Grosso, Brown campaigns spar over finance reporting

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Local,DC,Liz Farmer

At-large D.C. Council candidate David Grosso has called for the D.C. Office of Campaign Finance to freeze his opponent's campaign bank accounts after that office's decision to not disclose Councilman Michael Brown's most recent campaign finance report.

Grosso is calling for the freeze after Brown in June reported to the Metropolitan Police Department that thousands of dollars disappeared from his campaign account. Following the news, the OCF did not release Brown's Aug. 10 campaign finance report on the grounds that it was part of the investigation.

Brown has since closed that account and separately released a list of his most recent campaign contributions. But Grosso said Tuesday that's not enough.

"If there's a new account opened, why can't he go ahead and report on that new account?" Grosso said after being told Brown had closed the account under investigation.

He said his issue was primarily with OCF and its decision to withhold information. But when asked if his gripe with the office would have the side effect of damaging Brown's campaign, he said "absolutely it does."

A spokesman for the Brown campaign fired back at Grosso, calling him a "desperate" opponent who was making "false accusations" to get attention.

"It's unfortunate that our opponent views being the victim of a crime as a strategy to damage our campaign," said Asher Corson. "It's a little disturbing to hear that."

Corson added Grosso's "willingness to make false and uninformed statements about his opponent should call into question his ethics and fitness for office."

No one has been charged with any wrongdoing in Brown's campaign, but the councilman removed his longtime campaign treasurer after reporting the discrepancies to MPD.

Grosso's statement comes just days after he and a founder of DC Watch challenged the validity of signatures the Brown campaign submitted to earn the councilman's spot on the ballot.

lfarmer@washingtonexaminer.com

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