The Cost of D.C. Council’s Power Over Contracts

Source: Patrick Madden, WAMU, 2014

Does campaign cash have undue influence over how District of Columbia lawmakers approve contracts? In this special investigative report, WAMU 88.5’s Patrick Madden follows the money and explores whether the D.C. Council is perpetuating a “pay-to-play” environment for city contractors. All contracts worth more than $1 million go to the D.C. Council for review after a city agency has picked the winning contractor—a power granted to no other state-level legislature. WAMU and the Investigative Reporting Workshop used legislative records to examine more than 1,000 contracts that were sent to the D.C. Council for approval from 2007 to 2014. The reporters also analyzed more than 100,000 campaign contributions to D.C. officials and candidates using public records from the Office of Campaign Finance. The database includes donations from contractors, their employees and their family members. …
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