After telling D.C.'s sole candidate for attorney general to stop raising money last week, now the D.C. Office of Campaign Finance has reversed course and will allow Paul Zukerberg to continue taking in contributions and spending money on his campaign.
Last week OCF told Zukerberg that he could not raise money for his run and scrubbed his official committee, Zukerberg for Attorney General, from its online list of active campaigns. Without any money, Zukerberg's attempt to gather 2,000 signatures by the Jan. 2 deadline would be imperiled, leaving him at risk of not appearing on the ballot for the Apr. 1 primary.
But in an email sent Monday afternoon, OCF's spokesman Wesley Williams stepped back from that initial ruling, writing, "[I]t would appear that the Campaign Finance Act does not specifically prohibit the collection of contributions or the making of expenditures by, or address the reporting requirements or contribution limits of candidates for the Office of Attorney General."
The back-and-forth over Zukerberg's campaign stems from the fact that it is the first time that an election is being held for D.C. attorney general, though it remains unclear whether the election will happen in 2014 or 2018.
In 2010, D.C. voters overwhelmingly voted in favor of a referendum allowing the position to be elected. But in October the D.C. Council pushed the first election back to 2018, saying that the office's authority was unclear and that no candidates had yet stepped forward to contest a 2014 election.
Zukerberg, a defense attorney and former Council candidate who said he would seek the seat, filed suit earlier this month, saying that the Council was illegally upending the wishes of D.C. voters. A federal judge did not rule on the merits of the case, saying that they could only be argued after a 30-day congressional review of the Council bill is completed in late December.
With OCF's decision this week, though, Zukerberg is free to continue raising money and collecting signature for a race that may not even end up on the 2014 ballot.