Depends What Your Definition of “Campaign” Is
Another day, another piece of bad news on the front page of the Washington Post for Mayor Vince Gray. Today, the Posties report that Gray's 2010 mayoral campaign kept a database of public housing residents, "which appears to be an unauthorized use of private government information."
The mayor tells the paper he was unaware of any such database and wouldn't have needed one to help booster his get-out-the-vote effort because his "long-standing personal relationships with many community leaders in public housing allowed me to connect directly with people in these neighborhoods."
Backing up the mayor is former campaign aide (and ex-DCRA boss) Lloyd Jordan, who gave the Post this humdinger of a quote: "The campaign is not responsible for everything that everyone does."
LL caught up with Jordan today, who explained that the point he was trying to make was that there needs to be a bright line between the actions of the Gray campaign and the possibly illegal activity of its supporters.
The same point, Jordan says, applies to the vast $650,000 "shadow campaign" the feds detailed when longtime Gray associate Jeanne Clarke Harris pleaded guilty to campaign fraud charges a few weeks ago.
Jordan, who handled field operations for the campaign and has been the only high-level campaign aide to speak out in defense of Gray since Harris' guilty plea, says there were several independent individuals and groups out helping the mayor during the campaign, including the government employees and teachers unions, as well as developer Don Peebles. Rather than a "shadow campaign," Harris could have been part of an independent group that didn't file the paperwork required by law, Jordan says. And that's a mistake, he says, that can't be put on the mayor, just as if any other independent group hadn't filed their campaign finance reports.
"How are you going to give that responsibility to the mayor?" Jordan says. "I think all we're doing now is playing Monday-morning quarterback with a sinister overload."
Photo by Darrow Montgomery