PAC Supporting D.C. Mayor Draws Criticism

A new political action committee that already has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to promote D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s agenda is causing concerns the money could be used to target her opponents.

FreshPAC’s goal is to support or oppose council members in political fights or campaigns. While city finance laws allow PACs, this is the first associated with a sitting mayor. The unprecedented PAC has raised more than $300,000 so far from individuals, businesses and city contractors.

The Washington Post editorial page -- an overwhelming supporter of Bowser -- blasted the mayor and the PAC Sunday and said FreshPAC should be disbanded.

“What Mayor Bowser intends to do with this PAC is use it first of all to probably intimidate many city council members into following her program,” said Craig Holman of citizens lobby group Public Citizen.

Public Citizen noted the PAC can raise unlimited amounts of cash in off years, a quirk in city law.

“This violates the entire concept of a reasonable limit of money in politics,” Holman said.

Bowser defended FreshPAC and her fundraising for it.

"We're moving a lot of tough issues,” she said. “[The PAC] will support an agenda that people voted me to get done. There's no attempt to hide. The disclosure and sunlight is how everybody is aware. They're operating how the law contemplates.”

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