Prosecutors: D.C. Mayor Knew Of ‘Shadow Campaign’

WASHINGTON (WJZ) — The mayor of Washington, D.C. is embroiled in a federal corruption investigation. D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray says he will not step down from office–even after federal prosecutors accuse him of participating in an illegal campaign to raise money for his election.

Mary Bubala has more.

Federal prosecutors say Gray asked a D.C. businessman to fund an illegal $600,000 “get out the vote” shadow campaign during the primary election in 2010. That businessman, Jeffery Thompson, pleaded guilty to two felony conspiracy counts for violating federal and local campaign finance laws.

“His plea gives the citizens of D.C. an inside look at the underground off the books games that have corrupted election after election, year after year,” said Ronald Machen, D.C. U.S. Attorney.

The accusations come three weeks before the district’s Democratic mayoral primary. Gray is seeking re-election against seven challengers.

Gray has not been charged with a crime and has denied any wrongdoing.

“You go back and look at that campaign and I wasn’t even involved any more than I had to be because I was trying to do my job as chairman of the council,” Gray said.

The mayor acknowledges he asked Thompson to help raise money for his campaign to unseat incumbent Adrian Fenty.

But prosecutors contend the mayor knew most of the money was collected illegally.

The campaign scheme laid out in court involved straw donors who contributed money that was reimbursed by Thompson’s personal funds. Prosecutors call that a shadow campaign.

It’s unclear if prosecutors are looking to file charges against the mayor.

Thompson also admitted in court to making other illegal campaign contributions, including to Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid in 2008.

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