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Today on WPFW, LL and Councilmember Vincent Orange had a discussion about the veracity of LL’s reporting concerning Orange’s 2011 special election. LL has reported at length on the links between the key players (Jeff Thompson, Vernon Hawkins, Jeanne Clarke Harris) in the alleged shadow campaign that U.S. Attorney Ron Machen says illegally helped get Mayor Vince Gray elected in 2010 and Orange’s campaign that took place several months later.

Orange says LL’s reporting is faulty because some of the people who worked on that campaign are spreading lies. And those lie spreaders are campaign workers Orange inherited, apparently reluctantly, from another campaign.

Orange says that when then-president of the Ward 8 Democrats Jacque Patterson had to drop out of the race after failing to muster enough valid signatures, Orange wanted his endorsement.

“In order to get his endorsement, I had to hire his people,” Orange said today on the radio, adding later that Patterson “wanted to makes sure his people were taken care of and he wanted me to take over his office” on Georgia Avenue NW.

Patterson, over to you:

“I never brought it up to him, there was no condition,” says Patterson.

Patterson says he was actually leaning toward endorsing Bryan Weaver, but wanted to back the same candidate the members of the Ward 8 Democrats were supporting. And he says it was an aide to Orange who asked if the Orange campaign could take over Patterson’s campaign space on Georgia Avenue. (Orange did not immediately respond to a request for comment beyond what he’d said on the radio.)

Is there a way to know for sure who is telling the truth? Not without administering truth serum to both of them, which LL lacks the proper pharmaceutical training to do.

Does it matter how Orange landed Patterson’s endorsement in a race two years ago? Yes. Why? Two reasons: One, if these are the kinds of promises Orange makes to win endorsements, what other kinds of deals has he struck to win support from other groups and supporters?

Two, the FBI has asked questions about Orange’s 2011 campaign. What they might be trying to sort out: the growing list of people whose recollection of what happened during that contest is the opposite of Orange’s.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery