Loose Lips

Gray Unironically Expresses Support for Good Government

Mayor Vince Gray has an odd way of showing his support for good government.

Instead of responding directly to allegations that his 2010 mayoral campaign was a hotbed of corruption illegally funded by a city contractor, Gray had his attorney general draft new legislation aimed at undoing the city's "pay-to-play" culture. Yeah, you read that right: The man whose campaign federal prosecutors say benefited from $700,000 in illegal donations from Medicaid contractor Jeff Thompson wants to make sure there isn't "even the appearance of corruption" in city politics.

Attorney General Irv Nathan already outlined the Gray administration's campaign finance reform proposals earlier this summer, but today he joined the mayor at an awkward news conference to tout the proposed legislation. The mayor wants to block contractors from giving to politicians, prohibit lobbyists from bundling donations, and make candidates more responsible for any wrongdoing that occurs during their campaigns. That last point is especially ironic, as the mayor's limited defense of his campaign has centered on the fact that he was ignorant of any wrongdoing that occurred.

If this feels like a bit of a P.R. stunt, it's because that's exactly what it is. It's not that these proposals are bad; many of them are good ideas, long overdue. It's just that the mayor is the last person on earth who should be proposing them. This is like Harry Thomas Jr. giving management advice to nonprofits.

But neither Gray nor Nathan appeared especially eager to talk irony at today's presser. Instead, the mayor said his proposal should stand on its own merits, and that he was going to make it a top priority to see it pass the D.C. Council. We'll see.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

  • Drez

    Any word on when Gray will return the $700,000 in illegal campaign donations he received?

  • Wait, What?

    Please, Mr. Machen, end this charade. Vince has lost his mind - what little he had to begin with.

  • mizluvsco

    Damn MM & LL: The Lord giveth and The Lord taketh away!!
    But I can't take back those words I spoke regarding Gray's Campaign projections in 2010 on another post, but I will ask where the extra $10's of thousands came from to make you new total $700K.

  • DCDude

    I have to agree with Nana on this. The article itself says the bill is a good idea and long overdue. Alan, you really are starting to become a douche bag.

  • Jane

    The story is newsworthy and would've been reported on anyhow, and I'm willing to bet every other journalist would have made a note about Mayor Gray's ethics issues albeit perhaps in a different tone. But the essence is the same and nobody comes here for dry reporting anyhow.

    Funny how people hate LL for being a political column only where Mayor Gray is concerned. Maybe they're on a (shadow) payroll.

  • AHOOOOOOWAHHH

    @ Jane: Please go find Cheetah and get f*****.
    Maybe it will keep you from being fixated on what you call Gray's "ethics issues". What is it you don't understand about OTHER POLITICIANS WHO ARE ALSO PERCEIvED TO HAVE ETHICS ISSUES.

    Just when LL is trying (though not completely succeeding) to move away from these tedious non-stories about Gray, you and a few others keep beating a dead monkey or ape or chimp (or whatever) to death.

  • Drez

    Gray proposing campaign finance legislation while at the same time benefiting from $700k in ILLEGAL CAMPAIGN DOLLARS is the height of dishonest self serving hypocrisy.
    When is he going to return that $$$?
    Will he do it willingly or wait for Machen to force him to?

  • seeseehpounder

    He must of realized that ridding the city liquor stores of rolling papers and blunts wasn't the PR bump he was looking for.

  • John

    Sounds like a Gray PR trip to help Gray in his future plea bargaining session. If this were from someone else you could look at it fairly. Gray is a self-serving phony with no shame.

  • Wrack

    Actually, a lot of the proposals ARE bad ideas, with loopholes and gaps you could drive a truck through. If they're going to bother with this legislative initiative, they could at least try to do a good job. So aggravating.

  • capitol hill

    This man has no shame

  • http://shawcivic.org Mahdi Leroy J. Thorpe, Jr.

    Gray is moving the city forward while some want him to be distracted - Gray is as smart and as cool as Obama.

  • drez
  • SEis4ME

    IF anyone ever had concerns about Alan's objectivity (or lack thereof)...it all came out in the wash w/this:

    If this feels like a bit of a P.R. stunt, it's because that's exactly what it is. It's not that these proposals are bad; many of them are good ideas, long overdue. It's just that the mayor is the last person on earth who should be proposing them.

    So, Alan, the journalist some believe is "right" in his all-out assault on Gray, believes this is a PR stunt not because of it's "timing" nor the "substance." Oh no, that would be too much like right. Alan believes it's a PR stunt because Gray is the "last person who should be proposing them."

    In what world does this sort of logic reside? It's a done deal..Alan lives in Bizarro World.

  • SEis4ME

    Gray is no Obama. Obama returned the cash

    Thank god he's not. I trust him more.

  • drez

    I trust him more
    So long as he stays bought, right?

  • nowaitadaminit

    drez, now you know damn well any politician that comes through Chicago is bought and OWNED by machine. I'm glad the brother made it, but the truth is the light of the world.

  • nowaitadaminit

    ...bought and OWNED by the Daly machine.

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