Loose Lips

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

  • Name

    Jordon is wrong.

    Maybe you can get away with a couple of minor incidents by low level staff (paying canvassers $100 instead of $50). However, there's no way you're not responsible for multiple major criminal events by multiple senior people in your campaign.

  • Truth hurts

    So that's gonna be one city's story, huh? He met with thompson and knew agreed to thompson running a shadow campaign, but thought it was being done via a pac. Clever cover story

    Sorta like peebs' shadow campaign pac.

    One problem, though. Both Peebs and Thompson coordinated their efforts with Gray's lpeeps. And that, folks, is illegal.

  • @SamuelMoore

    The Gray campaign would have had to file reports if it new there were independent expenditures being made...

  • RealDC

    Jordan has a point.

    The Green lovers need to get over the fact that Fenty lost!!

    Please review Fenty's campaign records because Fenty had some questionable characters working on his.

  • Rob A

    Gray was going to win the election with out the shady stuff. He has gotten the budget under control. Name a politician in DC that had a number of public housing units that didn't cort them. Look you better recognize that Ward 8, 7 and 5 had huge turnout last election. It caught the DC powerbrokers who backed Fenty off guard. Watch them try to suppress the votes in these wards next time around. If Gray steps down we will have the will of the people negated and the Federal City Council,and Wards 2 and 3 will have their White mayor. Thats what they have always wanted and if they say it isn't true they are all damnable liars.

  • hymesb

    There is plausible deniability in this world. Gray passed from plausible to improbable to damn near impossible deniability.

    There is no way in heck that all of this stuff went on without him knowing. And, if he didn't know...forget it, there is no way he didn't know....unless, well...if he can unscrew his head during campaign meetings. The only thing left to understand is if he asked people....no, it is implausable for him not to have intitiated this stuff.

    If he admitted making a promise to Mr. Brown (Suliumon..sp?) directly, whether it was for a job...or just and interview (hey right)then it stands to reason that he made other "commitments". What is the chance that people who invest 685G didnt also have "commitments" from Mr. Gray. Was that million dollar pay-off to Mr. Thompsons company just a coincedence? I think we are just waiting on him to plead bargin and come clean.

    Maybe Gray is bidding his time waiting for Mr. Peebles to put some money is an account for him...in exchange for him not ratting all the big players out. Gray is the Mayor...but he isnt rich. I think Gray is holding out until he gets some "commitments" himself. He will do a couple years and go to the bank for his retirement fund. That is the only thing that makes sence here. Because there is no way in Heck that this ends with Vince Gray.

  • Ward 5 Registered Voter

    Call this the Vincent Orange defense. When questioned about his money orders from Thompson, Harris, and Co. he said he didn't review the checks and he didn't know about it, although he agreed they were suspicious. The defense is, I can't be expected to follow all this stuff. We just cash the checks, we don't ask questions.

    As Name points out in the first post, that defense might work for a few contributions, but not when the $653K amounts to ~one third of all the money you raised. That's a lot of questions not to ask. It's either incompetence, willful blindness, or fraud and the lines that blur once it starts.

    One other thing. This isn't about Fenty. This is about moving on and establishing better governing practices. Gray sold himself as a different kind of politician who would end the corruption, what I recall as ambulances for small Caribbean nations and development contracts for frat brothers. Just because everybody takes campaign cash from Thompson doesn't negate the fact that he put up $650K to Gray and then got a multimillion dollar settlement from the City. It looks bad because it is bad. Any honest observer would call that corruption and graft on a large scale. When you add in the fact that the intent of the scale of the impact on the election, regardless of what view you take on the actual impact, since Fenty was toast according to many Gray advocates, the intent of the actions can only be viewed as enormous, willful fraud of the democratic, voting process. It's a f**king outrage and there isn't enough outrage about it.

    We all hear that completely tired phrase, "take full responsibility." In this case, when Gray takes full responsibility for his campaign's action which have severely undermined the democracy of our city, he will resign. There are other people besides him who can continue the values of One City that he campaigned on. Other people can continue to make sure the progress of the city is extended to all of its residents and that in the rush to implement dog parks, bike lanes, and trolleys for newer, whiter, wealthier residents, we don't forget that unemployment, incarceration, AIDS, schools, bus service, nutrition, poverty, mental health problems, housing, and a lot of other frankly more important issues demand our attention and moral responsibility. It is worth noting that while Fenty may have alienated people he shifted the focus of the city away from the signature achievement of the second Williams administration - bringing the Washington Nationals to the city and building them a stadium -- to spending one billion dollars fixing up the schools and focusing the attention of the city government on improving education. I can recall hearing for years about how the schools were not opening on time because of dirty bathrooms and no AC and mold and leaky roofs and falling ceiling tiles or because kids didn't have textbooks. During Fenty we got the focus onto our kids. With Gray we elected someone we hoped would make sure everyone was included in the city's progress. It is sad that he screwed up so bad on the way. He is responsible for his campaign and the fraud that was committed. He should resign so we can get on with the work we all need to do. He doesn't see it yet because he is too proud. I'm sure it hurts because it is not the campaign he intended to run, but it was the campaign he ran. It is what he either allowed to happen, was willfully blind to, was too incompetent to have seen, understood, and comprehended, or knew about, aided and abetted, approved, and now attempts to plausibly deny. We deserve better. Even the Gray supporters who are with Gray are too proud to let go, who only see The Plan at work. You are losing the most, because in defending the indefensible you cheapen One City and the demands for economic fairness and social justice that were inherent in the criticism of Fenty.

    We just witnessed the same thing in Ward 5. People didn't want to believe it, couldn't believe it, wanted to stand by Thomas. But the evidence was crushing. The motorcycle, the trips, the kids' money that he stole and wasted on himself. Think of the $653,000 like Harry Thomas' motorcycle. You can't rationalize it or explain it away as some kind of PAC. It was an illegal sum of money that is astounding, an almost unbelievable level of fraud that makes you gasp. It is time to take responsibility for it.

    No doubt there will be a delay. There was a delay with Thomas and Kwame Brown too. Until the end when there was no other option, they delayed, proclaimed their innocence, stated that more information would be forthcoming, that they would be vindicated. Gray and his supporters will make us wait, but in doing so they dishonor our city. We should not have to wait for it to all play out, for Mr. Machen to take it all to the bitter end. We know enough already. Focus on this word: Fraud. Our democracy cannot be so cheapened. If you commit electoral fraud on such a grand scale you cannot serve. It is time to take responsibility.

  • joan

    @Ward 5 Registered Voter, you could not have said it any better and neither can anyone else! Thank you.

  • Drez

    Wow, Ward 5. Nice.

  • seDCdude

    "It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat"

    ONE city

  • goldcoastkid

    Drip drip drip. It's over Vince.
    Get lost

  • Praise Bad Expect Good

    I would encourage everyone to work on a campaign and see exactly how things work. When your a candidate who wakes up at 5am and pretty much works all day going to events, knocking on doors, etc etc, you honestly dont have time to micro-manage all of the other people. Thats why you put people in positions to handle those responsibilities and trust they make the right decisions.

    Your campaign manager and fundraising coordinators are usually the ones who know most about the donations and/or events where people will donate and things of that nature.

    @Name said you can possibly get away with paying a worker $50 over they base pay, but honestly stuff like that is why there is shady activity going on.

    DC has to let things slide, or cut all criminal outlets off as a whole.

  • umis habit hummm

    @Ward5: Understand your bitterness, not clear on whether or not you believed Thomas was innocent. Not really important at this point. Are you opposed to having the Fenty 2010 campaign undergo the same scrutiny the Gray 2010 campaign is receiving?

    Will have more time to digest the rest of these posts later today to determine if my statement is sound.

  • mizluvsco

    Goldcoastkid you probably live there because of your parents or your grandparents. That is exactly how you come across: As a Kid. In my day you also could have been referred to as a DRIP.

    Grow Up and comeback when you have something substantive to say. Or better still: 'Get Lost.'

  • KeepInItReal

    Now, more than ever before, I stand behind the Mayor.

    The medias attempt undermine our electoral process will fail.

    Outside a recall election or formal charges and a conviction by the U.S. Attorney, there is NO reason for the mayor to resign.

    In America, most of us still believe in due process and the Constitution.

  • RUKidding

    Gray's son, Carlos Gray, works for Housing. Do I need to say more? But I will. The nexus is Carlos. And, this is how those private records were obtained. I'm shaking my head.

  • KeepInItReal

    Who gives a shit, it ain't hard to get private information. Nothing is private anymore people. I can spend $20.00 and find out all I ever wanted to know about you online. Get over it! Welcome to America.

  • umis habit hummm

    KIIR: There are more and more of us joining the 'sick of it' bandwagon. I even sense it from some of the really hardcore Feinty Fentyites. Not so sure it isn't because they really don't want an investigation of his campain which would have to happen if the Gray campaign issues remain on the front burners.

  • Truth hurts

    I hear that Lloyd Jordan questioned where money was coming from to pay for certain activities being run through the campaign office. Then one city called him and said don't worry, it's paid for .....

    Remember that Lloyd? Have you told the feds yet? Might wanna keep a low profile imo.

  • Ward 5 Registered Voter

    @Umis You project bitterness onto my post, but the feeling is more outrage, disappointment, and eagerness for honesty and good governance. By all means, let's investigate the Fenty campaign. Let's also look at the Orange, Holmes-Norton, and Mendelson campaigns and their bundled receipts from Thompson. Let's get the facts and expose all of the corruption to the sunlight, which is the best disinfectant. Does this and would this exonerate Gray? Does this change the basic corruption and electoral fraud we have already observed from the Thompson-Gray shadow campaign? Does any bad action by any other bad actor mean that we should not act to preserve the integrity of our democracy from the $653,000 fraud committed by Gray's campaign? I advance that it does not.

    The debate we are having now is about what to do now that we know some of the facts. My standard for resignation has already been met. If Gray loved the city as much as he professes, he would apologize for his role n the defrauding of our democracy and he would step down. Clearly Gray supporters like, KIIR, want to wait until Gray is convicted. But not only to they want to wait to see what the judicial process yields, they distrust the process, accuse it of bias, and some like Rob A advance a conspiracy: The Plan to get a white mayor. But Machen, Holder, and Obama are all black. That Mendelson would take over until a new election is held hardly seems like a big deal. In Ward 5 we had a special election and now we have McDuffie, who is black, and this will very likely be the result city-wide in a special election for Mayor. The fact is that fear-mongering about The Plan is a distraction from what should be our primary goal when it comes to selecting a leader: good governance by a leader who represents the will of the people. In Ward 5, we "got over it" in the right way: we have new, better representation. This is what we need to do on the mayoral level: Raise our standards and demonstrate that we can find honest, competent, engaged leadership that is responsible and accountable.

    Waiting for a conviction is such a waste of time and government potential. If Gray is convicted it will be worse for him and confirmation that his involvement in the electoral fraud was criminal. But we already know that his involvement in the electoral fraud is unacceptable. This is the point that I suggest many people are not getting, especially Gray supporters but also people who who want to be fair and reasonable.

    We have due process and a Constitution which affords citizens protections so that people are not convicted and jailed improperly. These standards do not apply to our opinions and what we decide are moral and acceptable actions in society. We are all free to judge the facts that we currently know and say whether the Mayor deserves our trust and support. And I advance there is no rush to judgment in this arena. That period ended after Sulaimon Brown's accusations and the nepotistic hiring practices had been confirmed. The Mayor's text messages to S. Brown were cause for great concern, but despite the shock of that sorry episode, which, by the way very much undermined Gray's reputation for being fair and the adult in the room, able not only to lead a fractious Council but also a fractious city -- despite the shock, people in the city held back judgment and waited to learn more. More and then some is what we got with the Harris conviction and the revelations about the extent of Thompson's money and the shadow campaign. No, we are not a mob with pitchforks raised. We are respectful citizens exercising our right of free speech. I have just this one voice to contribute to the community discussion that is going on but mine says that the people of the District of Columbia deserve better leadership than Vincent Gray demonstrated as a candidate and sitting Council Chairman. He either allowed and/or participated in electoral fraud on a massive, astounding, unacceptable level and he should resign now and give the city an opportunity to select new leadership. Let Gray follow the advice of his attorney, but let him keep mum as a private citizen. Don't make the city suffer while he manages his legal defense. It is selfish and unbecoming of a true leader.

    So bring on the investigation of the Fenty, Holmes-Norton, Mendelson, Orange and other campaigns. In the meantime we will also await Mr. Machen's next press conference once the criminal information for Lorraine Green and or Jeffrey Thompson is filed. But we should not have to wait for Gray to resign. It is time to take responsibility.

  • umis habit hummm

    At #20: NO, Ward 5, I DID NOT PROJECT BITTERNESS ON YOUR POST!!! Are you saying I had the wrong impression thinking you were expressing bitterness? It's what I get for posting before really digesting what is stated. Will take more time to do so later this evening. Will take a chance and say I'm curious what 'Name' posts regarding
    gentrification. Have to do the Grampa thing right now. Will get back to this later.

  • truth hurts

    ward 5 voter: Agree with basically everything you said above. Thoughtful, fair, well-put.

    You're a new, refreshing voice to this site.

    Not that you'll change hard core opinions of certain posters here, mind you. What's important is that you continue to speak up.

  • nowaitaminit

    truth hurts you are absolutely AMAZING!!!!
    Talk about 'not changing hardcore opinions of certain posters here', who can be more hardcore than you? It is very obvious that truth hurts because you don't even accept OBVIOUS UNQUESTIONABLE truths. The main truth being that Mayor Gray HAS NOT BEEN CHARGED WITH ANYTHING at this time. Another truth being that in the USofA, one is innocent until....(not just charged, not just indicted)....but innocent until proven guilty. Those are two very painful truths for anyone with hardcore opinions about whether or not this city should be figuratively, and we hope, not literally, torn apart by the vindictive media hype upon which some hardcore sorelosers (because truth hurts) thrive.

  • truth hurts

    Contrary to your claim, I accept and agree with both "unquestionable truths" you describe above.

    Now what?

  • tony

    @Ward 5 Registered Voter

    You make a compelling argument; however, your argument misses some key points which simply can’t be ignored.

    The central theme of your argument is that the investigation into Gray’s Mayoral Campaign activities is legitimate and should be permitted to move forward without any challenges.

    Specifically, you suggest that based on what has been discovered and provided to the public by the press, there’s sufficient evidence to condemn Mayor Gray and request his resignation. You also pointed out that Gray’s supporters are doing more harm than good by raising the possibility that the investigation into Gray’s campaign is illegitimate and suspicious. Moreover, you contend that the issue of race has nothing to do with the criminal inquiry into Gray’s campaign and that the investigation is honest and justified.

    Of Course, I take exception to not only the general theme of your argument, but I totally disagree with each and every specific point you made.

    --Sufficient public evidence to seek Gray’s Resignation

    There’s not one single piece of evidence which has been provided to the public that Mayor Gray has violated any campaign laws or any other laws. There’s not one piece of evidence that Mayor Gray orchestrated an elaborate scheme to fund his campaign with unaccounted and unreported cash. There’s not one single piece of evidence that the Mayor directed anyone to do anything during his campaign that was illegal or unethical. There’s not one piece of evidence that he personally lined his pockets with the questioned monies. There’s not one piece of evidence from anyone that Mayor Gray is guilty of knowingly being part of a “shadow campaign”. In fact, there’s not one piece of evidence that MAYOR GRAY even knew of such activities.

    -Gray’s Supporters improper defense

    The Gray supporters have every right to come to the defense of the Mayor they supported when it’s perceived that the attacks on him are politically motivated. The federal investigation into the Mayor’s campaign activities was championed by the white media based on a complaint made by a disgruntled employee—sulaiman Brown.

    The white media namely the Washington Post seized the opportunity to discredit the Mayor whom they vehemently opposed by pressuring the U.S. Attorney’s Office to take a more active role in investigating Suliaman’s complaint.
    The notion that Gray’s victory had nothing to do with the Washington Post and others leading the charge to embarrass the man that defeated their chosen pick are silly. In other words, would have the Post and others sought a federal investigation into Gray’s campaign activities had he lost? Of course NOT. They would have cared less about Suliaman Brown’s complaint.

    Clearly, the calls for the operative investigation and the investigation itself are highly political and suspicious. Thus, the Mayor’s supporters have the right and are right to question an investigation that to date has not produced any evidence that Mayor Gray is culpable in any alleged campaign violations and/or abuses.

    Personally, I believe that there’s a sinister and racist plan to dethrone the Mayor in favor of a white Mayor. This is a belief shared by many African-Americans in this city and this belief is well reasonable given the political history as it relates to black mayors in major cities throughout this country.

    -Investigation into Gray’s Campaign is honest

    Any investigation that is spurred by political and questionable motives could never be seen as honest. The investigation into Mayor’s Gray campaign activities was initiated by a political neophyte who, by his own admission, engaged in shady backroom deals with someone for the sole purpose of personally enriching himself. And, the fact that the investigation was further instigated by an entity that opposed Gray’s mayoral ambitions make the said investigation very suspect and political and anything but honest.

    Moreover, it’s laughable that one would surmise that an investigation is honest when one of the parties involved has admitted to the world that he violated campaigns laws and other laws associated with this particular investigation but has yet to be charged with anything--Sulaiman Brown.

    Finally, the investigation into the Mayor’s campaign activities is in fact political, suspicious and racist. And, the Mayor’s supporters should continue to voice their concerns with an investigation that appears to be very illegitimate and petty.

  • nowaitaminit

    Well stated tony!
    But you forgot something: Mayor Vincent Carlos Gray CALLED for this investigation.

  • Ward 5 Registered Voter


    You state that I am basing my point of view on what has been discovered by the press, but that is not correct. The press, including the City Paper and host to this forum, is certainly a source of information. But the most important source is the U.S. Attorney and judicial proceedings, which have yielded information about the practices of the Gray campaign that provide the public with knowledge it can act on.

    In your view, because Sulaimon Brown is an unreliable witness and the Washington Post is a racist, biased newspaper, everything that has come forth about Gray is politically motivated and therefore not actionable. You are advancing an empty, straw-man argument and mostly ignore the fact that Mr. Machen is the one driving the investigation. You propose that Machen was "pressured" by the white media to investigate. If what you say is true, Mr. Machen, who is black and appointed by our black Attorney General who is appointed by our black President of the United States, would have steered clear of these illegitimate charges had it not been for the white media, but because the white media pressured him, he looked where he would not have ordinarily and found some stuff was going on by senior campaign staff that wasn't really by the books but not really so bad, so ordinarily he would not have conducted a vigorous investigation and bothered to file any charges, but because of the pressure by the white media, he pursued it like it was really bad and has obtained convictions for illegal acts, all the while ignoring the really bad stuff that the Fenty campaign was doing.

    If you believe that it is hard to have a meaningful discussion, because it's so far removed from reality. The truth is that there is not a racist conspiracy. Machen is doing his own thing, which for a prosecutor is usually a combination of the job and ambition. Gray's illegal campaign, because of its stupid deal with Mr. Brown, who would not shut up after he didn't get the job he was promised, became exposed and, the U.S. Attorney decided to take action based on the information that it obtained. You try to make it seem like Sulaimon Brown is a party to the racist conspiracy you attempt to conjure, but he really is part of the Gray campaign that has merely malfunctioned. The Gray campaign tried to harness his volatile energy. Gray's texts to Brown show his attempts to contain the radioactivity. In the end, Brown burned his handlers. Now Gray's supporters would use a legal tactic to argue that because Brown deceived the public at the candidate forums as he was paid to do by the Gray campaign that nothing he says can be trusted. The only problem with that tactic is that the U.S. Attorney checked out his story and found major parts of it added up. He's a weird dude who wears sunglasses indoors, but he got paid by Gray's team just like he said he did.

    You also advance the argument that because Gray has not yet been charged and he has not yet been specifically connected to the grand scheme that the evidence is insufficient to call for his resignation. That's a fair point and one where you and I disagree. My standard for the proper behavior and accountability for the city's Mayor is higher than yours. If you need greater clarity on why that is, you can reread my earlier posts but in short, Gray either knew about some or most of what went on and is a very corrupt individual, or he didn't know and surrounded himself with criminals who led him down a path towards astounding acts of corruption which debase the democracy of our city. Either way he is unqualified to lead and either way he was and is still the leader of his campaign and must take responsibility for the terrible acts it committed.

  • tony

    Your efforts to defend the indefeasible are really getting to the point of being silly.

    You have come before the public to argue that a sitting Mayor of the Nation’s Capital should be removed from office based on allegations that he may have engaged in criminal conduct during his Mayoral Campaign.

    You justify your stance by pointing out that ‘the U.S. Attorney and judicial proceedings, … have yielded information about the practices of the Gray campaign that provide the public with knowledge it can act on’. Yet, you have not identified what information was gleaned from such inquiries to justify removing Mayor Gray from office. Again, there’s not any evidence whatsoever that Mayor Gray engaged in any campaign wrongdoing, period.

    Secondly, you argue that the investigation into Gray’s campaign is free of any political and/or subjective motives. However, it’s clear that the Gray’s investigation was spurred by a minor political player in Suliaman Brown and a major political player named the Washington Post, who teamed up to launch an assault against the Gray’s Administration.

    Moreover, your point that the U.S. Attorney’s Office would have initiated an investigation into suliaman’s complaint absence of the Washington Post insistence is very speculative. Who knows what the attorney’s office would have done inference to suliaman’s complaint. I don’t have a crystal ball and nor do you.

    Furthermore, your core argument is downright insulting. You contend that even if the Mayor was not directly involved in committing any campaign violations, the fact that his campaign was associated with Suliaman Brown is sufficient to request that the Mayor be removed from office. Because as you stated ‘my standard for the proper behavior and accountability for the city's Mayor is higher than yours.’ Oh, really! Sorry to inform you but “your standard” is not the standard one is to use to strip a sitting Mayor of his job. How arrogant!

    Using your crazy argument, should we not require every police chief to resign from office when one of his cops runs afoul of the law? Should we not require a CEO to resign from his post when one of his employees commits a criminal act while on the job? Should we not require a School Boss to resign from office when a school teacher abuses a student? Should we not require a congressman or senator to resign from office when one of their staffers commits a wrongful act? You see this sort of McCarthyism of guilt by association is so unfair and silly.

    The fact remains that Mayor Gray is the sitting Mayor of the Nation’s Capital and he is doing a great job. Moreover, no one has presented any evidence against the Mayor to justify cancelling the votes of tens of thousands of black voters by removing him from office.

  • Ward 5 Registered Voter


    I did not say that Gray should be removed from office. I said that as an honorable person and leader who takes responsibility for the crimes committed by his campaign, he should resign and allow our city to move out from the shadow of the stain created by the very serious electoral fraud that has been committed. If he doesn't resign, at some point the issue of removal will come to the fore. I do not know how D.C. law provides for impeachment, but I am sure there is a process. I imagine the Council will wait for Machen to complete more of his work before taking action. What I am saying is that Gray should spare us the cost of time while we wait for the investigation to be completed. He should take responsibility now and step down.

    I have consistently identified the information that justifies that Gray should resign: it is the $653,000 in illegal campaign money. It is not Gray's association with Sulaimon Brown. You are the one who is obsessed with that connection. Brown is merely the scab that got picked off that showed us the pus and the wound underneath.

    My standard for calling for resignation is not crazy, nor arrogant. Sometimes police chiefs do resign when there are problems in the force. It's called taking responsibility for what you are in charge of. It's not every case; it's a question of judgment, how serious were the problems, how much the role of the leader has been compromised. We just saw this dynamic at work in the case of Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan after the Columbia prostitute scandal. After some dicey Congressional hearings, he maintained the confidence of the President and Congress and survived the inquiry. But Indianapolis Police Chief Paul Ciesielski resigned this April after questions of competence were raised about the handling of a blood sample. The Superintendent of Schools in Atlanta resigned in 2011 after questions were raised about her leadership following a standardized-test cheating scandal. If anything public officials do not resign often enough when their judgment, character, capacity to lead, honesty or other important attributes have been compromised. In this case, I believe that the extent of the corruption and the scale of the electoral fraud is so great that Gray's election has been tainted. As I have stated several times he is either a knowing participant in the crime or he was clueless about the massive fraud that went on in his name, both of which are unacceptable for continued service as Mayor.

    It is certainly possible to take a differing view. I viewed WRC-TV anchor Jim Vance's commentary yesterday where he said the Mayor should not resign, -- yet. However, Vance said the Mayor needs to speak openly about the campaign and tell the public what he knows about the illegal activities, and not follow the advice of his attorney to remain silent. I'm not sure how long Jim Vance will be willing to wait for the Mayor to explain what happened. If the Mayor did speak up, it's not clear how many people with Vance's view would accept the Mayor's explanation or would then call for his resignation.

    So there are differing opinions about how to react to this crisis. We are all struggling to deal with the situation. Is it arrogant to arrive at my point of view, to want the Mayor to step aside so we can move on? You accuse me of arrogance because I hope the Mayor takes responsibility for the serious crimes committed by his campaign. But is it arrogance to desire a better democracy and accountability? Is it arrogant to be outraged at the willful undermining of our city's democracy? It is not. Instead, it is sad that you find my motivations insulting. You should save your disapproval for the actions of Howard Brooks, Eugenia Harris, Lorraine Green, Sulaimon Brown, Jeffrey Thompson, and Mayor Gray, who are the ones who have let the city down, violated our trust, and placed the city in a crisis. Their actions were arrogant, selfish, and reckless. You are simply too loyal to acknowledge these facts.

  • tony

    I stand firmly by my position that the Mayor should not resign or be removed from office based on the allegations concerning campaign fraud. And let’s be very clear that we are talking about allegations and nothing but.

    Again, there's no evidence that Mayor Gray, the person, has engaged in campaign wrongdoing, whatsoever. The idea that he should resign from office, as a means of answering for the wrongdoing of others, whose actions may or may not have influenced the election is complete non-sense. Especially, if the Mayor had no knowledge of their activities and there's no evidence that he did.

    Usually, people take responsibility for actions that they are directly responsible for. In this case, you are suggesting that the Mayor take responsibility for other people actions regardless of their motives and/or intentions.

    While, you professed that there are cases where public officials have been held accountable for the actions of their administration, you have failed to show how such examples relate to the case at hand. In each of three examples you cited all involved public officials who were held accountable for actions within their respective administrations where it were shown that such conduct and/or practices were "systemic". In the instant case, there are serious questions whether the Mayor was even aware of the efforts of those convicted.Thus, your analogy analysis is baseless.

    Moreover, you offer a rather interesting philosophical reason for why the Mayor should step down absence of any evidence that he committed any wrongdoing of any kind. You suggested that if the Mayor step down the “stain” hovering over the city will evaporate and the image of the city will immensely improve. I find this to be just silly. Whatever stain that’s existing over this city was not created by the Mayor. It was created by those who wish he was never elected. It was created by certain forces whose motives are very disingenuous. It was created by an investigation that to date has yielded very little results.

    Let me also be clear that I am not insulted by anything you have said or will say. In fact, I doubt very serious if you could think of anything to insult me.

    Additionally, I am no more upset with those few black people convicted of petty campaign violations than I am with the public misconduct of Jim Graham and Jack Evans who plied their trade on my dime. However, they remain in office and calls for investigations into their corporate and personal misdeeds are nowhere to be found.

    Finally, you talked in an idealistic way about the need for the city to move forward and the Mayor resigning from office would go a long way in accomplishing this fantasy. Exactly, who you are speaking for is unclear.

    There are a lot of us who believes the city is doing just great. There are a lot of us who believes that the Mayor is doing just great.

    Indeed, we still believe in Mayor Gray. We still believe in that black man who rose from stifling poverty to attend one of the most premiere universities in the nation. We still believe in that black man who dedicated over 20 years of his life working on behalf of the poor, disenfranchised and forgotten. We still believe in that native son from the Southside of DC, who rose to become the Mayor of our Nation’s Capital. Yes, we still believe in Mayor Vincent Gray.

  • nowaitaminit


  • seDCdude

    ward 5


  • Ward 5 Registered Voter


    You exposed your real point of view by stating that "I am no more upset with those few black people convicted of petty campaign violations than I am with the public misconduct of Jim Graham and Jack Evans who plied their trade on my dime." In your view the electoral fraud is merely "petty campaign violations." That says it all. In your view, it's no big deal. How can you fail to see and acknowledge that the violations are serious and not petty? You are blind to the truth. You also bring race into the issue again. It was noticeable that you didn't include Michael Brown or Vincent Orange in your list of people who have plied their trade on your dime.

    But, let me address your latest argument/excuse for doing nothing: what about Jim Graham and other D.C. politicians who are under investigation? Should they resign too? What is the standard for our public disapproval? And, is my standard racist, that is, is resignation recommended for black politicians but not white ones?

    Jim Graham's Chief of Staff, Ted Loza, was convicted of bribery. Graham refused to take money that Loza wanted him to, but he failed to report the crime to authorities. I think Graham was close to losing public confidence, at that point. But should he have resigned? He certainly could have and I would have welcomed it. But would I have taken the time to demand it, to type out a post on this online City Paper forum? Was I outraged enough, did I feel his failure to report Loza's crime fundamentally threatened the democracy of our city and had created an unacceptable level of corruption? I did not. Now Jim Graham himself is under investigation for improperly influencing real estate deals related to Metro properties and for his involvement, along with Jack Evans and then Council Chair Gray, in the award of the D.C. Lottery contract. Hopefully Mr. Machen's team will be engaged in these investigations if he isn't already. If these investigations reveal serious wrongdoing, which is very possible, especially in the case of the real estate investigation involving Graham, then resignations should be announced by Graham and/or Evans. Will failure to do so cause the same level of resistance from people in the city? No, it will not. Why? Because Graham and Evans are not mayor and because corruption related to land deals and government vendor contracts are not the same as electoral fraud. Gray is the city's executive, and like the President of the United States is held to a higher standard than Congress members, Mayor Gray receives more scrutiny than Councilmembers. Most of all, however, the electoral fraud that was committed is so outrageous and so damaging to the central function of our democracy that it cannot be overlooked or ignored. It gets many more people, although obviously not you, to be concerned about their government. You can say this is a racist point of view, but you would be wrong. As I mentioned above, you fail to include black Councilmembers Michael Brown or Vincent Orange in your list. Brown's receipt of campaign contributions from online gaming interests which he supported and Orange's receipt of large amounts of bundled donations from Jeffrey Thompson place them in the same company as Graham and Evans as persons of interest who the public should be evaluating currently. None of these issues are petty, and all should be investigated thoroughly. We want more sunlight. But none of these cases rival the electoral fraud committed by Gray's campaign.

    Your requirement that Gray's failure to oversee and thwart the criminal activity of his campaign must be "systemic" is laughable. You initially called me crazy and arrogant for suggesting that someone in Gray's position resign for failure to lead. When I documented just a few cases to show you that public officials do resign, you then invented a requirement that the failure and practices be "systemic". There is no such requirement. The only requirement is that the failure be profound enough to cause the official to sufficiently lose the confidence of the people he or she serves. That has certainly happened in the case of Mayor Gray. But then, even using your own invented standard, Gray's campaign meets it and exceeds it. His campaign was awash in $653,000 in illegal money that paid for T-shirts, vans and salaries and other basic campaign expenses. Seems pretty systemic to me.

    Your next straw-man argument is claiming falsely that I said if the Mayor steps down the stain over the city will evaporate and the image of the city will immensely improve. If Gray resigns it will help us move forward, but it's going to take time to get over it. You say the stain was created by those who wish Gray was never elected. Please explain. I sense more conspiracy theory coming. But it will help other readers to understand more about your point of view if you write a few paragraphs about that. I dare you. Then your next line is another whopper, akin to your statement that the convictions already obtained are "petty campaign violations," namely that "the investigation has yielded very little results." The investigation has yielded results that are shocking and enormous. Your statement is willful blindness, obfuscation, desperation, born from denial. Reading on in your post I understand more where this is coming from. You believed and still believe in Mayor Gray. He rose from poverty you say. He attended a good school, and dedicated 20 years to working for the poor, disenfranchised and forgotten. These are great achievements which I and everyone in the city acknowledge. But then he f***ed up big time, either participating in or being oblivious to criminal activity so brazen, so dangerous to our democracy, that he is now disgraced, a fallen hero. It is sad, but history is filled with such stories.

    This seems like a good time to bring in seDCdude, who kindly offered his view that I am a damn fool. But before that empty post, he offered a more thoughtful post, quoting an author who laid critics, -- like me, right seDCduce?, -- low, while extolling the virtues of the strong man, the doer of deeds. Gray, in this parable, is the doer, the strong man. He has stumbled, his face is marred by dust and sweat and blood. Following his great devotions, Gray aspires to the triumph of high achievement, and while he dares greatly and may fail, his place shall never be with the cold and timid souls, those critics, like me, who know neither victory or defeat.

    I admit I was affected by this, in the same way that I am affected by tony's appreciation for Gray's rise as a native son from the the Southside. Clearly Gray is loved by many and is deserving of that love for his past work. But seDCdude, you should love Rome more. Because like you, I am a citizen, not a critic. I am in the arena like all my fellow citizens. And when I vote my one vote at my Ward 5 precinct I am a doer of deeds and my face is marred by as much sweat and blood as Mayor Gray or any representative of my and our government. These politicians represent us, the people, and when they abuse our trust and especially when they violate the very basic foundations of our democracy they shall not feel the triumph of high achievement, but they shall know the despair of the fallen.

    It is time to take responsibility.

  • nowaitaminit

    Ward5RV: Your idealistic diatribe is very touching; however, there is no example of all (or even most abusers)who have 'felt the triumph of high achievement knowing the despair of the fallen'. In fact, just the opposite is true except in rare instances, eg., Nixon, Blogdonvich, the other Governors crooked, etc. The vast majority of politicians: local, national and international who have triumped to high achievement never know the despair of the fallen except when they have to step down and become plain old citizes again.

    In the real world, W5RV all the responsibility and accountability in the world will not change the way things are and always will be. Mayor Vincent Gray's situation is just a drop of ink in a water tower full of milk. If you truly believe abusive politicians represent you, me or all of the people as they should, you are delusional. The majority of them don't give a D***. They represent special interests you and I don't even know about. There is absolutely no reason for Vince Gray to step down because of how YOU have been affected. This entire city would suffer (if not the entire nation) if the man caved in because of that delusional thinking.

  • seDCdude

    and allow me to repeat it......WARD 5, YOU ARE A DAMN FOOL!

  • Ward 5 Registered Voter


    Fair point that unfortunately many politicians get away with corruption. I got into the spirit of seDCdude's poetry and you caught my hopeful figure of speech. I should have said, "and may they know the despair of the fallen." But it's certainly the way it should be. Is an over-abundance of political corruption and the dearth of accountability for it any reason to advance more lowest-common-denominator, ain't-ever-gonna-change-it thinking? To just accept it? That certainly seems to be the perspective of some Gray supporters, many who seem almost proud of what went down, that Gray and his team got the better of a pugilistic contest where pesky campaign laws are mostly just scolds from a ref that really shouldn't interfere with a good bout.

    Contrary to your defeatist attitude, in the real world, change takes time. Civilization used to operate on a might makes right basis. Emperors and kings ruled the Earth and the injustice of that distribution of power was evident everywhere. The French and American Revolutions ushered in some very new ideas about power, namely natural law and individual rights, which has pretty much overtaken the divine right of kings, although a few monarchs still rule on our planet. Of course even in our Enlightened nation's history we started out as a country which permitted slavery and offered the right to vote only to white, male owners of property, so the changeover was anything but ideal. Nonetheless, now slavery is against the law and we have universal suffrage for people over the age of 18. Overall, I would call that progress. You?

    When it comes to political corruption our society is evolving too. Where Tammany Hall-style corruption used to be more the norm, laws have been passed to prevent vote buying, intimidation and other harmful tactics. Since Nixon's fall and the exposure of the exploits of the Committee to Re-Elect the President, federal campaign laws have been reformed and we have seen the emergence of campaign finance laws to prevent money, especially secret money, from playing too large a role in our elections. The intent of those laws has been to attempt, and I say merely attempt, to create a fair playing field for elections. These changes have formed part of our effort to create a more perfect union and are changes to a system that has only been operating for a few hundred years. Will these changes enable democracy in America, Washington, D.C. and other places to prevent corruption and punish politicians who abuse the laws? Certainly not if we don't enforce laws, just turn a blind eye, or passively allow and approve illegal actions if they aid a favored candidate or party.

    In the case of the 2010 election, the Gray campaign partnered with a corporation named Jeffrey Thompson and violated the campaign laws of the District of Columbia. Not in small, petty ways, but in big, astounding ways that violate the basis of a fair, electoral system. I keep saying that of course, but in case the importance of that effect isn't clear, if the basis of fair elections goes in a democracy, there isn't much legitimacy to the whole system.

    So democracy is a work in progress but it's worth protecting and if history serves as a guide, it is possible to make improvements, although change may take place across the span of many lifetimes. Please let me know if you take issue with any of this summary. I agree that politicians do not represent people the way they should and that they represent special interests that we don't know about. Those shortcomings of our society do not then yield a basis for your conclusion that there is no reason for Mayor Gray to resign.

    You claim that that the city would suffer if Gray resigned. That's true. We would suffer a destabilizing period without mayoral leadership, we would lose Vincent Gray's many talents as a politician, and as many Gray supporters have argued, those who voted for Gray will be deprived of his representation. Unfortunately, this suffering is the tragic cost to overcome the crisis of confidence created by the reckless actions of Gray and his campaign. If Gray remains, we will suffer the leadership of a tarnished mayor. The opportunity costs of this period while we wait for the next election are enormous. Most of all, we will suffer the indignity of having a Mayor who is responsible for electoral fraud and we suffer because our democracy was damaged but not repaired. The latter is far worse and is unacceptable.

    I am not the only citizen affected, nor is my thinking delusional. Every citizen has been affected. Democracy in our city as a whole has been violated. The electoral fraud committed by the Gray campaign is outrageous, and Gray himself refuses to say anything other than it was not the election he intended to run because to say more might enhance his personal, legal jeopardy. His campaign was completely out of control and his involvement in it, no matter how much he did or did not know, makes his leadership untenable. It is time for him to take responsibility and step down as Mayor.

  • Anonymous, Three

    Democracy deems it Vince Gray's right to remain innocent until PROVEN GUILTY. For God's sake, W5RV, the man hasn't even been charged. To expect him to step down under such circumstances is the real violation of the Democracy of which you speak. His only responsibility is to uphold the oath of office he WON inspite of the obstacle course you and other 'myopic twits' place before him.