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Morning Read: Bundling Contributions

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Morning Read: Bundling Contributions

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Bundling. It's great if you're trying to get a deal on cable, high-speed internet and a home phone, or if you want cheaper auto and home insurance. But, as one can imagine, it's frowned upon when it comes to campaign contributions.

WAMU took a closer look at D.C. Council's attempt to pass an ethics overhaul bill before the end of the year, and bundling, also known as the "LLC Loophole," became a hot topic.

As WAMU reported, the latest campaign records for five council members up for re-election next year were reviewed, and it was found that "there were 75 cases of contributions coming from multiple corporate entities that share the same address. In many examples, it was just two companies. In a few there were as many as 8, 10, even 12 companies all listing the same address that contributed to a council member's campaign committee."

WAMU said that's notable "because a person controlling all these companies could theoretically donate 8, 10, or 12 times the contribution limit to a single candidate."

Many on the council don't seem to want to change from the status quo, however. WAMU reminds us that when Tommy Wells proposed changing this, "he couldn't muster a single yes vote from is colleagues."

* Speaking of the D.C. Council, the Washington Post dropped an editorial on us Friday calling for public accounting from Harry Thomas Jr., who the Post said is "asking a federal judge to keep secret details of his agreement to repay defaulted student loans in order to protect his privacy."

The Post doesn't agree, saying his failure to repay is a "matter of interest to the taxpayers who foot the bill."

From the editorial: "Mr. Thomas’s inability to realize that he, as a public official, is accountable to the public comes as no surprise. He apparently thought that questions raised more than a year ago about the nature of his nonprofit Team Thomas would go away if he stonewalled long enough."

* As reported earlier this morning on First Read DMV, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray has a plan to cover the $1.6 million cost of hosting the Occupy DC protesters since October: pass the bill on to the federal government. He said the District doesn't have that much cash set aside to pay for the protests.

* Have you always wanted to get into politics? Now's the time if you live in Hagerstown. And there's a good chance you'll win. As the Herald-Mail reports, "less than a month remains for candidates to file to run for elected office in the city of Hagerstown, but no one had done so as of Thursday, according to a county election official." The deadline for candidates to file for the primary is Jan. 11, although the date of the primary could change depending on a lawsuit challenging redistricting.

* As the Washington Examiner reports, Gov. Bob McDonnell said Thursday that he would make the largest contribution to the public employee pension fund in Virginia history, but that the "net result could be higher local property taxes."

* Politico makes some news on the race for Virginia lieutenant governor in 2013. According to the site, "Pete Snyder, a Republican and northern Virginia technology executive, is stepping away from the firm he founded and considering a run." Politico reported that Snyder has "in recent years become more involved in Virginia politics. He was a major backer of Gov. Bob McDonnell’s gubernatorial campaign and remains close to the governor.

* WTOP conducted a poll recently to tell us what we already know: the public doesn't trust politicians. The WTOP poll found that "the percentage of D.C. metro residents who say the U.S. is on the wrong track rose from 63 percent in September to 67 percent in December. The poll showed that, in our area, Virginia residents are the most pessimistic, with "76 percent saying the country is on the wrong track." AS for D.C. residents, 46 percent said they feel the country is on the wrong track, while 47 percent said the country is heading in the right direction.

* There was a big vote for the presidency of the Frederick County Board of Education Wednesday, but it ended in a 3-3 tie between current president Brad Young and Angie Fish. How could that be? The Frederick News-Post Online said it was because one board member, Katie Groth, "missed the vote because she was vacationing in Costa Rica." She told the paper Thursday that she doesn't know who she will vote for when a second vote is taken Jan. 11.

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