The term “senseless crime” is oftenapplied to acts of pointless violence. But it’s also an apt term to describe the sheer idiocy of the alleged plot by Mayor Vince Gray’s 2010 campaign aides to fund fringe candidate Sulaimon Brown and his over-the-top attacks on then-Mayor Adrian Fenty.
Gray’s longtime friend and acting campaign treasurer Thomas Gore pleaded guilty on Tuesday to funneling Gray’s campaign money into money orders that were given to Brown’s campaign. Gore also pleaded guilty to the much more serious crime of destroying evidence of those payments and obstructing the FBI’s ongoing investigation of the Gray campaign. Court records indicate that Gore had help, and “other members” of the Gray campaign were part of the plan to keep Brown’s campaign afloat.
During his court hearing, Gore had the look of a man dejected and broken by his sorry predicament. At times he stared off at nothing in particular, with a glum look in his eyes. Perhaps Gore, who wouldn’t talk to reporters after the hearing, was thinking about how pointless his wrongdoing had been.
Gray, after all, did not need Brown’s help to win: He was up against a hugely unpopular incumbent who ran a horrible campaign. A Washington Post poll taken in January 2010, months before he even got into the race, showed Gray winning a hypothetical matchup 35 to 31. The same poll showed that Fenty’s disapproval rate was 49 percent.
Gray campaign aides tell LL that their strategy was never very complicated: just make sure Gray’s supporters came out on election day. Gray never had to make the case why he should be elected, and why Fenty shouldn’t be re-elected; that issue was already settled, even more so for the tiny portion of diehards who actually heard Brown take potshots at Fenty during campaign forums.
Gore, as part of Gray’s inner campaign circle, should have known as well as anyone that Brown was a nonfactor in the race. But he still went ahead with the Sulaimon plan anyway, then bumbled and lied his way through a cover-up. That’s just senseless.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery