THE QUESTION put to D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) was simple: Did he know, before or during the 2010 Democratic mayoral primary, about a secret, well-funded and illegal “shadow campaign” on his behalf?
“We ran a campaign based on the laws and principles of the District of Columbia,” the mayor replied during an appearance Friday on Bruce DePuyt’s “NewsTalk” on NewsChannel 8. That Mr. Gray would go on television, refuse to answer that basic question and then make the incredible claim of having run a campaign in keeping with accepted standards speaks volumes about his arrogant belief that, short of being hauled away in handcuffs, he owes the public no accounting for his actions.
Set aside for the moment whether Mr. Gray was aware of the $653,000 unlawfully used to purchase materials and hire workers to secure his victory over then-Mayor Adrian M. Fenty two years ago — money allegedly supplied by a prominent businessman with significant contractual interests with the D.C. government. It is evident that the official Gray-for-mayor campaign — the one that Mr. Gray proudly proclaimed to be “based on laws and principles” — had its own myriad troubles. A campaign official responsible for day-to-day finances conspired with a consultant to illegally divert Gray campaign funds in a slimy scheme that enabled a fringe mayoral candidate to continue his attacks on Mr. Fenty, Mr. Gray’s main opponent. The two men, Thomas W. Gore, longtime friend to Mr. Gray, and Howard Brooks, close friend to Mr. Gray’s campaign chairwoman, each pleaded guilty to federal felony charges and are awaiting sentencing.