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Former Tony Williams chief of staff Kelvin Robinson allegedly took more than $33,500 in illicit campaign help from confessed shadow campaign mastermind Jeff Thompson in two bids for the D.C. Council, according to a charge filed in Superior Court against Robinson this afternoon.
The alleged $7,500 in-kind contribution to Robinson’s abandoned 2010 at-large campaign and $26,000 in in-kind help for Robinson’s unsuccessful Ward 6 bid followed a now-familiar pattern, according to court papers. Thompson allegedly took money intended for Robinson from his accounting firm and the holding company that held his Medicaid contracting company.
Then Thompson disguised the money’s path by funneling it through companies owned by aide Jeanne Clarke Harris and Robinson’s own company, according to prosecutors. After receiving the money, Robinson or his associates would allegedly use the funds on “campaign services and campaign materials,” according to court papers.
Robinson faces five years in prison on one charge of conspiring the defraud the Office of Campaign Finance by concealing Thompson’s help. Robinson isn’t charged in a criminal information, which suggests he doesn’t plan to plead guilty. No court date has been set.
Robinson couldn’t be reached for comment, but in 2012, Robinson told Washington City Paper that he didn’t think there was anything wrong with some $13,000 in campaign contributions he received from possible straw donors tied to Thompson in his Ward 6 run against Tommy Wells.
While Thompson pleaded guilty to illicitly boosting Robinson’s 2010 Ward 6 in March, other court records show his relationship with the former mayoral chief of staff went back much further. In 2006, a bank account controlled by Wilson Building megalobbyist David Wilmot that Thompson routed money through cut $20,250 worth of checks to Robinson’s company, Emerge D.C.
Just days after receiving one of the checks, Robinson’s company made a $2,000 donation to the mayoral effort of former Council Chairwoman Linda Cropp, whose campaign Thompson has admitted to providing with $280,000 in off-the-books help.
File photo by Darrow Montgomery