Audit of D.C. councilman's campaign completed

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Local,DC,Alan Blinder

D.C. regulators have completed an investigative audit of at-large Councilman Michael Brown's campaign for re-election, the lawmaker's spokesman said Wednesday, but the findings have not been made public.

"They've completed their audit, and it's a preliminary audit," said campaign spokesman Asher Corson, who said he had not reviewed the Office of Campaign Finance Office's report.

The city's campaign finance agency began looking into the Brown campaign after the first-term councilman said in June he had detected "unauthorized disbursements" from his war chest.

The Metropolitan Police Department has also been probing the incident, though no charges have been filed. A department spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Last month, OCF allowed Brown to postpone filing his August campaign finance disclosure while it continued its investigation. With the conclusion of the audit, Corson said, Brown will have to file a report by Monday. An OCF spokesman confirmed that timeline.

When OCF told Brown of the postponement in August, its audit manager told the legislator that he would be expected to file his disclosure reports once the review was finished.

"It has been our expectation that we would have to file an amended, consolidated report at the conclusion of their audit," Corson said. "We look forward to filing."

The campaign of David Grosso, who is challenging Brown in November's election and had criticized the postponement, initially sought to portray the filing as a reversal by regulators that Grosso helped spur.

"We are delighted that the Office of Campaign Finance recognizes their responsibility to the public to ensure that all campaign finance laws are followed and not grant unwarranted exceptions in the middle of an election," Grosso said in a statement. "My campaign will continue its fight for ethical and financial accountability in every aspect of the District's governance."

Grosso spokesman Joe Crea later backed away from the assertion that OCF had patently reversed itself, but he said Grosso's campaign had played a role in prompting a quick investigation.

"The campaign does believe that if we had not sent the letters and applied the pressure that we did, the investigation could have gone on indefinitely and Michael Brown might not have been required to file," Crea said.

ablinder@washingtonexaminer.com

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Alan Blinder

Staff Reporter, D.C. City Hall
The Washington Examiner