A coalition opposing legal cannabis in Washington D.C. was involved in fraudulent activities during its feeble attempt to shut down Initiative 71. A recent report by The DCist indicates that the organization TIE D.C. or Two is Enough, D.C., whose anti-marijuana campaign was backed by the idea that alcohol and tobacco were enough legal substances in the nation’s capital, broke the law in their efforts to discourage voters from supporting Initiative 71 during the November election.
Through documents pulled from the Office of Campaign Finance, The DCist discovered that TIE D.C. infringed on a number of campaign finance rules, which include failing to officially register the organization as a political committee, failing to submit financial records, and the use of unapproved campaign literature.
Interestingly, while the coalition spent a large part of the summer campaigning against Initiative 71, even holding a press conference in September 2014 to formally announce their efforts, William Jones, executive director for TIE D.C., claims the group was never anything more than a digital stepchild to the “No On 71” initiative, which he chaired. “TIE D.C. was nothing more than a blog that he started to inform the public about the proposed initiative by voting against it,” said Jones during a recent hearing before the Office of Campaign Finance.
Yet, campaign finance watchdogs are not buying it, accusing the organizing of ignoring the necessary protocol. TIE D.C. “may have begun as a blog, but it eventually became a full scale political movement, which was required to register with the OCF.” And that never happened. In addition, this oversight was matched by the group’s failure to file financial documentation that is required of all political committees.
However, Jones testified before the Office of Campaign Finance that TIE D.C. was not obligated to file a financial report because the group never accepted any funds. But the OCF essentially called him a liar, pointing out the use of a PayPal “donate” button on the organization’s website, which “raises the presumptions that it is more likely than not that [it] collected contributions.”
In the end, not a single anti-marijuana campaign was successful in stopping the passing of Initiative 71. Nearly 70% of the voters approved the measure. Unfortunately for Jones, the Office of Campaign Finance is recommending he be fined to the tune of $2,000 for his violations to campaign finance policy.
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