From Union City–Despite the last-minute cancellation of the public hearing on a ballot initiative to ban direct corporate contributions to DC candidates, dozens of people showed up Feb. 13 at the planned hearing of the Board of Elections and Ethics to demand accountability from their elected officials.

“We are sick and tired of having elected officials who are bought and paid for,” said Courtney Stewart, Chairman of the Reentry Network for Returning Citizens. “We need real ethics reform that will help ensure we have a City Council that works for the citizens of DC, not big corporations like Walmart.”

The Living Wages Healthy Communities Coalition’s Respect DC Campaign is calling on all current City Council members with a Walmart planned for their ward to disclose their financial ties to both Walmart and the developers who plan to build the stores.

“Unfortunately, because of ‘bundling’ – where developers and others create shell companies for the sole purpose of getting around contribution limits – we don’t know how much money current Council members have received from (developers like) JBG, Foulger-Pratt, A&R, or Walmart,” said DC Jobs with Justice organizer Dyana Forester. “We deserve to know if our officials are in the pocket of Walmart and big developers.”

The Monday action also featured an appearance by “Candidate Walmart,” the spoof GOP presidential candidate in town after a weekend spent at the Conservative Political Action Conference.

“The residents of Washington, DC, clearly are better served when I can buy elections,” said Candidate Walmart. “I don’t understand why people think they know better than me. I have the money, I should get to make the rules.”

UPDATE: As of Feb 20, the hearing has been reschedule for Monday Feb 27.