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U.S. Attorney Ron Machen had his coming out party today in D.C. politics. With Ward 5 Councilmember Harry Thomas Jr.’s guilty plea for stealing more than $350,000 in city funds, Machen has asserted himself as a major player in local affairs.
Note well that part of Thomas’ plea deal involves the councilmember resigning his council seat. Machen, speaking at a news conference today following Thomas’ trial, made clear that one of his goals had been to get Thomas out of office.
“One of the reasons that we moved so swiftly in this case is we didn’t want any more time to go by than we needed it to to have a corrupt D.C. official in government,” Machen said. “So we were going to take that responsibility to make sure that he step down.”
Machen also indicated that he’s far from done making news. The Thomas investigation is ongoing, Machen said, indicating that there may be more charges coming for current or former city employees who may have played a role in Thomas’ theft.
Machen also addressed, without prompting, what kind of message this sends to other D.C. government officials “with other ongoing investigations.” In case you don’t know, Machen’s office is probing the political campaigns of Mayor Vince Gray and Council Chairman Kwame “Fully Loaded” Brown. Says Machen: “The message is very simple: Elected officials are expected to do their official duties with honor and integrity, and when they fail to do that there will be consequences and they will be held accountable.”
Anybody at the Wilson Building nervous?
Photo by Darrow Montgomery