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DC Council Grills Mayoral Crony Over Donations To ‘Unprecedented And Pernicious’ Bowser PAC

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District of Columbia Council Member Mary Cheh took some time out of an important public hearing on potential new housing developments to blast a local developer about his connection to a PAC affiliated with Mayor Muriel Bowser.

In June, Bowser nominated Buwa Binitie, a managing principal at the developer Dantes Partners, to the Housing Finance Agency Board of Directors. In July, Binitie donated $10,000 to FreshPAC, the PAC dedicated to pushing Bowser’s agenda through the council. Shortly after the donation, the council confirmed Binitie’s nomination.

Cheh took issue with this string of events, and questioned the motivation behind Binitie’s donation to FreshPAC.

“My question has to do with, who asked you to give $10,000, which is five times the amount, in an ordinary election year you could give to a mayoral candidate, and far more than the $500 you could give to a ward council member,” she said. “Who asked you to give that money?”

Binitie said he could not recall who asked him to give the money, but it’s well documented that he’s supported a lot of initiatives backed by the mayor.

“For the most part, I’ve always maxed out in all of my donations,” he said.

Binitie went on to say that he would be happy to speak about affordable housing, which is what the hearing was supposed to cover, but didn’t want to discuss the contributions.

Council Chairman Phil Mendelson got in on the action, too, asking Binitie whether he could not recall who asked him for the donation or whether he refused to say who asked him for the donation.

Binitie said he could not recall.

Last month, Cheh and six other council members introduced legislation that would shut down the PAC, closing the loophole that brought it into existence, and preventing it from raising any more money to push the mayor’s agenda.

According to Cheh, the PAC has raised $300,000 so far in 2015, with the goal of raising $1 million by the end of the year, to use influencing next year’s council race and getting Bowser-friendly candidates elected.

“You’re contributing to something that is unprecedented and pernicious in terms of our politics,” Cheh said.

Binitie made the point that there were several other people in the room who supported Cheh, and his donation was no different from any PAC that contributed to her campaigns.

“If you don’t like it, please legislate the law so that I will follow it to the letter of the law,” he said.

The exchange became so heated it drew the condemnation Council Member Brianne Nadeau, a fellow supporter of the plan to stop FreshPAC, tried to bring the hearing back on topic.

“I’m a little offended by the attacks on character here,” Nadeau said.

Cheh, though, said it isn’t Binitie that is the problem, but the PAC.

“I’m not attacking you personally, Mr Binitie, I’m attacking this PAC. I’m attacking what it stands for … What I don’t support is contributions to something that is fundamentally going to pollute our politics,” she said.

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Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.