Loose Lips

The Thin Blue T-Shirt Line

As part of her guilty plea yesterday to campaign corruption charges, Jeanne Clarke Harris admitted that she helped funnel money to a $635,000 shadow campaign that helped Mayor Vince Gray win the 2010 election. The money was spent on, among other things, buying campaign materials like yard signs, door knockers, and T-shirts. In court records, prosecutors wrote that these materials included many items "bearing logos, graphics, and designs identical to those" used by Gray's official campaign.

On the T-shirts, it turns out, a better descriptor would have been "almost identical, but not quite."

According to campaign aides, who asked not to be identified because of the ongoing federal investigation, the official Gray for Mayor T-shirts that volunteers and aides wore during the early part of the campaign were white with blue lettering.

And then aides noticed something odd: "Suddenly, blue ones started cropping up," says one aide.

These blue ones looked like the original white T-shirts, but with a slightly different font (with serifs, where the white ones were without). See for yourself in the picture above. Here's another picture of a Gray rally just before the primary. Notice how the blue shirts are slightly different from the white ones:

Another Gray aide says field workers who he knew weren't working for the official Gray campaign often wore the blue T-shirts. Court records show the shadow campaign purchased 5,000 T-shirts on Aug. 5, 2010, for $22,891. A week before the primary, the shadow campaign bought another 1,500 T-shirts for $10,530.82.

Later on, the campaign started making blue shirts of its own, which mirrored the font used by the white original, an aide says. See for yourself in this picture from Gray's victory party:

Vince Gray Shadow Campaign Had Blue T-Shirts

Top two photos via Gray for Mayor; bottom photo by Darrow Montgomery

  • Ward One Resident

    So did the Gray aides who noticed these different t-shirts ask about it? Clearly they thought it was strange enough to specifically remember it two years later.

    Whether or not Gray himself knew, at this point who knows, but you can't tell me that high-ranking folks in the official campaign didn't know that something was going on. You suddenly don't just have thousands of extra shirts, signs, door hangers, etc. without official campaign staff not noticing.

  • Mr.Remember

    You mean this boils down to a Fashionista type of revelation. WTF??? Are the shirts collector's items now? This shirt-gate episode is a sad state of affairs for DC. If this ain't some ol-family reunion bull-sugar over some darn tee-shirts, c-mon this is literally materialistic...cotton tee-shirts. OMG, forget about establishing STEM-focused schools, why hell, just open up programs that can design tee-shirts at our local schools.

  • Karim Ofsum-yun-guy

    Keep dreaming people. Vince ain't going nowhere. the man is innocent.

  • Karim Ofsum-yun-guy

    focus on fenty, skinner and moten. What ever happened to the money fenty gave his buddy moten? what about the thousands that skinner and falcecchio kept.

  • BW


    If Gray is innocent he is also incompetent.

  • Tom

    C'mon people, we are talking about campaign monies here, the t-shirt means nothing its how the t-shirt was purchased that means everything. The Dems set campaign disclosure laws into place and tried to prosecute every member of the GOP they could in the 90's. Now, it has blown up in a big way and they are finding that they can't have it both ways. I hope they nail this disaster of a mayor because it is him, his followers and the left that are bringing the country down. Our fore-father's would have seen fit to have a crook like him arrested and tossed out of office. Now we get morons that will fight for him simply because he carries a D next to his name instead of an R. Pathetic (now u can rip on my spelling or grammar because u sure can't rip on the content and the meaning to what I have said)

  • N.E. John

    Better get used to the sound of Mayor Mendo

  • N.E. John

    Some HEAVY hitters on Gray's teams

  • 1300BLK

    Why does the press keep focusing on the "things" that this money bought? It's the 200k spent on canvassers and drivers, and another 200k on rental vans that is the story.

    Getting maximum voter turn-out in wards 5, 7, and 8 was critical for Gray. Bet you this shadow money is the money that paid for all the "Vote Gray" vans that took people in those wards from parking lots to the voting booth on the promise of $10 grocery store gift cards. Gray had ~300k going into the primary and but was able to spend 400k of Chartered Health $$ on canvassers and drivers and vans to get out the vote in the locations he needed.

    And then Gray pushed for a $32-million increase in Chartered Health's reimbursement rate http://tinyurl.com/78qxwny

    That's big.

  • Typical DC BS

    But Vince didn't know about all this? I'm sure he just turned a blind eye to these odd things (or didn't bother asking any questions or keep up on campaign finances).

    Sure is what I want to hear about our top political figure being on the ball.

  • capitol hill

    One wears a Vincent Orange campaign button. So he was part of this whole fiasco too?

  • Bert

    One City. Two Shirts.

  • Ward 5 DC

    Vince Orange definitely knows about this - I better not see him try to Run either - he is a good administrator but no mayor.

    @Karim - do you have facts on moten or skinner because it sounds like BS - The investigatory committee, which i trsut has more resources than you sound them all not guilty of the charges brought up by none other than Harry Thomas-

    you sound like a salty insider - the jig is up - back to the unemployment line w your boy sulaimon

  • exDC

    With serifs!? PUH-lease!

  • smugmugbug


  • Robert K JenkinsJr

    To Tom who posted comments at 2:26 7/11/12. Please do not mention YOUR forefathers . They supported slavery and did not include women in the political process. Shame on you ! Shame on them!

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