Washington D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray denied allegations from prosecutors which stated that he knew about the “shadow campaign” and was complicit in its execution. The campaign was run by Jeffrey E. Thompson who secretly filtered illegal campaign contributions of more than $2 million into Gray’s mayoral campaign. On Monday Gray spoke with reporters and told them that he knew nothing of this program and totally refutes the allegations that he played a role in its execution.
“It’s shocking to me,” the mayor said in his office on the sixth floor of the District’s city hall, located in the Wilson Building. Gray added that the allegations are all lies.
To go one step further Gray also accused Thompson of lying to the people by inventing “whole-cloth exchanges” that make him, Gray, out to be one of the criminals involved in this case. He added that Thompson was implicating him so as to reduce his sentence and avoid a long stretch in jail. The mayor also said that Thompson has undoubtedly been thinking about this for a long time.
Back when prosecutors and law enforcement officials first began investigating this story there was one detail they needed to prove irrefutably. Many of the files referenced an “Uncle Earl.” Gray revealed that yes, this man was Thompson, the name Earl taken because of the business man’s middle name. However, Gray stressed that the only reason a pseudonym was used had no link to finance law. He said that the name was used in order to hide Thompson’s identity from the mayor at the time Adrian Fenty, whom Thompson was also backing. Gray admits Thompson wanted to be known as Uncle Earl and that he obliged, but added that he asked many people to raise money for his campaign, but always legitimately.
Gray added that initially Thompson did not want to contribute because he had been working for Fenty, but later came back and donated money to Gray on the grounds that it was done secretly. “My sense was that he didn’t want it to be known that he was raising money for me because of fear of retribution.”
Thompson recently pled guilty to charges of pumping large sums of money, in total more than $2 million over the course of six years, to local and federal elections on illegal grounds. The U.S. Attorney in this case, Ronald C. Machen Jr. said that, “Jeffrey Thompson’s guilty plea pulls back the curtain to expose widespread corruption,” a comment most likely aimed at Gray, if not Fenty as well. Machen Jr. also stated that his plea shows citizens of the D.C. area the kind of off the record dirty dealing that has “corrupted election after election, year after year.” He also added that they would go after whoever else had connections to this case and maybe in any way responsible for similar abuses against fair campaigns.
Gray showed on Monday that he will continue to deny his knowledge of the “shadow campaign” and has already expressed his desire to finish his term and run for reelection.
By Nick Manai