Campaign finance troubles for Mayor Gray still loom. The Washington Post has reported that the FBI is probing deeper into campaign finance records from Gray’s 2010 campaign. Among their findings are reports showing where Gray received contributions from over 2,000 District residents that may or may not have appeared in official campaign finance records.
This news adds another mound to the growing list of accusations against Gray, stemming from the Suliamon Brown who blew the whistle that he was paid off by Gray’s campaign to verbally attack then mayor Adrian Fenty. After Brown’s accusations hit the press and the FBI began to investigate, many of Gray’s aids began to fall. Most notably include: Lorraine Green, Gray’s campaign chair, Thomas Gore, Gray’s assistant treasurer, Howard Brooks, a campaign aid, Jeanne Clarke Harris, a public relations consultant and the court has shown that businessman Jeffrey E. Thompson funded many of the illegal practices that occurred during Gray’s campaign, including the “shadow campaign” that is believed to be run by Vernon Hawkins.
Even in all the controversy Gray has maintained his innocence and has stated that he did not know a “shadow campaign” existed alongside his legit campaign. Gray has stated that he is “incredulous” of the latest charges. The Post obtained a list of contributions made between March and mid-August of 2010.
Even more, this summer former Gray aides say he knew of campaign finance violations and David Dzidzienyo, who ran field operations during his campaign said he voiced concerns to Gray himself about the financing of the campaign and concerns about the then unknown “shadow campaign” and Gray did nothing.
Residents have called for Gray to resign, but he has held onto his seat amidst all the controversy, although some believe this has left him with little to no power. Ward 5 resident Alicia Dixion said, “This has to stop! I am tired of reading about Gray and his campaign. I wish he would just resign already!”
One Gray administration official, who choose to remain anonymous for security reasons, said “He has not been able to get things done as quickly as he should because people question his ability to ethically govern.”
Gray’s Potential Fall
Should the Mayor Gray fall from power, there are at least three sitting council members who are awaiting their shot to run for the city’s highest office. Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans, Ward 4 Councilmember Muriel Bowser and At-Large Councilmember David Catania all have their eyes on the mayoral seat. Each member has already begun forming their exploratory committee’s and are shaping up their campaign teams should Gray be indicted by the FBI.
If Gray has to resign, then the chairman, now Phil Mendelson, will step in as interim mayor, but a special election will take place within X days of the Gray’s resignation.