Loose Lips

Scott Bishop: Harris Paid Me to Do Gray Campaign Work

Scott Bishop: Jeanne Harris Paid Me to Work for Vince Gray

Scott Bishop Sr., a longtime local campaign field organizer, says Jeanne Clarke Harris, who is expected to plead guilty tomorrow on conspiracy and fraud charges, paid him to put up signs and do other field work for Mayor Vince Gray's 2010 campaign.

Another campaign aide to Vince Gray, who asked not to be named because of the ongoing federal investigation, confirmed that Bishop put up signs for Gray. There is no record in Gray's campaign finance reports that Bishop was ever paid. It's not clear how much Harris paid Bishop. Harris' attorney, Fred Cooke Jr., did not immediately return a call seeking comment. Neither did a spokesman for the mayor.

A few months ago, Bishop told LL he'd "sort of" worked for the Gray campaign, but wasn't paid directly by the organization; a few weeks ago, he had told LL that Harris had paid him, but wouldn't let LL use his name. Tonight, he says LL can go ahead, because of Harris' imminent guilty plea.

Bishop's involvement underscores reports by both LL and the Washington Post that federal prosecutors are focusing their investigation of Gray's 2010 run on an alleged off-the-books "shadow campaign" that conducted operations without disclosing expenditures or the source of the funds that paid for them. LL and the Post have both reported that the investigation was looking at Vernon Hawkins, a political operative and friend of Gray's who sources said weighed in frequently on campaign matters (though financial records don't show he was paid for the 2010 race). The Post reported that one of Harris' companies, Details International, paid an out-of-town political consultant, Tracy Hardy, who coordinated with Hawkins on Gray campaign matters. (The Post also reported that the campaign paid Harris $20,000 for what the administration now says was to buy ads, but she returned the check and didn't do the work.) LL has also previously reported that Gray's campaign driver and longtime Harris family friend, Mark Long, was not paid for his long hours as Gray's driver. But financial records for another campaign from late 2010 show that around the same time he was driving Gray, Long listed one of Harris's companies as his employer. LL has also noted recently that two companies that made signs for the Gray campaign have given records to the feds.

In court records filed today, the feds allege that Harris received money from an unnamed co-conspirator, who is almost certainly Medicaid contractor and megadonor Jeff Thompson. The money was used, the feds say, to make tens of thousands of dollars worth of straw donations to various candidates. The feds also say that another of Harris' companies, Belle International, improperly deducted more than $900,000 in political contributions from 2010 tax forms; political contributions aren't tax deductible.

During the 2010 mayoral campaign, Bishop says, Harris often clashed with Hawkins over money,  as well as over specific details about how certain communities should be targeted. (Hawkins couldn't be reached through his attorney either—his attorney is also Cooke.) Bishop recalls being in the middle of one tiff between Hawkins and Harris in which Hawkins insisted that "the candidate," meaning Gray, was on his side.

"Fuck the candidate," Harris told Bishop, he says. That argument, Bishop says, ended as they all did: with Harris getting her way.

"The bottom line is that Jeanne would have her way in everything," says Bishop.

If Bishop's name sounds familiar, it should: Longtime political watchers will recall he was made the fall guy during former Mayor Anthony Williams' petition crisis in 2002.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

  • Jim Ed

    While I wait with trenchant anticipation for Gray's eventual indictment, I have to make a petty observation:

    We're really giving Gray and co WAAAY too much credit here by calling it a "Shadow Campaign," when in reality it's just a bunch of jerk-off nepotists blundering their way through petty fraud for essentially chump change. Yeah, Jeff Thompson is a pretty heavy hitter and all, but everyone else? They're getting pinched for a couple thousand dollars for christ's sake. Let's not even get into the irony that Gray was winning this election easily without all this nonsense due to Fenty's inability to kiss babies and grandmothers properly.

    I think the only lesson we've all learned here isn't that a shockingly high number of DC pols are crooks, but rather that they're goddamned idiots, and that their sycophantic hanger-ons and lackeys are somehow even dumber.

  • Truth hurts

    Gray knew about and approved the illegal shadow campaign. He'll resign in disgrace before the end of the year.

  • umis habit hummm

    "Fuck the candidate", if true, makes it seem as if JC-H was not as close to the Gray campaign as some would wish. I personally find it difficult to see how 'The Mayors': Gray, Williams & Barry can be held responsible for what the people who work for them(Or the people who pay the people who work for them) do.

    The obfuscation of this entire saga is beyond belief. How can Bishop be called the "fall guy" when he is in this stuff as deeply as is possible with more than one candidate in more than one campaign.

    If anything, it shows how deeply JC-H is historically entrenced in what seems to be par for the course in DC, and National politicws as well. What do you think will happen? Can Machen & his cohorts indict all of the players, some of the players, or the 'fall guys' of the players?

    The current Jeff Thompson mess is probably rooted from the big ROC who has not been heard from since he probably got his immunity as soon as he smelled blood in the waters. Like around March 6, 2011.

    Yep!!! It'll be real interesting to see what happens to him, though the way I understand it, there will be no way to find out his implication without trials. And so far, it looks as if all involved have pleaded. The mighty Reuben O. Charles III has struck again and moved taking his viral lode on to the next suckers who don't see him coming.

  • http://btolson1@verizonnet.com Susan

    The only difference between Vince and Fenty at this point is Fenty took care of his volunteers and Vince did not. Vince never understood how to be loyal to those that were loyal to him. Instead he showed a level of disrespect that will never be forgotten.

    Vince's recourse of stepping down for health reasons is not enough. Jeannie is paying now for the pain that she has caused to others. She has always been a nasty SOB along with Lorraine and Linda Green.

    Can someone please explain why Lorraine's daughter is still employed by DC government?

  • daniel

    Anyone notice who Harris' attorney is? That guy needs these indictments to stay employed!

  • Ward 4 Voter

    What a mess this is turning into. 'All My Children' was canceled, however, the soap opera is now being played in the Wilson Building.

  • topryder1

    JimEd, I don't want you to continue to write foolishness on these blogs, just because you can, Fenty was full of s..t, mean, nasty, and vindictive. Government did not improve, he just changed the people who told you bad news to white people so you thought you were getting better news...go away with Fenty BS. Then he threw up some damn bike lanes. Get real.

  • melvin

    These people are reversing progress. It is just as simple to do things the right way. They fell into a pattern of wrongdoing and made it a way of life. Record keeping and details are crucial to any endeavor. sooner or later you reap what you sow.

  • Just asking

    "Fenty took care of his volunteers and Vince did not."

    Susan, does the name Alec Evans ring any bells for you?

  • Wait, What?

    @topryder - how is what you have written any less foolish than what you believe JimEd wrote? Come on, son - your onecitidiot is showing...

  • Anonymous, Too

    ""Fenty took care of his volunteers and Vince did not."

    "Susan, does the name Alec Evans ring any bells for you?"

    ....Or Neil Richardson?

    Fenty was a lightweight and in over his head. He's history. Time to move on.

  • RealDC

    LOL- All are crooks and throw all the bums out! Gray and Fenty both hired sorry MoFos and both suck. Fenty got Bowser in office, the worse move ever. Bowser has no regard for residents of ward 4, half of the ward was out of power for 5+ days and her sorry a$$ was in ward 3 marching in a parade while residents in Shepherd Park, Takoma, Colonial Village, Crestwood, 16 th street heights was begging for electric crews to restore power!! Yes, Bowser was giving out balls and talking with Tom Sherwood while ward 4 was throwing out food and sweating like race horses! And she wants to be mayor, oh hell to the NO! Thanks Fenty, she is the worse! Ward 4 hates Bowser!! We just can't get anybody to run against her.....damn shame.
    Go Wells! Go Orange! Go away Bowser! Even Cheh skipped the parade because she had residents that were out of power, a parade should not have been priority when your peeps are suffering. God help ward 4, Bowser is the worst!!

  • Ward 4 Voter

    RealDC, why was Muriel marching in the Pallisades parade? She represents Ward 4, not Ward 3.

  • Jim Ed

    Topryder,

    I didn't comment on the job Fenty did one way or another. The face remains that public polling shows people were overall happy with the work Fenty did as mayor, but couldn't stand him personally, thus he was going to lose independant of Gray & co's election hijinks.

    However, I do get to eat a big plate of crow and humble pie for earlier calling the fraud "petty." $650k+!! Whoooooweee, that's some big time money movin! So yes, I owe the blundering nepotists an apology, because when you glaringly committed election and campaign finance fraud in the most auspicious and incompetent way possible, at least you shot for the stars and went for the scrooge mcduck size money silo. I stand corrected.

  • RealDC

    Ward 4 voter

    Because that is what the politicians do in DC when they are planning to run for city wide office. They march in the Palisaides 4th parade. She was campaigning. Meanwhile, the residents of ward 4 were sweating on their stoops, porches, sidewalks etc. Because there was no power in ward 4.

    Ward 4 got no parade but we are glad Bowser enjoyed herself. She is horrible on every level. A parade while your ward suffered under the oppressive heat. Bowser has no self awareness. Thanks Fenty.

  • just sayin

    Bowser is a goldbricker who is selectively responsive to her constituents. Without question she was useless as an ANC in Riggs Park, and although I didn't vote for her, I tried to give her the benefit of the doubt when she was elected to the council. I wish I could reclaim the wasted moments in my life asking her for assistance with anything. While I hope to see her bounced from the Ward 4 council seat, I damn sure don't want her for mayor.

  • JOHN POWELL Sr.

    Todays WP front page article on the mayor's Grey and Fenty's campaigns mess really made me sick to my soul. As one of the participants in 1965-66 with Lonnie King, Carroll Harvey,Donald Benjamin, Leroy Washington, Sam Harris, Channing Phillips, William Lucy, John Wilson, Harry Thomas Sr. etc... In the seperation and establishment of DC from Maryland and Virginia Political Involvement in DC Democratic Politics I have a deep love for this city and my fellow citizens.Now that I am retired and have more time on my hand I am committing myself to three things. 1)asking others to join in a joint effort to restore this beautiful city to its well deserve position of enlighten leadeship. 2)To do this is going to require that all major contracts that required city funds be totaly audited for compliance starting with the last term of mayor Marion Berry forward, providing that the status of limitation are still in place. For example the closing of DC GENERAL HOSPITAL, THE NEW REDSKIN STADIUM, THE 14TH STREET REDEVELOPMENT, THE NEW CONVENTION CENTER ETC..
    3)CURRENT MAYOR AND PAST MAYOR AND CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS REVIEW YOUR RECORDS ,EMAILS ETC. CONSULT WITH YOUR LAWYERS ADVISERS ETC. WHERE IT IS CLEAR THAT YOU HAVE VIOLATED THE SPIRIT OF DC LAW SUBMIT YOU RESIGNATION. AND PAST MAYORS DO NOT RUN AGAIN ITS TIME FOR NEW LEADERSHIP. For those that are interested I can be contacted via email at jpjpowell6@gmail.com. As my favorite MSNBC commentators ED say "LETS GO TO WORK" WE HAVE A CITY TO SAVE.

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