May 6, 2022 - News

Bowser mailer sent amid re-election bid cost taxpayers $130K

An image of Mayor Muriel Bowser's "84 month report" cover

Screenshot courtesy of D.C. government

Mayor Muriel Bowser spent $130,000 in taxpayer money to send residents a booklet boasting about her administration in the middle of her re-election campaign, public records show.

Why it matters: Critics of the mayor blasted the PR piece — titled "Mayor Muriel Bowser's Fair Shot 84 Month Report" — when it hit mailboxes around February.

  • While the mailer doesn't appear to run afoul of the District's rules for mass mail by elected officials, it has "a lot of resemblance to a very lavish campaign pamphlet," said Craig Holman, an ethics expert at nonprofit watchdog Public Citizen.
  • He said the District should consider stricter regulations such as ones in Congress, where members must submit mailers for approval by a commission.

Details: Nearly 153,000 copies of the mailer were produced and sent out, according to invoices dated Jan. 31 that were acquired by Axios through a public records request.

  • $40,800 was spent on mail and postage, and it cost $89,100 to print the documents.

At 28 pages, the mailer is the longest of the six progress reports she has released in office.

  • The mayor's other most recent report was produced in fall 2019.

The big picture: In campaign forums against challengers Robert White and Trayon White, Bowser touts her experience running the city and pushes back against questions that she is overconfident in wanting a third term.

  • The 84 month report claims "Mayor Bowser is throwing every resource at the rise in violent crime," talks up a "renaissance of D.C.'s public schools," and says family homelessness is down 73%.

Our thought bubble: The mayor's office delivered the two pages of invoices six weeks late, and nearly 2.5 months after Axios filed its public records request.


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