Biddle will end loopholes and follow spirit, not just letter of the law
Washington, DC – Today Sekou Biddle, Democratic candidate for DC Council At-Large, called on his opponent, Councilmember Vincent Orange, to stop using government resources and employees to promote his campaign, and to reimburse the District for the cost. On Friday, March 16 Councilmember Orange used official email and other government resources to send out a newsletter touting his “accomplishments”, these are the same so-called accomplishments he uses daily in his stump speech while campaigning to stay in office.
Under DC Government rules, the use of government resources, specifically newsletters and other mass communications, is prohibited within 90 days of an election that a councilmember is running in. In the year 2012, when the vast majority of communication is electronic, Orange is defying common sense by using a narrow interpretation of the word “mail” to only mean paper mail and in turn skirt the law. Orange is exploiting a loophole that should be closed, and has used public resources for personal and political purposes.
“Councilmember Orange is clearly feeling the pressure of the federal investigation into his top donor’s campaign finances and his own acceptance of thousands of dollars in suspicious money orders and decided he needed to give himself some good press using his government email list,” said Biddle. “While it may be technically legal, it is well beyond the spirit and intent of the law to use email for a newsletter just days before an election, particularly one with such a tight race. Councilmember Orange needs to reimburse the taxpayers for the cost of the newsletter. These tactics are part of a larger pattern of behavior where Orange is willing to skirt the law in order to benefit himself.
“As a councilmember I will fight to close this, and every other loophole that councilmembers have created to benefit themselves and abuse their position of power. Better ethical standards cannot just be rhetoric, they need to reflected in the actions and choices that councilmembers make every day. I promise to be an honest and ethical leader on the council, not just someone who talks about being one. It is time to end this era of corruption and pay to play that benefits Councilmembers and their donors but leaves DC residents behind.”