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Posted at 5:47 PM ET, 01/14/2011

Young Fenty write-in supporters fined $18,500

By Tim Craig
Washington Post Editors

The leaders behind the campaign to get D.C. voters to write in Adrian M. Fenty on their general election ballots last year may be fined $18,500 for improperly using the former mayor's campaign materials during their campaign.

The decision, handed down Friday by the Office of Campaign Finance, could be a crippling financial hit to a group of young adults who organized a write-in campaign through Facebook and other social media that drew thousands of votes.

After Mayor Vincent C. Gray defeated Fenty in the Sept. 14 Democratic primary, the write-Fenty-in campaign formed the Save DC Now political committee to try to convince voters to write in Fenty in the November election.

Josh Lopez, 26, who worked as Fenty's ward coordinator, spearheaded the effort. Operating on a shoestring budget, Lopez and other leaders of the Save DC Now committee used unused campaign signs, leaflets and stickers to try to get voters to write in Fenty instead of supporting Gray.

But Dorothy Brizill, a community activist and blogger, and Brian Lederer, a lawyer for the Gray campaign, filed a complaint with the Office of Campaign Finance. They alleged that campaign finance laws forbid a political community from using materials paid for by another.

The day before the November election, the Office of Campaign Finance filed a "cease and desist" order requiring the write-in campaign to stop using Fenty campaign materials. According to a ruling issued Friday, the Office of Campaign Finance says their staff discovered on Election Day that the order was ignored.

"The Office of Campaign Finance Staff observed violations of the Cease and Desist Orders at precinct Nos. 1,6,15,22, 25,30,31,32,33,34,35,36, 37,41,52,53, 54,61, 62,63, 67,69,71,77, 89,90,102,103,109,110,114,115,122,128, 129,134 and 140 during the 2010 General Election," the ruling states, issuing a penalty of $500 per violation.

Lopez, who is running for an at-large seat on the D.C. Council, called the $18,500 fine "historic and unconscionable."

The proposed fine, which could still be reversed by the director of the Office of Campaign Finance, was addressed to Junius Carter, 28, who served as the treasurer for Save DC Now.

He and Lopez are reaching out to an attorney to see if they, or the committee, are personally liable for the possible fine.

"It's political intimidation," said Lopez, who said he plans to appeal the ruling. "We are going to spread the word that they have decided to go after those who expressed their right to write in Fenty....To fine a committee that only raised $7,000 $18,000 is a little bit ridiculous."

A spokesman for the Office of Campaign Finance was not immediately available to comment.

In an interview, Brizill said she doubts Carter or Lopez will be personally liable for the fine. But Brizill said she hopes the ruling "sends a strong message" that activists and politicians should heed campaign finance regulations.

"I am just tired of people violating our campaign finance laws," Brizill said. "It was very clear what they did was wrong .. A substantial fine does get people's attention. Now, whether or not the District will ever recover that, I doubt it."


This post was updated at 6:37 p.m.

By Tim Craig  | January 14, 2011; 5:47 PM ET
Categories:  2010 District Election, Mayor Fenty, Tim Craig, Vincent C. Gray  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Gray leads first D.C. council breakfast as mayor
Next: Freshman Rep. Gowdy to chair D.C. oversight panel

Comments

This is good news to hear. I hope the fine sticks to Josh Lopez. This kid is a loud mouth arrogant mean spirited troll like his mentor former King Fenty. Why don't Josh Lopez disappear like Ron Moten. Josh Lopez has made a lot of enemies within the black community and most haven't forgotten how nasty he was towards Vincent Gray and his supporters. Gray is old enough for this kid's grandfather and he got up in Gray and others faces with a bull horn yelling and screaming in front of 441 4th Street, NW.

Posted by: RockCreekPark | January 14, 2011 8:37 PM | Report abuse

I truly wish Josh Lopez and all of Fenty supporters would disappear. What make this guy think he's qualified to be a politician? On the hand, I don't know what qualify a person to become a politician, but I will not be voting for Mr. Lopez Josh. Maybe he's looking at the $124,000.00 part-time DC Council salary?

RockCreekPark, you made a good point. Where is Ron Moten? I haven't heard or seen this man in the news since Fenty lost him mayoral bid.

Posted by: mmatthews1 | January 14, 2011 9:46 PM | Report abuse

Josh Lopez conducted himself like a bully during the mayoral campaign. Watching Josh Lopez last September 2010 on ABC7 News, he was yelling and screaming at Vincent Gray and his supporters with a bull horn in front of 441 4th Street, NW outside of the Board of Elections.

Such bad behavior is a turn off to me and I will not be voting for Josh Lopez. He displayed a lot of former Mayor Fenty's characteristics and this is not a good thing.

Posted by: KappaNupe | January 14, 2011 9:52 PM | Report abuse

LOL. Ocf really? I dont know whats more entertaining the article or the same person signing in under different names writing in the comment section. This guy must have these Gray folks scared. I will keep an eye out on his campaign.

Posted by: hello991 | January 14, 2011 10:58 PM | Report abuse

Who is this guy? Never heard of him. Will he be going to jail?

Posted by: RushLimbaurg | January 15, 2011 12:18 AM | Report abuse

Lopez, if you're gonna hang with the big boys you gotta play by the rules. at least know what the rules are! looks to me like the fines are legit.

Posted by: tman2 | January 15, 2011 12:20 AM | Report abuse

Who in there write mind would want to run for public office in this crazy society? After what happenned last week in Arizona, I wouldn't run for office if they gave it to me. I just finish reading an article in today's Post by Colbert King. Mr. King discusses all the hate male he recieves from mentally disturbed people. The Washington Post and other newspapers should get rid of their blogs because the mentally disturb with vile racist hurtful words come on the Interent commenting on their hate. This is scary folks. I do think if people had to use their real names and give a legitimate email address, you wouldn't see all the hateful and hurtful comments. This is the world we are living in today unfortunately.

Posted by: DaddyGraceFishSandwich | January 15, 2011 12:56 AM | Report abuse

Correction: Who in their right mind would want to run for public office in this crazy society? The verbal and death threats coming from mentally disturbed people isn't worth it. I don't feel sorry for any poltician because they knew the pressures of the job along with the hate.

Posted by: DaddyGraceFishSandwich | January 15, 2011 2:30 AM | Report abuse

I agree with Dorothy Brizill. I am just tired of people violating our campaign finance laws. These people not only should pay the fine, they should go to jail.

Posted by: JonBonJovi | January 15, 2011 7:28 AM | Report abuse

Don't be too quick to rule Mr. Lopez out of consideration in the upcoming special election. With multiple candidates running, the percentage of votes needed for victory may be quite low. It's very possible the angry, Tea Party, "it's all about me", Ward 3 White Racists who supported baby fenty and rhee-rhee the witch will support Mr. Lopez as well.

Addendum:

Tim Craig and/or his copy editor strike again!

Paragraph five: "campaign finance laws forbid a political community from using materials paid for by another"

I believe the word you were looking for is "campaign", but you were close!

Posted by: bob_dylan_rocks | January 15, 2011 9:46 AM | Report abuse

LMFAO!!!!!!!!!!

Josh Lopez you are a true idiot!!!! You can thank yourself for contributing greatly to the Mayoral defeat of Adrian Fenty. Your disrespectful behavior throughout the duration of the Mayoral campaign contributed greatly to turning off massive amounts of voters. GREAT JOB in completely blowing it in WARD 4 for Fenty!!!!

Case in point.... Please all take a look at this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ewL0-ubE-bI


Lopez was indeed the self-proclaimed leader of the Fenty Write In Campaign, and absolutely broke laws. This genius took campaign material from the Fenty Campaign, mostly signs and cut the mandatory financial treasurer information off of the bottom and then posted them all around the city. When they were confronted on the issue publicly, they then opted to turn the signs inside out and draw in crayons "FENTY WRITE IN."

He was nearly arrested 3 times for aggressive behavior and disorderly conduct during Gray Campaign Events. You are an embarrassment to yourself and to the Fenty Camp. Watching you crash and burn is going to be so entertaining. This disaster will be epic!

Lemme know how that $18,500.00 works out for you...

LMFAO!!!!

Stay tuned....

Posted by: RealTalkDC | January 15, 2011 1:14 PM | Report abuse


Josh Lopez's response to the fine was, "to fine a committee $18,000 that only raised $7,000 is a little bit ridiculous."

No, what's ridiculous is Josh's warped logic! There are no sliding fee scales for fines based on a law-breaker's inability to pay. As a prospective candidate for the AT-Large Council seat, I assumed Josh would know that ignorance of the law is not an acceptable defense.


Posted by: dcnatives | January 15, 2011 1:42 PM | Report abuse

I think that a campaign law that prohibits the use of old campaign posters and signs is rather ridiculous. That said, I believe that most of the posters, who submitted comments on this, might wish to read the Metro article, "District youth job training in turmoil after contracts abruptly pulled." Our new mayor, Vincent Gray, that many of the posters evidently think so highly of, has pulled $4M of federally-funded contracts put in place by Fenty to provide year round job training for 670 DC youths. Disrupting training that has already begun. Excuse me, but I thought that one of Gray's primary campaign promises was to tackle unemployment. I believe that even the most rabid Gray supporters are in for a rough ride over these next four years. Buckle your seat belts, because many of you Gray supporters will be secretly wishing Fenty were back in office before the end of these next four years. Mark my words.

Posted by: budgie1 | January 16, 2011 1:05 AM | Report abuse

Beg your pardon, Budgie, but let's remember last month when Prince Adrian used our taxpayer worker training money to give Christmas bonuses to his posse.

Fenty inexplicably doled out cash to people with good salaries, instead of training people without salaries.

Fenty's "Christmas Bonus Bonanza" was the ultimate kick in the gut to unemployed people - Fenty's final punctuation mark on a tenure full of bad decisions. A tenure that left the disenfranchised hurting even more as a result of his mayoralty.

So before you go try to accuse anyone on Day 12 of the new government, why don't you hold your fire until Gray can do some work and show some metrics. Honest metrics, that is. Not some untested "CapStat" gimmicks manufactured to show re-election benchmarks. Or skewed teacher evaluations that had absolutely no objective accreditation.

One thing's for darn sure: Vince Gray has the innate sense to know that worker training money needs to actually make it to the people who need it. Given your guy's misuse of worker training and school construction funds, we can all likely infer that that's the reason for the halting of the contracts.

Good government has arrived. The bar will rise, the unemployment rate will fall, and fewer people will be in limbo.

Join us.

Posted by: tcs1999 | January 16, 2011 1:54 AM | Report abuse

It would be nice if the OCF would provide proof of said posters. As, they did not do so at the hearing. Could they please show the proof?

Also, they are citing 36 polls, yet that would require quite a bit more manpower than was available on that day.

Do they also have pictures of who put those posters up?

Answer: No and NO

Oh, and speaking of spending $$, please advise why Mayor Gray has doubled his security force at the taxpayer's cost?

Although, I would like to see the best for the city, it would be helpful to see some of the promises that have been made by Mr. Gray accomplished, and thus being said, it would be nice to see his plans to do so.

Are there plans to find jobs for the people in Ward 7 and 8?

Please advise.

Posted by: pdv1 | January 16, 2011 9:06 AM | Report abuse

I testify here: I saw the Fenty kids using their primary campaign posters at at least 8 (eight) precincts in just one ward. Also know they were at all early vote locations in the city - including Judiciary Square. There's likley security videotape of that, so as Werner used to say, let's go to the videotape.

Yes we did.

Posted by: tcs1999 | January 16, 2011 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Why is Josh Lopez so obessed with being on the DC Council? This young man seem to be unstable by his actions.

Josh Lopez, please go away! You will not get enough votes to be on the Council. Have you ever thought about get a real job by working at McDonalds?

Posted by: CaptainKangaroo | January 16, 2011 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Lopez, have you ever thought about getting a real job by working at a McDonalds or Burger King?

Posted by: CaptainKangaroo | January 16, 2011 4:47 PM | Report abuse

I was shopping at my local Safeway, and I was asked by one of Josh Lopez' campaign workers to sign his nomination petition. I said, "No, I don't like Lopez." Lopez was standing there and overheard my comment. He confronted me and said, "You won't sign my petition because you don't like me?" Like he thought that was the stupidest thing anyone had ever said.

Posted by: tacard1 | January 18, 2011 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Dear TCS1999:

i don't doubt that they had those posters out.. because the committee didn't tell them NOT to use them until the night before the election...
Therefore, their ruling was sent to someone that never received it until the day of the election.
The Campaign Finance office also sent the email with no "read Receipt" attached to it.. or documentation that required them to have the receipt that it arrived to the email receipient, nor being read by the email receipient.

So, i will agree that posters WERE used prior to election day for early voting.

But the fines are ONLY due to the ELECTION DAY sites, and there were definitively not people at all the polls noted, nor would they provide any photos, nor was notification given from their meeting until that day to the head of Save DC Now

Posted by: pdv1 | January 18, 2011 12:19 PM | Report abuse

http://www.dcwatch.com/

Is that Josh and are those signs?

Posted by: thelildiva4u | January 18, 2011 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Dear thelildiva4u :

Again, please read my comments.. Those were pictures of Josh with signs prior to the Campaign OFFICE coming out with their decree NOT to use the signs.

The email went to the head of SAVE DC NOW (not JOSH) early on election morning.

The Campaign Office also did not send a "received notice" or "read notice"..
nor would they provide evidence of signs being at the locations stated above. SO,
how can you fine someone with no evidence that the old Fenty posters were up ON ELECTION DAY AT ALL THOSE SITES??

DC Watch's picture was of Josh at early voting PRIOR PRIOR PRIOR TO THE NOTIFICATION FROM THE CAMPAIGN OFFICE.

new POSTERS WERE MADE FOR ELECTION DAY... AND THE ONES FROM THE CAMPAIGN WERE NOT USED......

AND, IF THEY WERE USED, THEY WERE NOT PUT UP BY THE WRITE IN COMMITTEE OR SAVE DC.. THEY WERE PUT UP BY INDIVDUALS...

PS.. keep it moving on... we are not going back to Mayor Fenty days are we??

I thought we were uniting as "ONE CITY"....

Posted by: pdv1 | January 18, 2011 1:50 PM | Report abuse

I'm convinced pdv1 is Josh.

Posted by: thelildiva4u | January 18, 2011 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Dear thelildiva4u:

Nope i am not Josh.. sorry...

Just informing you of the information..but as i said...
Right now.. studying candidates for Council and getting DC Statehood are my projects....

Keep it movin.

Posted by: pdv1 | January 18, 2011 7:40 PM | Report abuse

please read the enclosed:
and the date it was issued:

and also note the leadership...
and its from the Campaign Finance Office...
So... who doesn't have the facts right?

http://www.dcwatch.com/govern/ocf101101.htm

Posted by: pdv1 | January 18, 2011 7:43 PM | Report abuse

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