Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Alexander Calls for Peaceoholics Audit

Ward 7 Councilmember Yvette Alexander
with Mayoral Candidate Vince Gray. 
Photo: Yvette Alexander official website.
Councilmember Yvette Alexander (Ward 7) has formally requested that D.C. Auditor Deborah Nichols perform an audit on the Peaceoholics, The Examiner reports.  Alexander has asked that the D.C. Auditor investigate how the nonprofit anti-youth violence organization spent $10 million in public funds as well as its role in the mayoral election.

“I am deeply alarmed by what I have read about the financial mismanagement of city funds provided to this organization,” Alexander said in a statement.

Alexander has endorsed the candidacy of Vince Gray for Mayor.  She succeeded Gray as Councilmember for Ward 7 when he was elected Chairman of the Council.

While politics is certainly at play in the call for an investigation, Nichols can be trusted to conduct an impartial and thorough investigation.  She is a diligent investigator who pulls no punches and calls it as she sees it.  Her work is meticulous.  Nichols has issued reports critical of the Fenty Administration in the past, but she does not appear to have political aspirations.  She doesn't have so much as a biographical statement or photograph online.  For Nichols, it's about compliance with accounting principles and the law.

It seems unlikely that Nichols will be able to obtain, carefully examine, and issue a report on the organization's financial records by September 3, as Alexander requested.  Nevertheless, Nichols' report will ultimately shed needed sunlight on the spending of local tax dollars.  Her investigation should not be so closely linked with the primary date - the grant funds were allocated over the course of three or four years.  I would expect that a full and complete investigation would require more than one week.

If Nichols' takes her investigation a step further and examines how involved the organization has become in politics, then it could spell trouble for the organization's 501(c)(3) status with the IRS.  Peaceoholics co-founder Ron Moten has taken a very active and public role in supporting Adrian Fenty.  Although Moten stepped down as president of the organization, he continues to serve on its Board of Directors and has taken groups of Peaceoholics youth to campaign events to support the Mayor's reelection bid.  In the IRS's eyes, that's a big no-no for a charitable organization.

1 comment:

CCCA Prez said...

The current Administration has a habit of withholding witnesses from Council, will Nichols have better luck?