Loose Lips

Kwame Brown Campaign Consultant Gave FBI Financial Documents Last Summer

A former campaign consultant for Council Chairman Kwame "Fully Loaded" Brown says he gave the FBI financial records last summer but hasn't been in contact with federal authorities since.

Charles Hawkins' Banner Consulting was paid $380,000 by Brown's 2008 reelection campaign. An audit by the Office of Campaign Finance shows that Banner paid $240,000 to a company owned by Brown's brother, Che Brown. Several of the payments from the campaign to Banner found their way to Che Brown's company "in close proximity to the time frames if not the same day and the same amounts," the audit says.

Both Hawkins and Kwame Brown told the Post after the audit came out in April that there had been no wrongdoing. But last July, the Board of Elections and Ethics referred Brown's campaign finance issues to the U.S. Attorney's Office, with then-BOEE Chairman Togo West bluntly telling reporters that he thought there was evidence of "criminal" behavior. The U.S. Attorney's Office replied with a statement indicating that they'd already been investigating.

Hawkins says he delivered documents to the FBI—including bank statements, canceled checks, and invoices—last June. He added he's not heard from the FBI or the U.S. Attorney's Office since he handed over the records, nor has he hired a lawyer.

Bill Miller, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office, says the investigation, whose status is the topic of frequent speculation at the Wilson Building, is still ongoing.

The attorney representing Brown's campaign in the investigation, Fred Cooke Jr., did not immediately return a call for comment.

  • BurnIn

    "...bluntly telling reporters that he thought there was evidence of "criminal" behavior..."

    Do you think maybe? Studying the accompanying photo one is struck by the similarities between "Fully Loaded" and Harry Thomas Jr. in more ways then one. The eyes and expression convey a keen intellect and redolent humility. The only difference in these two examples is that Kwame had a brother to take the fall and a father to take the loot.

    Kwame clearly embodies his father's abhorrent suspicion of anyone or anything with a vocabulary or education beyond the level of the 6th grade. How lucky we are to have such a fine family to serve our community. Its like Newark in the 50s.

  • Daniel

    Anyone think it's a coincidence that Kwame Brown and Harry Thomas Jr. have the same attorney?

  • Truth hurts

    Think lawyer lobbyist govt contractor campaign bundler Cooke is giving Kwame the friends and family discount?

  • NE John

    lol, does he have another brother named Fidel

  • Just Curious

    Anyone agree with Schaffer's Tweet?

    Michael Schaffer
    Suggestion for @Darrow_M slideshow: Pix of Fred Cooke standing next to DC pols who will be TOTALLY VINDICATED once this is over.

    I think it'd be fascinating. I'm very curious to see the photo array of clients past and present for Cooke and how many were truly "vindicated."

    I am... Just Curious

  • Joe

    mr. cooke doesn't do trial work. everybody in the courthouse knows that. kwame is looking for a deal

  • Pete

    re Cooke photos: Sounds like A TBD slideshow. Top 10 "Totally Vindicated" DC Pols.

  • Robert

    Burnin, did you really use "keen intellect" to describe Kwame Brown?? And Harry Thomas?? Puh leaze.
    I feel the same way as all of you about these two, but why are you attacking the lawyer? Isn't he just doing his job? I really dont get that part of it.

  • Daddy Grace Fish Sandwich

    I think, Kwame 'Full Loaded' Brown will be the next D.C. Councilmember to go down.

  • Dave B

    I will forgive Kwame if he dances to Tom Jones like Carlton on the Wilson Building steps. That would be the deal I would strike if I was the US Attorney. Oh yeah, he would have to communte by bikeshare too, with a helmet

  • NE John

    Robert is right about the attorney.

    Dave, nothing short of tarring and feathering and a dump off the 14 Street Bridge will do.

  • Green Eyeshade

    Is there a character limit (word limit) on the City Paper's comments sections?

    Or was it that I wrote that Kwame's lawyer is "negotiating his a** off" and the word a** triggers the auto-delete script?

  • Green Eyeshade

    City Paper is censoring my comment on this blogpost which suggested Hawkins is lying. As suggested by my comment @12, I thought it was because of my accidental use of the word a**, but neither City Paper nor LL contacted me at the email I provided to request any edit or to inform me why my commented was "moderated" into the recycle bin.

  • Green Eyeshade

    I think Hawkins was lying either (1) when he said he "hasn't been in contact with federal authorities since [last summer]" or (2) when he said "he's not heard from the FBI or the U.S. Attorney's Office since he handed over the records, nor has he hired a lawyer."

    Or both. The meaning of "federal authorities" could be very narrow, in which case he could have told the truth in (1) if he meant "federal investigators." But in (2) he broadened the term "federal authorities" to include both the investigators -- FBI -- and the prosecuting attorneys, then added that he didn't "hire" a lawyer.

    He's lying if he intended us to understand that neither he nor "a lawyer" has had any discussion with the U.S. Attorney's office about his evidence since he turned over records. He probably had a Public Defender lawyer "appointed" to represent him (you don't "hire" a Public Defender, you have a legal right to court-appointed counsel). It is almost certain that the Public Defender's office has met with the U.S. Attorney's Office to negotiate a plea agreement for Hawkins.

  • Mike Madden

    @ Green Eyeshade:

    As I've explained here frequently, our blogging platform automatically flags some comments for moderation and doesn't notify us that it's done so. We don't have the resources here to make it someone's job to constantly scour the comments looking at the moderation queue, so we get to them when we can. No one is censoring you.

  • Green Eyeshade

    Maybe these were the problem grafs, so I tried to re-work them:

    If I were Charles Hawkins, or his firm Banner Consulting (if it is incorporated), I would want a plea agreement just as much as Marshall Banks & James Garvin wanted plea agreements to save themselves and implicate Harry L. Thomas, Jr. (HLT) when the Langston Golf foundation got tangled in HLT's embezzlement. Banks & Garvin were nailed for "misprision" of HLT's felony. "Misprision" basically means "failing to report" or "covering up" or even "aiding & abetting."

    The chronology of the actual plea agreement letters from Banks & Garvin is important. Check the dates. Both of them signed their plea deals in November 2011 before HLT signed his plea deal in December 2011. HLT did not get the big "cooperation" term in his deal, but Banks did. Banks & Garvin dropped a dime on HLT, not the other way around.

    It seems obvious that if Togo West was correct that there was criminal conduct in Kwame's 2008 campaign's handling of funds, you find the criminals by "following the money." When you follow the money, you start with Banner Consulting & Hawkins and you end with Che Brown.

    Once the Assistant U.S. Attorneys have a plea agreement letter from Hawkins in hand, they go visit Che Brown & Che's lawyer. Che might be exposed to a charges of tax evasion; if so, he might be looking at substantial prison time depending on the amount of income he failed to report. I think Che needs to plead & cooperate to reduce his time.

  • Green Eyeshade

    @Madden #18 -- thank you.

    I was getting "awaiting moderation" flags inconsistently and possibly not in chronological order. My comment @11 was the longest, and it has been waiting for moderation for more than an hour. But my tiny short one @14 used the word "a**" and it has also been waiting in moderation for 59 minutes.

  • Typical DC BS

    We have the slowest Attorney General in the United States here in DC. The old saying "Justice delayed is justice denied" becomes stronger every year. Look how long it took them to nail HTJ, even though the facts were known for months.

    Justice Department workers get slower every year.

  • Holdadice

    @TDCBS: Slow, but steady is how I want my USATTY's. With all of the muck they have to wade through, they probably need to come up for air. A LOT!! Assuming that's who you were referring to when you said 'AG's in the US here in DC'.

  • sinclair skinner

    chickens come home to roost

  • Holdadice

    @ss: Wanna quote Malcolm? Mr. Machem could say he was planning to clean up the mess created by present and FORMER DC politicians AND their sycophants:
    'by any means necessary'.

    If the poster is the real ss, from what you presented at the hearings HTJ called, the only thing you could possibly have brought to the Fenty table was sycophancy.

  • sinclair skinner

    the htj sham hearings only prove that lying corrupt politicians will do anything to frame innocent people while they rob $300k from children’s programs yet there are still a few idiots that are gullible enough to still believe htj lies. i dont know what sycophancy means use smaller words please.

  • Truth hurts

    Pretty sure synchophant roughly translates to ass kissing. Not clear what that meant in the context of the post.

  • Holdadice

    @24: Maybe I should have typed "...from the way the real ss presented (REVEALED HIMSELF; CAME ACROSS)..., he was not qualified to do the 'work' he was GIVEN money to do. He was GIVEN the money for being a Fenty sycophant. Now that illegal payoff he probably really EARNED. Problem is he was paid with our tax dollars.

    @ss: Unless I mis-spelled the word, a dictionary could have defined it for you. You know, that book with definitions of words in alphabetical order? At one time, ALL college students had to make good use of one to graduate. When I was a student at HU many, many years ago, there was no spell-check and no computer to get your assignments online either. Oh! Wait a minute,....Hold da dice: Is that how you got out of Howard?

  • sinclair skinner

    my degree from hu was in mechanical engineering. i didnt take any classes in city paper comment section English. i took easy math and science classes like differential equations, thermodynamics and fluid mechanics. but as far as hearings i will do better the next time htj has a sham hearing. oh wait, i guess he wont be conducting anymore sham hearings . . . he's going to prison. My advice to you is stop being so politically gullible and stop being a coward. If you are man enough to attack me personally you should be man enough to use your real name, punk.

  • LastStop

    One gets a sense that native Washingtonians, once they achieve elected office, or are friends of those who do, feel some sort of entitlement to use the public coffers as their personal expense accounts.

    The city deserves MUCH MORE than the acceptance of the better of two evils. When the gravy train is cut short, what tends to happen is the same chairs are shifted around on deck with different cronies sitting in them. Those who lost them scream bloody hell while the new drains on the taxpayers carry on business as usual.

    I certainly do like to see those who steal from the public go to jail, however, I don't need to see a charge from the U.S. Attorney's office to know what is right and what is wrong. Public officials are charged with avoiding even the "apprearance" of impropriety. This is something that has been long ignored in this city.

  • Holdadice

    @LastStop: Normally I defer to your thought provoking statements as a literal last stop in the comments section; however, while I should know better than to wallow in the mud with the likes of ss, da debil made me make an exception.

    @ss: Perhaps all of the "differential equations, thermodynamics, and fluid mechanics" classes were a brain drain and precluded your ability to recall much of what you were supposedly paid to do when asked about it during the hearings. But I agree: It is definitely in your best interest do better the next time, especially since the call would probably come from the Machem Posse instead of HTJ.

    Now if that comes to pass you might also find yourself in the same penal institution with HTJ. If that unfortunate circumstance comes to pass, let us know who the punk is.

    Truly "politically gullible" people were connected, had the juice, and then ended up in hearings because they were gullible enough to think they were immune to scrutiny. Remember, some very financially secure people have been reduced to poverty by outlandish legal fees. Suggest you consider asking Mr. Bolden to plead down for you or maybe by then your windfall will be gone and you could qualify for court appointed legal counsel.

    I don't wish that on you Mr. Skinner, but take it from an old schooler: Yours will be a bitter pill to swollow if all of the above comes to pass. Just read the blogs, practice some restraint and don't allow your impulsivity to rule. Your knee jerk reactions will only make it worse for you AND your benefactors if the CYITF scandal really hits the fan. The HTJ charges will look like jay-walking compared to that miasma. He'll be the one smirking then (from the outside). Especially if it's true he was once an insider with the Big Guy. They're talking connections to major slingin', and I don't mean hash browned potatoes.

    I say Good Luck to you sincerely, young man. YOU'RE GONNA NEED IT.

  • sinclair skinner

    thank thank you sir i appreciate your points. i agree no matter if someone supported gray fenty or any other politician if they break the law or abuse the public trust they deserve to pay the price. The hypocrisy of it all is that corrupt harry thomas made accusations and had the power to call hearings based on his allegations to frame me to attack fenty. these corrupt politicians used this sham hearing to interrogate my friends and family, issued subpoenas, went through my business and personal bank records. used a special prosecutor whose law firm partner coincidently received a dc judgeship after the hearings. All this happened to a private citizen who was a friend of the mayor. A small local Black business man with no police record. And never charged with a crime. I would be outraged with this abuse of power no matter who it happened to. If someone does a crime prosecute them. But don’t create political theatre by wasting tax payer money on hearings used to fish for a “gotcha moment” while city councilmembers are stealing from us. sorry for the punk comment it was very immature of me.