Among the candidates D.C. campaign finance figure Jeff Thompson backed illegally, according to information filed by prosecutors in connection with Thompson’s guilty plea today, was Jeff Smith, who ran a losing Democratic primary campaign against Ward 1 D.C. Councilmember Jim Graham in 2010. Smith, who finished 35 percentage points behind Graham (but four votes ahead of fellow challenger Bryan Weaver), got $140,000 in “excessive and unreported contributions” from Thompson, according to court papers.
Graham, who’s running for re-election again this year against challenger Brianne Nadeau (and, possibly, Weaver again in the general election), says it’s an outrage. “I have been seriously victimized by the huge illegal donation to my opponent,” he says in a press release. D.C. campaign finance officials, Graham noted, also never enforced a fine against Smith for failing to file required financial reports. “To my knowledge, none of that fine has been collected,” the statement points out.
The full statement is below:
Councilmember Graham Responds to Illegal Campaign Funds to his 2010 Opponent
(Washington, D.C) Today, Councilmember Graham has reviewed the charges from the United States Attorney’s office against Jeffrey E. Thompson. Thompson is being charged with making contributions to a “Ward One candidate” in the amount of $140,000.
“I have been seriously victimized by the huge illegal donation to my opponent,” said Graham.
“The Washington Post has reported the funds were paid to my 2010 opponent, Jeff Smith. Smith did have a relationship with Thompson,” said Graham. “Jeff Smith did report $26,000 in contributions from Thompson and Associates during the 2010 campaign,” he added. There were 52 money orders in the amount of $500 each.
Graham added, “I want to note also that Jeff Smith failed to file his final month campaign report and his final total campaign report, which was very disturbing for me.”
After the campaign, Councilman Graham repeatedly pressed DC’s Office of Campaign Finance regarding Smith’s failure to file the reports. After much effort by Graham, on June 28, 2011, the Office of Campaign Finance sought enforcement of a fine in the amount of $2,650.00 against “The Citizens for Jeff Smith”.
“To my knowledge, none of that fine has been collected,” said Graham.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery