Gray: Let campaign donor probe play out
Mayor Vincent C. Gray distanced himself Wednesday from an active D.C. political donor whose home and offices were raided Friday as part of a federal investigation into campaign finance activities.
Mr. Gray said it has been “months” since he spoke to Jeffrey E. Thompson, a prolific donor renowned for using his companies and associates to amass large amounts of campaign dollars for Mr. Gray, past mayors and nearly all of the District’s sitting council members.
“I asked Mr. Thompson to support my campaign,” Mr. Gray said of his successful 2010 run for mayor.
But Mr. Gray said it was premature to conclude that federal agents were seeking materials related to his campaign, which has been accused of shrouding the source of some cash donations by converting them into money orders.
The mayor said he played a personal role in acquiring checks for the campaign but did not cull cash or money orders or direct anyone to conceal their origins.
Anyone with information about inappropriate fundraising activity can come forward “any time they wish,” he said.
“Let the investigation play out,” Mr. Gray told reporters at his biweekly news briefing. “The bottom line is the rules should have been followed in all instances.”
The raid involving Mr. Thompson — who has not been accused of any wrongdoing — reverberated through city hall and political campaigns in the District and has renewed legislative efforts to ban corporate contributions to city campaigns.
Mr. Gray declined to take a position on a bill introduced Tuesday by council members Mary M. Cheh, Ward 3 Democrat, and Tommy Wells, Ward 6 Democrat, that bans political donations from corporations and from city contractors who rely on the council to approve their deals.
Although the debate is hardly new to the District, Mr. Gray said he must read the entire legislation before he takes a position on it.
Recalling his 2010 campaign, Mr. Gray said it has been a long time since he spoke to his fundraising captain, Reuben O. Charles, who has kept a low-profile in thepast year.
“I don’t know that he’s disappeared,” Mr. Gray added, responding to questions about Mr. Charles’ whereabouts.
Although the goal of Friday’s raid remains unclear, it has reignited interest in allegations that illicit money changed hands at multiple points in the mayoral race.
Last year, minor mayoral candidate Sulaimon Brown claimed Mr. Gray’s team promised him a job and paid him to bash incumbent Mayor Adrian M. Fenty on the 2010 campaign trail.
A D.C. Council committee and the House Committee on Government Oversight issued investigative reports that criticized Howard Brooks — a campaign worker who is said to have paid Mr. Brown but who has declined to speak publicly about the matter — and Mr. Brown himself but did not lay serious blame at the feet of Mr. Gray.
D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray said it’s been months since he spoke to Jeffrey E. Thompson ,whose home and offices were raided Friday as part of a federal investigation.