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Trayon White files paperwork for D.C. mayoral bid amid campaign finance inquiry

The Washington Post logo The Washington Post 11/12/2021 Michael Brice-Saddler
D.C. Council member Trayon White Sr. (D-Ward 8). © Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post D.C. Council member Trayon White Sr. (D-Ward 8).

D.C. Council member Trayon White Sr. (D-Ward 8) officially filed paperwork for his 2022 mayoral campaign Friday afternoon, according to the Office of Campaign Finance — about one month after he first announced via Instagram that he was running.

But the delay is now the subject of an “internal inquiry” by the office to determine whether White may have improperly engaged in campaign activities without having filed paperwork, according to Office of Campaign Finance spokesperson Wesley Williams. D.C. law states individuals must register as a candidate within five days of accepting a contribution or making any campaign-related expenditures. White’s campaign denies any impropriety.

“The Office of Campaign Finance is seeking to determine if any of these actions have occurred, in addition to whether a proper disclaimer is displayed on what appears to be campaign literature by the Councilman,” Williams said in a statement.

Longtime journalist Tom Sherwood first reported the Office of Campaign Finance’s internal inquiry, which launched Wednesday. Since his announcement, White has hosted at least two events related to his campaign. Other mayoral candidates, including D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) and Council member Robert White (D), filed paperwork within days of announcing.

Tom Lindenfeld, a political strategist and adviser for White’s campaign, said the filing delay was because White had announced his intentions to run sooner than expected, and he needed more time to find a qualified treasurer. Lindenfeld said White had not been contacted about the inquiry and has not accepted any donations nor made any expenditures. Lindenfeld also said that he was not aware of any literature related to White’s campaign.

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According to the Office of Campaign Finance, campaign literature must contain a disclaimer that indicates who has sponsored it, whether the sponsor is an individual or a committee. White did not immediately return a request for comment but declared his campaign official on Instagram late Friday afternoon, noting he had about half of the 1,000 the volunteers he was seeking so far.

Williams said that White’s campaign on Oct. 29 requested an extension to Nov. 12 to file paperwork — which was denied — though they gave him until Nov. 2 to do so. The office also advised White not to engage in any financial activity related to his candidacy until he files, and that if his campaign had already collected contributions or made expenditures, the documents must be filed immediately.

Even though White filed Friday, the inquiry will still seek to determine if he engaged in any campaign activity beforehand, Williams said. Depending on what officials find, the office could levy penalties, including a fine.

Lindenfeld confirmed White would use public financing for his campaign.


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