Promises Made, Promises Broken
The first time Ward 5 Councilmember Harry Thomas Jr. was ordered by a judge to hand over financial information related to his Team Thomas organization to the Office of the Attorney General, Thomas held a news conference to make a big show of his insistence that he had nothing to hide and was publicly disclosing the requested information.
Thomas said Team Thomas wasn't the unregulated slush fund his political enemies had alleged, but rather a non-profit group aimed at promoting youth sports like baseball and golf. Thomas added that Team Thomas represented his life's work, and he wasn't going to let a politically motivated investigation launched by former Attorney General Peter Nickles smear its good name.
(This much we know about Team Thomas: It is some sort of organization that has sold expensive baseball lessons; organized free youth sport clinics; given away Thanksgiving turkeys; paid for Thomas' trips to Vegas and Florida, as well his Audi SUV; and received funding from District taxpayers and companies with business before the city. For more, see this old LL column.)
The second time Thomas was ordered by a judge to hand over financial information (this time with orders to produce specifics about who gave to Team Thomas and how the money they donated was spent), Thomas held no news conference.
In fact, there's been no way to confirm whether Thomas even complied with the judge's orders to hand over the second round of documents. The new attorney general, Irv Nathan, has been mum on Team Thomas except to say that he hopes his investigation finishes sometime this spring.
Thomas is the chairman of the D.C. Council's economic development committee, so it would be nice to know which developers and other business interests might have given him money, and how that money was spent.
So LL asked Thomas back in January if he planned on releasing to the public the second round of requested information, just like he did with the first.
Thomas said he would. Here's a section of a clip from a January 11 conversation between Thomas and LL at the Wilson Building:
But yesterday, when news broke that the Office of Campaign Finance has launched a "preliminary investigation" of Team Thomas, Thomas said he had never promised to release the second round of documents to the public.
"I told you I would give them to the proper people," Thomas told LL. He added that he has to be "calculating" about what he publicly discloses because he "wasn't going to feed a fire" being fanned by his political enemies.
If you say so...
Photo by Darrow Montgomery