To the Editor:
After writing about the new “Developer Party” in Alexandria I found the Virginia State Board of Elections website where all candidates must periodically file reports of all contributions over $100. These reports also list how candidates spend their contributions. Finally, these reports rate each candidate’s report with a percentage of completeness.
Backers of Mayor Euille contributed over $200,000 to his candidacy for the Spring mayoral primary, well more than twice that raised by Vice Mayor Silberberg. What I found more unsettling was the size of some of the mayor’s donations and the consistent pattern of contributions from those with business before the City of Alexandria, from developers, to lawyers, to regulated taxi cab companies and others.
Equally fascinating is how the candidates’ money was spent. Mr. Euille’s $200,000 is an extraordinary amount to spend on a local election in Alexandria without expensive media buys or other similar big campaign costs. Tens of thousands in campaign funds were paid out by the mayor for retainers, consultants, and consulting services, their purpose not really clear.
In addition, the Euille campaign periodically would reimburse the mayor, himself, in amounts ranging from $100 to $1,000 (see 3/10/2015 reimbursement), but rarely explain the purpose of the reimbursement. The contrast with how donations were expended and accounted for in the Silberberg reports is striking. Not only were the vice mayor’s reports free of retainers and consultants, but reimbursements were specific as to purpose. The state Board of Elections found the Silberberg reports to be 100 percent complete, while the mayor’s level of completeness was 4 percent and 18 percent in his two most important reports of last Spring's primary campaign.
Alexandria voters who are concerned about the direction of our city and where the “Developer Party" wants to take us, should spend a few minutes on the State Board of Elections website and learn more about how their candidates operate.
It will tell voters much about the candidates' donors, how the candidates choose to spend their money, and how transparent the candidates are in making disclosures about these important matters.