The efforts of some prominent ex-offender advocates against mayoral candidate David A. Catania have generated a complaint to city campaign finance authorities.
Marie Drissel, a former city official and prominent Catania supporter, filed a complaint Tuesday with the D.C. Office of Campaign Finance naming three activists as well as “D.C. Citizens Against Catania,” a group whose name appeared on signs and T-shirts late last week.
That group has not registered with campaign finance officials, as required by law for political organizations, and those signs and T-shirts did not include mandatory language indicating who had paid for them.
Drissel’s complaint cited a Sunday Washington Post story naming the three activists — Yango Sawyer, Debra Rowe and Eddie Moton — as being involved in anti-Catania campaigning during a debate at Anacostia High School last week. Only Moton, the story reported, was seen handling the apparently illicit campaign materials.
Sawyer declined to comment Tuesday, and Rowe said she plans to call a news conference in the coming days to address the allegations. Moton could not be reached; incidentally, he is not related to prominent activist Ronald Moten, who was mistakenly identified as being involved with the campaigning in an e-mail that Catania’s campaign sent to supporters Tuesday.
Drissel’s complaint goes on to allege the activists’ efforts were “coordinated with” the campaign of Democratic candidate Muriel E. Bowser. The Bowser campaign acknowledged an August phone call with ex-offender advocates but repeatedly denied having any knowledge of or participation in their campaign efforts. “It’s not us,” Bowser said Sunday. “If it was us, it would have said, ‘Paid for by Muriel Bowser for Mayor.’”
In a campaign appearance Monday, Catania referred to the activists’ recent efforts as “the shadow campaign, the sequel” — comparing the unreported signs and T-shirts to the secret 2010 campaign on behalf of Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) funded by businessman Jeffrey E. Thompson.
Wesley Williams, a spokesman for the campaign finance office, said investigators had received a complaint Tuesday and are reviewing the matter.
Aaron C. Davis contributed to this report.