WASHINGTON - The District of Columbia's Office of Campaign Finance and Ethics has cleared Mayor Sharon Pratt Kelly of conflict of interest charges stemming from her acceptance of $2,878 in speaking and hotel fees from Municipal Bond Investors Assurance Corp., which insured two recent city bond deals.
The campaign and ethics office said Wednesday it would not seek civil penalties or other sanctions in connection with last fall's payment, prompting Mayor Kelly to say she is "very pleased this matter is now considered closed."
The payment were given to Mayor Kelly for a speech she gave on cities' "new fiscal realities" at an November 1991 MBIA conference.
Mayor Kelly received a $2,000 fee for the speech and $878 for hotel accommodations. She disclosed the speaking fee, but failed to report the hotel tab, on outside income disclosure statements. Mayor Kelly has since returned the entire amount.
City officials may receive honoraria, but may not accept gifts from those doing business with the city.
MBIA, which has insured various city bonds for the past 10 years, insured a $195.6 million city bond issue in May 1991, which was before the mayor received the speaking fee, and a $260 million bond deal in May of this year. City officials said a number of firms were queried about insuring the bonds, but only MBIA responded.
MBIA officials said the terms and conditions of insurance were the same for both bond deals, and that conference speakers are not selected with an eye to business.