DC Government Paid Almost $10,000 To Lobby Itself In 2014

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Between January and July of 2014, the D.C. Children and Youth Investment Trust Corporation, which is funded by the D.C. government, paid a Maryland lobbying firm nearly $10,000 to lobby on its behalf in city hall.

The youth investment trust describes itself as a public-private partnership, though it doesn’t generate much private investment. It received $3 million, or around 95 percent of its operating budget, from the D.C. government in the 2014 fiscal year. The other 5 percent come from fundraising conducted by the organization according to documents filed with the D.C. council.

According to documents filed with D.C.’s Board of Ethics and Government Accountability, the trust paid Active Policy Solutions, a consulting firm based in Bethesda, Md. $150 per hour to lobby council members on youth funding and development policy formation. However, the lobbying effort doesn’t appear to have been very effective, as the trust’s funding dropped by over half from the 2013 fiscal year.

It is also listed as a government agency on the D.C. council’s website.

Terri Lakowski, one of the lobbyists employed by the trust, said it is not uncommon for her clients to receive funding from the government, but refused to comment on the fact that the trust was established by the government. She said her firm is no longer employed by the trust.

Multiple requests for comment from the youth investment trust were not returned at press time.

Lobbyists from the consulting firm met with eight different council members while working for the youth investment trust, according to the lobbying disclosure form, including Yvette Alexander, who chairs the Health and Human Services Committee, which oversees funding for the trust.

The D.C. Children and Youth Investment Trust Corporation was created in 1999 through legislation in the D.C. council to disperse funding for children’s programs in the city. Its board of directors is made up of seven members appointed by the mayor and city council.

In 2012 the trust became the center of an embezzlement scandal that sent one city councilman to federal prison.

Former D.C. councilman Harry Thomas Jr. was sentenced to three years in prison after he pleaded guilty to stealing more than $350,000 intended for use in youth baseball leagues. Instead, Thomas used the trust to put that money into his own pocket, using it to buy things like a luxury SUV and a new Victory motorcycle.

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