|Chairman Linda W. Cropp at the request of the
A PROPOSED RESOLUTION IN THE COUNCIL OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
To confirm the reappointment of Mr. Benjamin F. Wilson to the District of Columbia
Board of Elections and Ethics.
RESOLVED, BY THE COUNCIL OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, That this resolution may be cited
as the "District of Columbia Board of Elections and Ethics Benjamin F. Wilson
Confirmation Resolution of 2001".
Sec. 2. The Council of the District of Columbia confirms the reappointment of
Mr. Benjamin F. Wilson
7825 Orchid Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20012
as a member of the District of Columbia Board of Elections and Ethics, established by
section 3 of the District of Columbia Election Code of 1955, approved August 12, 1955 (69
Stat. 699; D.C. Code §1-1303), for a term to end July 7, 2003.
Sec. 3. The Council of the District of Columbia shall transmit a copy of this
resolution, upon its adoption, each to the nominee and to the Office of the Mayor.
Sec. 4. This resolution shall take effect immediately.
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|NAME: Benjamin F. Wilson
||BIRTH DATE: 06/29/51
|ADDRESS: 7825 Orchid St., NW
Washington, DC 20012
|MARITAL STATUS: Married
|TELEPHONE: (202) 789-6023 (office)
(202) 726-8834 (home)
Wilbraham Academy, Wilbraham, MA, Graduated: 1969
Dartmouth College, Dartmouth, NH, A.B. 1973
Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, J.D. 1976
Phi Beta Kappa Dartmouth College 1973
Magna Cum Laude Dartmouth College 1973
Rufus Choate Scholar Dartmouth College 1973
Senior Fellow Dartmouth College 1973
King & Spalding, Atlanta, GA, Assoc. Atty, 1976-79
US Dept of Justice, Washington, DC Trial Atty, 1979-83
Rose, Schmidt, Chapman, Duff & Hasley, Washington, DC, Assoc. Partner, 1983-86
Beveridge & Diamond, P.C., Washington, DC, Partner 1986-present
US District Court, Northern District of Georgia, 1977
US District Court, District of Columbia, 1984
US Claims Court, 1979
US Court of Appeals, 11th Circuit, 1984
US Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit, 1985
US District Court, Northern District of California, 1988
US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, 1988
American Bar Association
District of Columbia Bar Association
Federal Bar Association
National Bar Association
Washington Bar Association
Benjamin F. Wilson draws his litigation expertise from experience in both the public
and private sectors. A native of Jackson, Mississippi, Mr. Wilson graduated magna cum
laude from Dartmouth College in 1973 with an AB. degree in history. While at Dartmouth, he
was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and named both a Rufus Choate Scholar and a Senior Fellow.
He received his Juris Doctor degree from Harvard Law School in 1976.
After several years in private practice with the Atlanta, Georgia law firm of King
& Spalding, specializing in litigation and tax matters, Mr. Wilson joined the Civil
Division of the Department of Justice in 1979. At the Justice Department, he gained
substantial trial expertise in commercial litigation matters, appearing on behalf of the
government in the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, the United
States Court of Claims and district courts throughout the United States. While at the
Department, he received Special Achievement Awards in recognition of his performance in
1981 and 1982. Prior to joining Beveridge & Diamond, P.C., Mr. Wilson joined the law
firm-of Rose, Schmidt, Chapman, Duff and Hasley as an associate in 1983. In 1985, he
became a partner in the firm, specializing in civil litigation.
Mr. Wilson joined Beveridge & Diamond, P.C. as a partner in 1986. He was elected to
the Management Committee of the firm in 1989 and was the Chairman of the Litigation
Practice Group in 1991 and 1992. His present litigation practice as a partner with
Beveridge & Diamond, P.C. encompasses a wide range of activities in both state and
federal courts, including commercial litigation matters, environmental litigation and
regulatory matters, and trademark infringement matters. He has been lead counsel in
several complex commercial and environmental litigation matters for major corporations and
developers, including Bechtel, Pepsico, Clorox, Hoechst Celanese. Kaiser Permanente and
Operations Management International. He has also spoken on numerous occasions on various
commercial and environmental litigation topics.
Mr. Wilson also has represented a number of cities and local government agencies,
including the District of Columbia Armory Board; the District of Columbia Sports
Commission; the Port of Oakland, California; New Haven, Connecticut; and New Orleans,
Louisiana, on Clean Water Act Enforcement and wetlands development matters. He has served
as lead environmental counsel to the District of Columbia Sports Commission on the project
to build the new MCI Arena for the Washington Bullets professional basketball team and
Washington Capitals professional hockey team He has addressed issues related to the siting
of the arena, as well as environmental issues related to historic preservation, soil
contamination, air, ground traffic, noise, visual impacts and wetlands.
Mr. Wilson is experienced in dealing with cases involving the impact of the filling of
wetlands and the obligations to comply with federal and state environmental laws.
Specifically, he has become involved in both regulatory and litigation issues arising out
of the filling of wetlands as part of the expansion of airports and stadium projects. He
has served as lead counsel in numerous "Superfund" cases and on environmental
audits and assessments pertaining to the sale of corporations and their assets.
Mr. Wilson has represented the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and
Resolution Trust Corporation (RTC) on a wide variety of environmental issues pertaining to
the sale and ownership of real property, and on wetlands and Endangered Species Act
litigation. He has also served as legal counsel for the FDIC and RTC on several complex
commercial litigation matters.
Mr. Wilson has counseled small and developing businesses throughout his career. He has
also counseled on a variety of commercial contract matters and negotiated player contracts
on behalf of professional athletes.
A member of the bars of Georgia and the District of Columbia, Mr. Wilson is active in
the American Bar Association; the National Bar Association, where he serves as Chairman of
the Environmental, Energy and Public Utilities Section; and the Washington Bar
Association. He serves as Chairman of the Board of Elections and Ethics of the District of
Columbia; Chairman of the Board of Directors of Healthy Babies, Inc.; was formerly
Chairman of the Advisory Board of WAMU public radio; and is a member of the Boards of the
Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law; Funds for the Community's
Future; and the Advisory Board of the National Association for Public Interest Law.
D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics
Summary of Accomplishments
Benjamin F. Wilson has been a member of the Board of Elections and Ethics since June
1990. He was first appointed by Mayor Marion Barry. Approximately 16 months into his
appointment Mr. Wilson was named as Chairman of the Board by Mayor Sharon Pratt Kelly and
continued to serve as the Chairman under Mayor Barry and Mayor Anthony Williams.
Since his membership and subsequent appointment as chairman of the Board, Mr. Wilson
has been responsible for a significant number of accomplishments.
In his present role, as the Board's Chairman, Mr. Wilson is responsible for promoting
the operations of the agency in a manner that is results driven, and policy strong. His
responsibilities have included overseeing the successful coordination of functions which
include financial and program development. All of the agency services and programs that he
is responsible for administering, must be instituted in a manner that is oriented to
customer service. His directive to the staff must also be mission oriented and
technologically strong. Since his membership on the Board there have been developments
within the agency that he has promoted and deserve recognition.
Prevention of Voter Fraud
Beginning in 1998, for the first time in the history of the Board, Mr. Wilson initiated
the process of a voter roll comparison with the contiguous jurisdictions of the District
of Columbia. In a manner that promoted the Board's goal of pursuing all available legal
means to make certain that the roll remained accurate. The Board's staff, in cooperation
with Maryland and Virginia state election officials, commenced an investigation into voter
irregularities and possible fraud. While the entire process took approximately four months
to complete, the end result was a more reliable voter roll for the District of Columbia.
The project continues to be praised for initiative and thoroughness by elected officials
and members of the public.
The Board's development of the website was initiated during Mr. Wilson's tenure as
Chair. The D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics website has been online since August of 1997
when it was posted with approximately twenty-five pages; at that time we had around forty
visitors a day. The website was designed to be easy to navigate and accessible to all
Internet users, regardless of their expertise or the sophistication of their equipment.
With this premise in mind it was decided to keep it as simple as possible while offering
all the information and features required in any first class "Election Website".
The number of daily visitors currently approaches three hundred,
peaking at three thousand on dates surrounding an election. The Board is currently
offering to the public more than seven hundred pages; among other resources worth
Information for Voters. History of the electoral process in D.C., how to
register to vote, registration forms, how to vote, forms to request an absentee ballot,
where to vote, polling place locator, maps of polling places indicating their
accessibility, extensive information about Initiative and Referendum, DCMR Chapters 10
& 11, Information about ANC, ANC/SMD locator, etc.
Information for Candidates. Candidate guide, DCMR Chapter 16, guidelines
for placing and removing political campaign posters, electioneering guidance for
candidates and campaign workers, ANC vacancies, DCMR Chapter 13, election calendars, list
of candidates for each election, etc.
General Information. Historical and current lists of elected officials, election
results since 1994, list of political parties, monthly registration statistics since May
1996, N.V.R.A. reports, etc.
Miscellaneous information. Scheduled meetings of the Board, election information
in Spanish, forms in Spanish, information from the General Counsel Office, DCMR Chapter 4,
links to other election related websites, election worker information, online application
form, election worker newsletter, National Voter Registration Application, etc.
Office of Campaign Finance. Campaign Finance guide in four different
computer formats, important events calendar, DCMR Chapters 30 to 37 and 99, Discloser
newsletter, twenty-seven OCF forms.
Beside being updated on a daily basis, especially in a year with four
elections, an interactive map of the city has been developed that is divided by ANC and
sub divided into SMD; once this project is completed the public will be able to find,
through the use of the "locator", their Single Member District map including the
addresses inside that SMD. We expect this to be especially useful for the ANC candidates
in the upcoming General Election.
With the imminent development of "digital signatures" we are
also studying the feasibility of registering to vote and voting over the Internet as a way
to improve and facilitate the election process.
Recently the Board has undertaken the process of checking voter
registration information by utilizing the National Change Of Address Program (NCOA) and
the National Social Security Death List. With respect to those two programs, both NCOA and
the social Security Death List will serve as vital tools in ensuring the integrity of the
voter roll. The ability to utilize these programs will result in a more reliable and
credible voter roll. These programs enhance the agency operations while ensuring access to
the franchise for qualified residents.
Further, with respect to voter roll maintenance, Mr. Wilson with the
support of the Board's staff has directed the coordination and work with the Senior Staff
of the Department of Motor Vehicles to develop and institute an intra-agency program. The
essence of this program is information sharing. The Department of Motor Vehicles provides,
on a regular basis, a tape with the names and addresses of D.C. residents that have
surrendered their local driver's license. This information allows the Board to send a mail
canvass to those individuals who are registered voters, but have failed to update their
residence address with the Board. Since the 1998 development of this program the Board has
been able to remove a significant number of names from the voter roll based on information
received from the subsequent mail canvass process.
With the threat of a technological breakdown, and the possibility of
complete inoperability, in conjunction with the Office of Chief Technology, a Y2K
contingency plan for the agency was accepted and approved. Under this plan the agency
functioned without any interruption of services, during the "Y2K bug" scare.
Significantly, the plan was tested and accepted by the District's Chief Technology Officer
Development of Local Area Network
The agency has also undertook the responsibility for directing the
development of the website and the, establishment of the Local Area Network (LAN) for the
agency. These technological upgrades and enhancements have resulted in a more efficient
agency, as well as a better informed electorate, with critical information being
accessible on the website. The use of the website was clearly demonstrated during the 1998
election cycle when it experienced an average high of 195.4 visits per day. During the
November election cycle, there was a daily average high of 254 visits, requesting over
33,400 documents. The development of the website has improved customer service and the
agency has been commended for its design.
Continuing with the technological upgrades, under Mr. Wilson's
direction, the agency has recently installed SignaScan. SignaScan is a signature
verification and retrieval system that is designed to decrease the time required for
verifying signatures on petitions and absentee ballots, while increasing the overall
accuracy of the process. This improvement will minimize the overtime requirements
associated with all electoral processes involving verification of voter signatures. It
will allow the staff to utilize the scanned signature from a registrant's original voter
card to verify a signature on a petition or ballot envelope. Overall, SignaScan will
increase productivity and reliability, while significantly reducing the cost. Significant
with this development is the time that will be eliminated during this year's election
cycle should an initiative measure be filed with the Board. Given the expedited time
needed to process initiative petitions the enhancement and installation of SignaScan will
greatly assist with this process.
Further, with the encouragement of Mr. Wilson the agency has completed overseeing the
development of a training video for the Board's election day workers. The video, which was
professionally filmed in house, is comprised of one combined and six individual segments.
Each segment is specifically dedicated to a position on the precinct team. One segment,
which is a combination of all six portions, and will be used by the precinct captain. The
video, is supplemented with in-house, hands on training, and testing that all of the
election day workers must complete prior to precinct assignment. The use of the video has
been utilized for training during this year's elections. Election workers are pleased with
the video and have welcomed and complemented its development.
From the time of his appointment to the Board, Mr. Wilson has been a strong advocate
for the needs of the disabled. Mr. Wilson has insisted on accessibility for all voters.
Presently, there has been a national move to focus on the needs of the handicapped and Mr.
Wilson has been at the forefront of promoting these needs as it relates to the District's
precincts. With this in mind, he has directed the task of re-evaluating the city's polling
facilities by documenting the size, area, and design of each precinct. This is being done
through the use of a photograph with CD-ROM capability. The end result will serve as a
means for providing fundamental information, and a visual image for recommendations of
temporary and permanent structural modifications. This information, once completed will
eventually serve as a vital resource for the electorate, poll workers, as well as the
legislature for budget purposes.
Performance Evaluation and Reports
As the Board Chairman, Mr. Wilson has assisted with the development of
the agency's annual Performance Plans and Performance Reports to the legislature to
satisfy budget determinations. During his tenure, the decisions affecting the agency
budget authority have not resulted in a reduction. In fact, the legislature has determined
that the agency operations are credible, balanced and justified. This has resulted in an
increased budget to allow for substantive programs and upgrades. Further with the current
budget cycle, the Council and the Mayor have approved a significant increase in funding to
upgrade and enhance the current voter registration and ballot tabulation system. The
projected date of installation of the enhancements will be in time for the year 2002
elections. This must be further commended in that the request for and granting of
additional funding has led to the implementation of such programs as the National Change
of Address Program (NCOA), and the purchase of the Social Security Master Death List.
In addition to the aforementioned duties, the Board has constantly been charged with
conducting multiple elections. At a moments notice the Board is placed in the situation of
immediately coordinating and preparing for city-wide elections, many of which are Special
Elections which are unplanned, unscheduled and unpredictable. The onset of a special
election means that immediate attention must be given to detail associated with notice to
the public, poll worker training, ordering of supplies and equipment, augmentation of
staff, supply and equipment delivery, precinct availability, and Board meetings required
for the successful outcome of the election. This has meant being available for required
Board meetings, ruling on the merits of petition challenges, and providing ballot access
to those candidates and measures that legally warrant access. This has meant analyzing the
election statute and the Board's regulations in a manner consistent with the Court's
interpretation on a wide range of matters.
BOARD OF ELECTION AND ETHICS LITIGATION: 1990-2000
The District of Columbia Board of Elections and Ethics is vested with
authority to administer and enforce the provisions of the District of Columbia Election
Act, (D.C. Code §1-1301 et seq.) and the District of Columbia Campaign Finance Reform and
Conflict of Interest Act. (D.C. Code §1-1401 et. seq.) Given the District's short history
as an election jurisdiction1, judicial review of the Board's
actions in the past several years has been a crucial element in the development of the
franchise. In the last decade, the Board, under the direction of Chairman Benjamin F.
Wilson, has successfully prevailed in more than 90% of its cases. These cases involved
challenges to voter registration, candidate qualifications, ballot access, campaigning,
certification of election results and overall constitutional challenges to the Board's
election process. The Board's aggressive defense of its actions and pursuit of elections
offenses in court are critical to the integrity of the electoral process. The following
are a few of the Board's more significant cases in the past several years:
Orange v. D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics
629 A.2d 575 (1993)
D.C. Court of Appeals upholds Board's procedures for validating
challenged nominating petitions.
Dorsey v. D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics
648 A.2d 675 (1994)
D.C. Court of Appeals upholds Board's determination that proposed
initiative that would have prohibited "booting" motor vehicles, and required
granting amnesty from penalties for late payment of traffic fines was not proper subject
for initiative. The proposed initiative would have negated Budget Request Act to extent
act was based on projected revenues from those sources, and initiative improperly proposed
a "laws appropriating funds".
Pree v. D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics
645 A.2d 603 (1994)
D.C. Court of Appeals upholds Board's interpretation of "filed," as used in
election statute, as meaning that challenges are timely filed if challenger is personally
within the Board's offices by 4:45 p.m. on the final day for filing and possesses
challenged documents is reasonable.
Allen v. D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics
663 A:2d 489 (1995)
D.C. Court of Appeals articulates standard for setting aside election results. Insofar
as the Board of Elections legal conclusions are concerned, the appellate court must defer
to the Board's interpretation of the statute which it administers, and, especially of the
regulations which it has promulgated, so long as that interpretation is not plainly wrong.
United States v. Gregory Mitchell et. al
96 - CT 868 (1996)
As a result of hearings conducted by the Board on corrupt election practices and
subsequent criminal referral to the Office of the Corporation Counsel by Chairman Wilson
four individuals were prosecuted for being circulators who willfully submitted nominating
petitions that contained signatures that were not written by the persons whose signatures
they purported to be. Three of the four individuals plead guilty to one count of corrupt
election practices and the fourth was convicted by a jury.
Stevenson v. D.C. Board of Election and Ethics
683 A.2d 1371 (1996)
D.C. Court of Appeals upholds Board's interpretation that the provision requiring the
proposer of an initiative to be a resident of the District arid a qualified elector cannot
be reasonably construed to require the Board to begin the process all over again when a
qualified elector is available to substitute for the proposer who had moved away.
Scolaro v. D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics
946 F.Supp. 80 (1996)
U.S. District Court held that Federal court could not enjoin the Board's hearing to
determine whether individual should be prosecuted for alleged voter intimidation, given
that the Board was not acting in bad faith by holding hearing and would not impermissibly
chill individual's First Amendment rights.
Scolaro v. D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics
691 A.2d 77 (1997)
D.C. Court of Appeals upholds the language and use of the Board's voter registration
form in that complies with the election statute and puts a prospective voter on notice
that he or she must be a D.C. resident as defined by law. The Court also upheld the
Board's position that it is not obligated to question specifically student applicants in
order to ferret out nonresident registrants.
United States v. Eydie Whittington
Former D.C. Council member Eydie Whittington was sentenced to six months probation
based on hearing conducted by the Board for falsely claiming she obtained and witnessed
voter signatures on the nominating petition that earned her a place on the 1996 General
Scolaro v. D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics
717 A.2d 891 (1998)
D.C. Court of Appeals upholds Board's determination that addresses listed in the
Georgetown University Student directory were insufficient proof to overcome the
presumption that challenged student voters were properly registered and eligible to vote.
THE OFFICE OF CAMPAIGN FINANCE
Under the leadership of Benjamin F. Wilson, the public's confidence in
the ability of the Office of Campaign Finance (OCF) to execute its statutory duties has
been renewed. For a brief period, during the early nineties, the Office of Campaign
Finance suffered tremendous reductions in force, and several changes in leadership,. which
created inconsistent performance. Recognizing that the Office of Campaign Finance was
severely handicapped from 1993 through 1994 due to a Director's personal difficulties, Mr.
Wilson aggressively moved the Mayor of the District of Columbia to remove the individual.
Mr. Wilson then initiated the requirement that the Office of Campaign Finance submit
monthly reports to the Board and the Chairperson of the Committee on Government
Operations. This requirement addressed his continuous directive to the Office of Campaign
Finance that it monitor and reduce the OCF investigative backlog. He also has repeatedly
insisted on the enactment of legislation and regulations to tighten the operating
procedures of the Office of Campaign Finance as well as the Board of Elections and Ethics.
Since 1996, the Office has stabilized, the backlog has been reduced, and programs which
were formerly dormant have been revived.
The Office of Campaign Finance (OCF) is established within the Board of
Elections and Ethics to administer and enforce the District of Columbia laws pertaining to
campaign finance, conflict of interest, financial disclosure, and lobbying. The mission of
the Office is set out in the District of Columbia Campaign Finance Reform and Conflict of
Interest Act of 1974, as amended, D.C. Code, Section 1-1401 et seg. As an arm of the
Board, the Office of Campaign Finance plays a vital role in ensuring the integrity of the
electoral process and government service by regulating the conduct of political campaigns
and government officials who are either appointed or elected to public office.
Chairperson Benjamin F. Wilson ensured the Office of Campaign Finance
immediately addressed a long-standing backlog of OCF investigative matters, upon the
appointment of the present Director in August of 1996. As of August 1996, there were
twenty-five outstanding investigative matters. In less than one year, the backlog of cases
was reduced to three matters. Significantly, the Orders issued included a number of high
profiled cases, two of which were widely publicized and involved the 1994 Mayoral Race.
These cases raised issues concerning the unlawful coordination between principal campaign
committees and political action committees in campaign activities. The remaining closed
cases involved reporting violations, conflict of interest issues, a disclaimer omission,
and lobbying violations. Fines were imposed and collected to enforce the campaign finance
and conflict of interest laws. Once the backlog was alleviated, the Office of Campaign
Finance has endeavored to resolve all investigative matters within ninety days as required
by statute, and as of April 2000, there were no outstanding investigative matters in the
Office of Campaign Finance. Seven investigations were completed during calendar year 1999
through March of 2000. These cases involved referrals of violations of the Conflict of
Interest Laws from the Office of the D.C. Auditor, involving Members of Advisory
Neighborhood Commission Members; violations of the Standards of Conduct by Members of the
Board of Education; and violations of the Conflict of Interest Statue by Members of the
Board of Zoning.
From 1997 through 1999, several major projects critical to the
operations of this Agency were undertaken and completed. These projects were designed to
increase the public's understanding of and compliance with the Campaign Finance laws.
First, a major overhaul of the Campaign Finance Regulations was initiated to fully
implement statutory changes, and incorporate Agency practices and policies (45 DCR 3161;
May 22, 1998). Concurrently, with this project, the comprehensive Campaign Finance Guide
was developed, and the OCF Forms and Information Circulars were revised.
Second, upgrades to the Information Technology System of the Office of
Campaign System were also successfully negotiated by contract approved September 30, 1997
with the Federal Systems Integration Management Center. The upgrades brought the
technology of the Agency into the 21St Century, and increased the ability of the Office to
monitor and enforce compliance with the contribution limits and the reporting
The Office of Campaign Finance is able to input, track, and monitor
data, and to generate customized reports. Campaign Finance data can be easily searched and
sorted to retrieve information across periods of time through query screens concerning
filers, non-filers, contributions and expenditures.
Third, the Standard Operating Procedures of the Audit Branch governing
the conduct of desk review and field audits, were revised to provide for resolution of all
reporting delinquencies prior to the next filing date in an election cycle. Fourth, the
OCF Web page at the WEB Site of the Board of Elections and Ethics was developed by link.
The OCF Regulations, Forms, and Guide are now available to the public on the Internet.
Of significance during the Chairmanship of Mr. Wilson, the Office of
Campaign Finance once again enforced by the conduct of informal hearings, the reporting
requirements of candidates and political committees, beginning with the reporting entities
participating in the April 1997 Special Election to fill the vacant Ward 6 seat on the
D.C. Council. As a consequence, response to subsequent reporting deadlines increased in
general for all programs administered. Programs designed to enforce compliance with
reporting requirements where there has been a failure to file, or a deficient filing, have
been revived to ensure resolution of the delinquency before the next filing deadline.
Filings in the Lobbying Program for July of 1999 and January of 2000 remained constant at
99%. and in May of 1999, filings in the Financial Disclosure Program increased to 98%. In
May of 1999, there were 1,253 required FDS filers, 1157 actual filers, and 96 delinquent
filers. Informal Hearings were conducted on the 96 delinquent matters. Overall during
1999, 192 informal hearings were conducted on reporting deficiencies, and fines imposed in
the total amount of $9930. In October 1999, the Office of Campaign Finance initiated
eighteen enforcement proceedings before the Board to pursue the collection of outstanding
It should also be noted that the Office of Campaign Finance routinely
conducts Desk Reviews of all Reports of Receipts and Expenditures filed with the Agency to
ensure that the public record provides a full and accurate portrayal of campaign finance
activity. For example, during Fiscal Year 1999, 1015 Desk Reviews were conducted.
Since 1990, the Office of Campaign Finance has also issued 188
Interpretative Opinions to provide guidance to members of the public and public officials,
and clarify how the campaign finance and conflict of interest laws apply to real life
situations. The subject matter of these opinions has ranged from conflict of interest
issues, post employment issues, restrictions on the solicitation of funds, and
restrictions on the establishment of a citizen service program.
To further ensure the public's understanding of its obligations under the Campaign
Finance Act, the Office of Campaign Finance, at the beginning of each election year,
coordinates the activity of the Office of Campaign Finance around monitoring the campaign
operations of candidates and political committees participating in the elections conducted
by the Board. This includes the conduct of bi-weekly informal training seminars for
candidates and political committees participating in the elections; OCF Employee training
to increase staff effectiveness in serving the public, and to ensure staffs working
knowledge of the Campaign Finance Laws and Regulations; and the distribution of a
compilation of critical campaign finance information to the D.C. Public Library and its
Branches for dissemination to the public. As the result of these efforts to create a
better-informed public, reporting entities now file their financial reports with less
omissions and deficiencies.
The Office of Campaign Finance annually coordinates a program with
District Government Agencies to produce an accurate listing of persons required to file
financial disclosure statements under the Campaign Finance Act. This activity has also
required the initiation of training programs to fully inform the public of their reporting
obligations under the Financial Disclosure Act.
On March 24, 1999, the Council of the District of Columbia Committee on
Local and Regional Affairs, David A. Catania, Chairman, issued a report on the results of
an OCF Customer Satisfaction Survey of Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC)
Representatives. The Survey indicated that 89.3% of the ANC Representatives surveyed,
rated OCF "satisfactory".
Most notably Mr. Wilson, throughout his tenure on the Board, has always
insisted that the staff make determinations on challenged issues in a manner that is
consistent with the law and regulations that the District is governed under. The decisions
are made regardless of the parties and the political or social status. Mr. Wilson has
consistently directed that all matters under the jurisdiction of the Board, be handled
with the highest degree of integrity in order to ensure respect for the election process.
As documented herein, the responsibilities associated with Mr. Wilson's
Chairmanship have been broad and widespread. They have included prioritizing and balancing
the demands of the agency, while being responsive to its overall mission. Further, the
ability to promote the integrity of the Board, maintain its impartiality, and provide
strong guidance and leadership has been paramount to the success of the agency operations.
Through his diligence and motivation. The Board of Elections and Ethics continues to be
recognized as one of the best run agency's in the City.
1. The right to vote for President and Vice President was first
exercised by District residents in 1964 - via the 23rd amendment to the Constitution - and
voting for most elective offices did not occur until 1974 following Congressional
enactment of the Home Rule Charter.