Loose Lips

Feds Probing Kwame “Fully Loaded” Brown

Oh boy, add one more to the list of District officials who are being scrutinized by the U.S. Attorney's Office.

The feds are probing Council Chairman Kwame "Fully Loaded" Brown's 2008 campaign finances, an Office of Campaign Finance attorney said today at a hearing before the Board of Election and Ethics. OCF general counsel William SanFord (yes, that's how he spells his last name) says the feds have visited OCF's offices and taken records related to Brown's campaign.

What might have prompted the scrutiny from federal prosecutors? "We think there's criminal activity here," BOEE Chairman Togo West told reporters after the hearing.

A spokesman for the USAO confirmed that the office is continuing its "review" of Brown's campaign, but declined to say when that review started. Mayor Vince Gray and Ward 5 Councilmember Harry Thomas Jr. are also currently being looked at by the USAO. Two years ago, the FBI clumsily tried to get Ward 1 Councilmember Jim Graham to accept bribes.

OCF filed a complaint last month against Brown's 2008 campaign, alleging that the campaign committee failed to "report 210 contributions totaling $102,763.00, [failed] to report 53 expenditures totaling $169,431.49, [failed] to amend its Statement of Organization to include a bank account and identify a signatory, and  [failed] to substantiate $174,785.57 in expenditures." That last item relates to Brown's campaign money that wound up being paid to his brother Che Brown's sales-training company.

The BOEE hearing was a chance for Brown to respond to the complaint, but Brown's attorney Fred Cooke Jr. passed, instead asking the board to postpone any action and refer the case to the USAO.

"Our view is, let's just cut to the chase," said Cooke. He declined to say whether the feds had already contacted Brown or others associated with the campaign.

The BOEE essentially granted Cooke's request. West said he wants the feds to investigate as quickly as possible and noted that the FBI has better "firepower" to fully investigate the matter. SanFord says OCF has asked Brown's campaign for records, including Che Brown's bank records, on "numerous occasions" without getting an "affirmative response." Cooke said he didn't know if Che Brown, whom he doesn't represent, even has records to hand over.  (LL has a request for comment in with Che Brown and will update as needed.)

As for the chairman, his office released a statement from "The Committee to Re-Elect Kwame Brown" saying that it welcomes the feds' probe and is confident they won't find any criminal wrongdoing.

When reporters tried to question Brown after a council session this afternoon, he gave a quick no-comment comment in the form of, "We're just looking forward to moving forward and getting some closure to it. I'm looking forward to a full investigation."

  • Calvin H. Gurley

    Drez…your point is clear.

    However, you challenge is not all-that-correct; “…first need to be able to point to actual stories that the media refuses to cover. “

    I am an accountant with strong auditing experience.

    The local media do report scandals, questionable Council’s give away of public funds to private individuals and etc. but some of these news stories are hidden on the last page of the Metro Section or printed on Saturday news [which most residents are not Saturday readers].

    What supports NOODLEZ statement is when the Media uses "ADDITIONAL" resources to do FURTHER investigation into those stories. The media following up leads stories by further digging and researching documents, using the Freedom of Information and requestS for MORE information AND DOCUMENTATION from D.C. agencies.

    This is the difference that NOODLEZ is really expressing about [after the initial story is printed] the amount of additional energy, time and resources used by the media on Black elected officials compared to an one story…and that is it (THE END. NO more additional time or resources used to dig down deeper about other elected officials misbehaviors.

    Catania refusal to allow a Black Prince Georges County Businessman with his partner GW. University Hospital to purchase the defunct Greater Southeast Hospital was not furthered investigated by the Post or Examiner. No further interview with the Black Businessman or GW University to get the details of the most lucrative deal that would not have cost the city $79 million dollars.

    The Post or Examiner did not utilize the FIO Act to get the report from McGraw-Hill on the D.C. Standard test scandal. Wash. Post, METRO, Friday, September 4, 2009 – 26-School D.C. Cheating Probe.
    Erasers made on our children standardized test.

    Corcoran Art Gallery was given $40 million dollars by way of Jack Evans…no follow-up or more resources were used by the Post or Examiner to interview the executives on the Board of the Corcoran Art Gallery.

    An old family D.C. property management firm gets $500,000. Per month for a dilapidated, not-in-use storage building in S.W. [not usable for a planned, new Police Station replacement on Indiana Ave.]. No follow-up with this company to ask WHY they are MILKING this City for $6 million a year.

    Wake up Trusting Citizens.
    Calvin H. Gurley

  • Five To Go

    Thank you Mr. C.H.Gurley, it seems that you have given the readers of this paper more information about our so-called City Council members, et al.

  • Really?

    Ummm Drez. I stated on the Harry story that I know for a fact Allen was given a story about Tommy wells and he didn't right nothing about it.

    And I'm hearing more and more about some stuff on Tommy and him giving money to help family memebers.

    Lastly, I just found out that ole Lindy Boy needs to shove it with his 10 rules bull on reform. Word on the street is that when jack raised close to a million (remember this is one ward) and Tommy Boy received almost $400,000 for being a consultant.

    So city paper you gonna write a story about that one?

  • drez

    What was the story? What money is Wells giving his family?
    If you have details, dont be a worthless tease.

  • 1Deuce

    Hey Wendy....Vincent Orange told everyone about Kwame during the 2010 election, so did Tom Sherwood and the post editorial board...NO ONE LISTENED/READ!!!!

  • Really?

    Sorry should have said "write". I'm with Noodlez on this one.

    @ Drez. I know...and I'm a bad teaser too. Ask round...hint she has an "H" street connection.

  • Really?

    And let me add $400k to consultant on a Ward race....really Tom?

  • Wendy Washington

    Yes, 1Deuce, you are correct. Some folks bad-mouthed VO for bringing it to light. It was true. Unfortunately, many folks voted without thinking. I never thought much of Kwame before his personal, fiscal irresponsibility was disclosed -- because he would not take a stand on issues. That is still true, too.

  • drez

    Really, Calvin Gurley
    I appreciate that you two are at least trying to respond productively. I mean, finger pointing is at some level a distraction, but at least you are trying to offer some substance.
    When Lindenfeld wrote that rules for contracting need to be tightened, I actually disagreed. It was my one point of disagreement. In my eyes the rules are perversely too onerous, and that causes a lot of good people to not apply, and a lot of government people to circumvent their own rules just to get things done. I think the contracting rules need to be scrapped and overhauled. Not likely, but thats the only fix I see.

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