Gray Election Probe Heats Up
Published: Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, October 18, 2011 08:10
Fresh evidence has renewed an ongoing federal investigation into alleged misconduct by the election campaign of D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray last fall.
On Oct. 15, The Washington Post reported that authorities had found new evidence regarding allegations that the Gray campaign bribed mayoral candidate Sulaimon Brown and illegally accepted campaign contributions.
According to Brown, the Gray campaign paid him in installments to publicly deride then-mayor and political opponent Adrian Fenty. He also claimed that the Gray administration promised him a position at the D.C. Department of Health Care Finance with an annual salary of $110,000.
Gray denies having offered Brown a job in exchange for his denouncement of Fenty, saying that he offered Brown only a job interview.
Sources close to the investigation told The Washington Post that the FBI has obtained the fingerprints of Brown and Howard Brooks, a consultant and friend of Gray's campaign chairwoman, Lorraine Green. The agency may be able to use this evidence to determine who paid Brown to criticize Fenty.
This development comes after The Washington Post discovered in July that more than 100 cash contributions higher than the municipal legal limit were documented in campaign finance reports.
Interviews with contributors have suggested that the Gray campaign illegally turned cash into money orders, and the FBI has recently confirmed that signatures on some money orders were forged.
Scott Stirrett (SFS '13), chair of the student advocacy group DC Students Speak, said that those accused must be considered innocent until proven guilty, but described the allegations as shocking nonetheless.
"It's … concerning that there have been so many different corruption allegations. Students, especially those at Georgetown who have come to D.C. and have only been here for a few years … should expect a better kind of government," he said.
The mayor's office could not be reached for comment at press time.