Friday, August 25, 2006

Scandal hits the Cleveland Park Listserv

On August 23, the Cleveland Park Listserv announced a fun poll to mirror the Ward 3 City Council election on September 12th.

Listserv members can cast their vote in this unscientific survey of candidates for Ward 3 City Council. This poll will remain open until Primary Day, and after the election we'll see how closely it tracks with the actual results. You can view the poll's current tally at any time between now and election day by visiting

On Friday the 25th however, there was another announcement, "We have reset the Ward 3 candidates poll and started it anew. Why? Well, we discovered yesterday that one of the candidates for Ward 3 City Council was manipulating the poll by having real people and fictitious email addresses join the listserv and cast votes in favor of that candidate. While this poll is more of a survey and was never intended to be scientific, the list moderators don't take kindly to this kind of manipulation. Among other things, cheating ruins the fun for everyone else". Later in the day, there was another announcement,

The moderators have received a number of emails asking "Who did it?" If we know, then it's not right to keep this information from everyone. But the problem is that for us to say publicly who was involved would also require that we present proof positive that the candidate or campaign knew. In other words, there's a leap between knowing that poll was manipulated and proving who was behind it. The fairest thing to do was to start over.

However, we know that there's media interest in this story, and it's very possible that somebody else will be able to do some investigative reporting. So, as they say, "stay tuned."

This morning, The Washington Post reported the story and inferred that Senator Paul Strauss campaign was behind the attempted manipulation.

I have reported earlier on Senator Straus and his deceptive "Parents of DCPS" letter, and we reported on the research findings on the campign monies raised to day (well over 40% of the money Strauss reported was in fact loans and in-kind contributions by the Senator to the campaign). A shadowy pattern for the Senator?

The deceptive practices have no place in politics, particularly in a micro campaign like the DC City Council.

No comments: