The Washington Post has news today that Mayor Vince Gray allegedly met with shadow-campaign-enabler Jeanne Clarke Harris in January to discuss off-the-books spending that helped his 2010 mayoral campaign.
From the Post‘s Mike DeBonis and Nikita Stewart:
At the time of the January meeting, the official Gray campaign was pulling together an amended report to submit to the D.C. Office of Campaign Finance, which is conducting an audit. Gray and Harris discussed the unreported spending, and Gray later told her to submit records of any expenditures to his campaign staff, according to the people with knowledge of the meeting.
One person said that before the meeting, Harris had prepared invoices for the secret spending so that, if asked for, they might be provided to Gray’s legitimate campaign for reporting. It is unclear whether Harris exchanged information with Gray or his campaign staff or whether Gray knew about the source of the money or the amount of the spending.
But that wasn’t the mayor’s only meeting on campaign money with a former aide who would later plead guilty in federal court to charges connected to the campaign. Less than three weeks before the Jan. 10 meeting with Harris, Gray met with his de facto campaign treasurer Thomas Gore, emails LL obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request show. Gore pleaded guilty earlier this summer to steering funds to nuisance candidate Sulaimon Brown and then destroying evidence in an attempted cover-up.
The reason for the meeting was to discuss closing out Gray’s constituent service account from when he chairman (Gore was the treasurer of that account) as well as to talk about “paying any remaining bills of the campaign fund and closing it out, etc.,” according to an email Gray’s chief of staff, Chris Murphy, wrote to Gore a week before the Dec. 22 meeting. The campaign lent the mayor’s old constituent service fund $10,000 to pay for a holiday toy drive (a move Murphy tells LL is legal and was vetted in advance); the meeting was to tie up loose ends from that transaction.
But Murphy and Gray’s Director of Community Affairs Stephen Glaude, a former campaign aide who was also at the meeting, say they were focused on the mayor’s constituent service fund and don’t remember any discussions about the campaign that did not involve the constituent service fund.
The meeting occurred around 7 p.m., emails show. Earlier that morning, Gore sent Murphy an email informing of the balance left in the Gray for Mayor account. It was $1,128.92 at that time.
There was no discussion of any shadow campaign or of Sulaimon Brown, Murphy and Glaude say, which is kind of amazing. Keep in mind that Gore certainly knew he was in deep shit by late December. Court records indicate that he’d already been recorded talking about how he’d shredded records of the payments the Gray campaign had made to Brown and that he’d already lied to the FBI about l’affaire Sulaimon.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery