At long last, the Office of Campaign Finance has completed its audit of D.C. Council Chairman Kwame R. Brown’s
2004 2008 campaign for re-election as an at-large council member. As expected, the probe found numerous and significant irregularities in Brown’s financial reporting. OCF is likely to assess hefty fines in the coming weeks.
Brown emphasized today that the audit found that all of his campaign funds were used for campaign purposes. But there is no escaping that the audit indicated major failings in Brown’s filings, including an apparent effort to shield the distribution of nearly 30 percent of his campaign receipts to a company owned by his brother.
Tim Craig will have a full story shortly. But here are the top-line findings:
• Brown failed to report 221 separate contributions, plus other income, totaling more than $133,000.
• Brown failed to report 53 separate expenditures, plus other expenses, totaling almost $203,000.
• The Brown campaign sent eight payments totaling $31,590 through its doors in cash — in violation of campaign finance rules stating that only payments of $50 or less can be made in cash. Brown was initially able to provide documentation for only three of the eight payments.
• Brown sent nearly $380,000 — about half of his total campaign expenditures — to an outfit called Banner Consulting, hired to “manage the campaign field operations” for Brown. Of those payments to Banner, nearly three-quarters of the total, about $240,000, was sent to a company owned by Che Brown, Kwame’s brother — often on the same dates or in close proximity” as the campaign payments to Banner.
• Che Brown’s company, Partners in Learning, did not specify what services it rendered on the invoices it sent to Banner. A financial statement indicated that Partners in Learning spent $169,164 on “day labor”; plus another $5,600 on other expenses. But the company “failed to provide adequate documentation” to substantiate any of those expenses. The company’s profit, according to the report, was approximately $26,000.
• The Brown campaign kept incomplete documentation for multiple expenses, and there were various other discrepancies between Brown’s campaign finance reports and his bank records.
Here is the audit report: