Not Enough Signatures to Put Corporate Political Donations Ban on November Ballot

A grassroots movement in the District to ban corporate contributions to local political campaigns and committees may have failed.

The D.C. Board of Elections ruled that not enough signatures were submitted to qualify for the Nov. 6 ballot.

A few weeks ago the D.C. Public Trust Coalition was confident as leader Bryan Weaver submitted petitions bearing 30,000 signatures to the board. On Wednesday, Weaver took the petitions home after the board ruled the effort fell about 1,700 valid signatures short of the 23,000 needed.

“For groups of community activists I think that probably this hurts a little bit, but I don’t think many of us are particularly deterred in the overall thing,” Weaver said.

The activists have just two weeks to review their files to correct enough address and registration errors to get the proposal reconsidered -- a tough task. They can’t try to get new signatures.

Mayor Vincent Gray, who has declined to take a stand on Initiative 70, said he still plans to introduce his own ethics reforms that were first expected last spring.

“What I am going to do is we are in the latter stages now of putting together our own legislative package, and I think I would ask you all to look at that first,” he said.

The slow move to act by the mayor and the D.C. Council is what prompted the effort in the first place, activists said.

“Many members of the council and the mayor have actually talked about some proposals which are very appealing,” Weaver said. “The problem is there just doesn’t seem to be a majority of the council that’s willing to put these initiatives forward.”

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