis released a statement saying, "Mr. Clarke has lost touch with reality."
Dawn Alexander, an aide to Jarvis, said it was inappropriate for other council members to involve themselves in the Jarvis matter because it does not involve them. She said the campaign committee has hired lawyer Albert Turkus "to reaffirm to the Office of Campaign Finance the responsiveness and validity of documents submitted to the office."
"In the interim," Alexander said, "council member Jarvis will continue to focus on issues of importance to the city."
Barry, who described Jarvis as "a political friend," said yesterday that Vance acts independently of Barry's instructions. "He has criticized some of my own employes . . . . He has audited my financial statements. I can't tell him when to start an audit and when not to."
The audit report alleged a number of minor infractions, including the failure of the campaign committee to list a new treasurer on campaign literature and to list 17 contributors' occupations.
The more serious charges include the campaign's acceptance of 72 payments in excess of the $400 limit for individual contributions, missing bills for $174,544 in expenditures and the lack of contributor records for 88 percent of 1,067 contributions.
The report also alleges that Jarvis' campaign did not adequately document payments to Helena R. Henderson, the campaign treasurer who, along with her predecessor Bert W. Smith, is cited in the audit for violations. The report said Henderson received $1,162 in payments for which no canceled checks could be found and an additional $1,440 in payments that were not listed on the campaign's financial reports.
It further charges that Boggs personally contributed $5,440 more to the campaign than the amount permitted by law and and that Urban Strategies Inc., a firm that Boggs heads, contributed $14,400 more than the legal limit.
One of Jarvis' former campaign officials, who asked not to be named, described the violations as "technical" and "emphasizing form over substance."
Jarvis sent a letter to Vance this week saying that Boggs had been authorized to act as a treasurer for the campaign, receiving deposits and expending funds.
"I have reviewed the campaign records and your preliminary audit and regard neither the amounts paid to Woodrow Boggs, Urban Strategies or any member of my campaign staff excessive or inconsistent with the authority delegated them to conduct a successful campaign," Jarvis said in the letter.
Jarvis' letter also said that the campaign was late in answering some questions because the landlord of the building in which the campaign office was located took some of the campaign records and because many campaign people involved with the campaign could not be reached.
Vance yesterday denied Jarvis' allegations that he has treated conflict-of-interest violations by officials of the Barry administration much more lightly, saying that "the situations are totally different."
Vance recommended no action earlier this year when D.C. Public Works Director John Touchstone disclosed that he had accepted hotel lodging and travel worth a total of $1,720 from a contractor doing business with his agency. Vance described Touchstone's actions "a very minor technicality."
Vance also did not recommend any action when Alphonse G. Hill, then deputy mayor for finance, acknowledged in an amended disclosure statement that he accepted $3,000 from a city contractor. Vance said then that there was no reason for him to get involved because the U.S. attorney's office was investigating.
Vance said yesterday it was impossible to compare conflict-of-interest cases with campaign finance violations, though both carry the same potential penalties under the law. He also said that, in contrast to Jarvis, both Touchstone and Hill "complied immediately" upon notification.