The District’s top law enforcement official accepted thousands of dollars in illegal campaign contributions and is now the focus of a review by the DC Office of Campaign Finance. DC Attorney General Karl Racine’s 2014 campaign accepted at least $3,500 in excessive contributions, according to a review of records by News 4.
Contributions to candidates for Attorney General are limited by law to $1,500.
Since News4 brought the illegal donations to the attention of the OCF and Racine, the attorney general’s campaign has repaid $3,500 to four donors, including Home Depot’s political action committee and AT&T. Three individuals also received refunds.
A senior advisor to the Racine campaign who did not want to be identified by name told News4 in an email, "As soon as the oversight was pointed out, it was reviewed quickly, and once validated, refunds were issued within 24 hours."
This comes two months after D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s campaign was fined $13,000 for accepting $11,000 in illegal contributions. The Bowser campaign also refunded those donations.
When asked if the Racine campaign was facing any fines, an OCF representative told News4 the matter is still under review by that office.
“Pursuant to your inquiry, the Office of Campaign Finance re-examined the Reports of Receipts & Expenditures filed by the Karl Racine for AG principal campaign committee, spokesman Wesley Williams said in a statement.
"The examination of the reports shows that there may have been five (5) excessive contributions. This resulted in the issuance of a Request For Additional Information (RFAI) to the committee to which we received a response. Additionally, the most recent report filed by the committee (the July 31st R&E Report) shows refunds of contributions questioned by you, included. However, the matter remains under inquiry," Williams continued.
Racine, who has been rumored to be considering challenging Bowser for the mayor’s office, has proposed legislation that would prohibit any businesses that donate to District political campaigns from seeking contracts with the District government.
News4 has submitted requests to OCF for 2 D.C. Council candidates who, from a review of their campaign filings, also appear to have accepted excessive donations. OCF is reviewing those records.
Racine’s campaign issued the following refunds:
Home Depot PAC: $1,500
Clifford Barnes: $250.00
Chester Burrell: $500.00
Jeff Guimond: $1,000
Stay with News4 for more details on this developing story.