Loose Lips

Feds Asking Questions About VO’s Campaign

Federal authorities this week questioned a former campaign worker for At-Large Councilmember Vincent Orange's 2011 campaign about the campaign's ties to Vernon Hawkins and Jeanne Clarke Harris—two central figures in the ongoing federal investigation into Mayor Vince Gray's 2010 campaign.

The former aide says the FBI was interested in what roles Hawkins and Harris, who pleaded guilty earlier this summer to helping run the alleged shadow campaign, played in Orange's campaign. (The aide would only talk on condition of anonymity, due to the ongoing law enforcement investigation.) LL has previously noted that after he was sworn in, Orange thanked Hawkins for his help on the campaign and called him "one of the top strategists in town." Also, sources saw Harris at Orange's campaign headquarters the day of the 2011 election.

Neither Hawkins or Harris' lawyer could be immediately reached for comment. Orange, who's in Charlotte, N.C., for the Democratic National Convention, did not respond to an email request for comment left last night or a phone call this morning.

It's not clear to what extent the feds are interested in Orange's campaign. A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office declined to comment. But the news does appear to mark a noteworthy expansion of the federal probe into what U.S. Attorney Ron Machen says was an illegal off-the-books "shadow campaign" that helped Gray win the mayoral election. It also underscores the fact that the feds have been actively looking at D.C. politics beyond just the Gray campaign: The FBI is looking into the infamous lottery contract as well as the city's commercial tax office.

The 2011 Orange campaign benefited from a large infusion of cash from D.C. Medicaid contractor and alleged mayoral shadow campaign financier Jeff Thompson and those connected to him. In court, Harris admitted that she made straw donations to the Gray campaign on behalf of her companies, her family, and her friends using Thompson's money. One of Harris' companies and some of her family members who gave to the Gray campaign also gave to Orange's campaign.

Orange has also said that several money orders from Thompson and his associates appear "suspicious." Among those questionable donations were contributions from Thompson's masseur, caterer, and Hollywood producer partner. But Orange has also always maintained that he had no knowledge of any alleged illegality about Thompson-tied donations to his campaign.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

  • tony

    So this article should be a reminder to all you black folks who drank thay white man's cool-aid. They don't give a damn if you are Mayor Gray, Marion Barry or Vincent Orange. They want us out, period.

    Man, I pray and thank God for blessing me where I don't have to depend on the government or that white man. Thank you JESUS!

  • Wrack

    Ah yes. Jesus - the Other White Man.

  • http://twitter.com/monkeyrotica monkeyrotica

    Cue the chorus decrying this as a high-tech lynching.

    Vinnie Citrus needs to ENHANCE HIS INITIATIVE!

  • AHOOOOOOWAHHH

    Ahhh Wrack: News Break: JESUS WAS A MAN OF COLOR BORN ON THE E. MEDITERRANEAN SHORES. YOU KNOW REAALLLL CLOSE TO THE EQUATOR? MELANIN AND ALL THAT STUFF?

  • tony

    @monkeyrotica, you right Vinnie Citrus needs to ENHANCE HIS INITIATIVE.

    He can go right down on K.st where he will find on the corruption he want.

  • Watchdog

    Here's a prediction: Vincent Orange will likely go down like Kwame Brown and Harry Thomas Jr. Them the feds will go after anyone else they believe was near their guilt circle. Muriel Bowser and Yvette Alexander won't get nabbed -- because while not particularly bright or astute, they're at least not crooks.

  • Green Eyeshade

    We need to see some movement on the gott damm grand jury. This is getting ridiculous. If we were in Chicago or New York, news cameras would be lined up outside the door to the grand jury filming every witness who went in and trying to get confessions when they came out. WTF is DOJ public corruption doing with the grand jury here?

    It almost seems like DOJ public corruption can't litigate more than one big case at a time. Feds were scheduled to start a huge trial today on 30 criminal counts against that other Kwame, former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/04/us/trial-set-to-open-for-former-detroit-mayor.html?_r=1

    nice fat photo: http://www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2012/09/04/us/KILPATRICK.html

  • Green Eyeshade

    Why can't the grand jury here in DC get off its ass and indict some people?

  • Really?

    Have the chickens come home to roost?

  • Daddy Grace Fish Sandwich

    Tony, why is everything about race with you? Stop blaming the white man for your bitterness. You are not one happy black man.

    I hope the U.S. Attorney will find some dirt on bull frog and former Pepco pimp At-Large DC Councilmember.

  • StrangeFruit

    TO: Clueless in DC ( Vincent Orange,Michael Brown,Muriel Bowser and Mayor Gray)
    FR: Your Base
    RE: Operation Take Back

    Word on the street is that the media is doing an bang-up job in disenfranchising your African American base. The media knows, it only has to influence a small percentage of African American voters and you guys are out!

    The "take back my country", anti-diversity mantra is also knocking on the doors of the Wilson Bldg and, the media-with it's race-baiting reporting--will ensure the doors are eventually blown off the hinges.

    Your base is wounded and needs wooing, just as y'all have done for the newcomers who feed into the media's bias and will never vote for y'all.

    A disconnect from your base will ensure a disconnect from dais.

  • StrangeFruit

    "from the dais"

  • recallthemall

    @Watchdog. Yvette Alexander IS a Crook. She "stole" from her Ward 7 constituent service fund of approx. $147,000 by only giving 3% of it to her poor, needy and destitute constituents. She told the newspaper she was offended by their reference to her Ward 7 residents as such and there were none living in her Ward by the way. But she saw fit to give her campaign manager, office worker Derek Ford - who also wears the hat of paid WALMART consultant as do several of her staff, $12,000 for his rent! The rest of that fund went to frivolous and unconscionable expenditures on her campaign office, telephones, buffets, ads in programs promoting herself, water etc. She was supposed to return some of that money. Bet she did not. Shy of being illegal but definitely unethical, sly, treacherous and snaky. Just like her handler, Vincent Gray.

  • Frank Lee Mahdear

    Whatever Orange did wrong, he was THE BEST at doing it wrong.

  • AHOOOOOOWAHHH

    DAMN -- Ya'll always convicting people before they even get CHARGED, much less pled, tried and/or found guilty. Goes to show how much you know about the democratic process. Even a VO admirer has thrown him under the bus.

  • tony

    @Daddy Grace Fish Sandwich writes: Tony, why is everything about race with you? Stop blaming the white man for your bitterness. You are not one happy black man.

    It's amazing that when a brother shows some confidence and is conscious he is deemed to be bitter. No, I am not bitter but I am conscious.

    What’s even more amazing is that you claimed to be black but you would condemn your own people because they may live in a certain zip code. Yet, you will spend your time defending that white man.

    It's not my fault that you hate yourself for being black. Maybe you should live your life as a white man, because you are truly one sorry azz excuse for a brother.

  • Lexus Variance

    @tony..It just doesn't make Christianity look good when you say such mean, nasty, divisive, and racist statements, and then invoke the name of Jesus. This is what turns off people from Christianity. Jesus was about LOVE. If you cannot put that in perspective...just don't mention Jesus. Truly, you do not know who Jesus is.

  • tony

    @Lexus Variance, I am more a Christian than your sorry azz will ever be.

    Jesus condemned the powers that be who exploited people like you for their own financial gain. And he used some of the harshest language to express his displeasure.

    Lexus, you should be wondering why your mother name you after a car. She had nine months to come up with a name and she came up with Lexus. Who in the hell do you think you are talking to ...Go the hell!

  • tony

    White folks have used this blog for years to utter some of the most negative, racist, and vile comments about black folks and no one said a freaking word. However, as soon as a black man fights fire with fire there's this sense of outrage.

    I get the impression that some people believe that this blog to them only and only they can speak a certain way against a certain people. Well, I am here to tell you that these airways belong to the American people and people have the right to express themselves as they deem fit.

    Slavery is truly over, dammit!

  • drez

    Pretty sure that 1) Orange is safe, 2) That while not perfect he would have been preferable than Michael Brown, 3) Tony's obsessed with race.

  • tony

    @drez, quit while you are ahead.

  • Daddy Grace Fish Sandwich

    Lexus, please ignore Tony because he's a very unhappy human being. He reminds me of Paul Mooney who constantly discuss race or racism in his comedy act.

    Tony, I will pray for you my brother and hope you will find some peace and happiness in your life.

  • capitol hill

    Froggy will be in jail by this time next year.

  • tony

    @Daddy Grace Fish Sandwich,I know you feel uncomfortable talking about race. Well, thats good.

    Maybe the next time you or anyone of those white clowns decides to attack black folks they will think twice.

    Sorry, I must now depart for my vacation. I will be sure to tell my homie Chapelle you sent your greetings.

  • Juiced

    Tony, I agree with you that the media could probably take more time digging into the financial records of white pols, and that they'd probably find many unsavory details hidden there as well, but it definitely doesn't change the facts of the cases against the aforementioned Black elected officials.

    If you think there is a miscarriage of justice where HTJ, Kwame Brown, Vincent Gray and Vincent Orange are concerned, why don't you write Ron Machen a letter explaining your opinion that he and his boss, Eric Holder, and his boss' boss, Barack Obama are systematically targeting Black men in the DC city council. And once you've written it, why don't you post it in the comments section so we can all laugh our asses off.

  • nowaitadaminit

    Juiced: You're not only drinking too much, yo azz is smoking SOMETHING and it ain't nicotine. WTF does yo high azz know about FACTS of cases (if any) against anybody. That is privileged information and if Machem is sharing with you we're in more trouble that we know.

    Miscarriage of justice are not the operable words here. Tarring and feathering all of the pols whether or not they have been charged IS. Regardless of their color, creed or sexuation orientation.

    Does anybody else see through Juiced's last paragraph????
    Sounds like he thinks there is something funny about 3 powerful Black men in the higher echelon of America's power structure. Something about which he and his cohorts can laugh their asses off.

    GO OUT AND VOTE BLACK AMERICA, TAKE ALL OF YOUR OLD TIRED BLACK RELATIVES, FRIENDS AND FOES. TAKE ALL OF YOUR VOTING AGE CHILDREN AND THEIR FRIENDS AND FOES. TAKE ALL OF YOUR BLACK NEIGHBORS AND THEIR FRIENDS AND FOES. IF YOU CAN KEEP THEM FROM FIGHTING OVER WHATEVER DIFFERENCES THEY MAY HAVE, TAKE THEM TO HORACE & DICKIES OR SOMEPLACE FOR A CELEBRATORY MEAL.

    HOLD ONTO THE DREAM AND RELISH IT'S REWARDS, THE MAN IN THE WHITE HOUSE MAY NOT BE PERFECT, BUT HE IS OUR MAN IN THE WHITE HOUSE. OF COURSE THE SAME WENT FOR ALL OF THE MEN IN THE WHITE HOUSE, BUT THIS ONE IS TRUL OURS: ONE DROP OF BLACK BLOOD. REMEMBER?

  • nowaitadaminit

    Enjoy your vaction Tony, but you know you gonna peep into this spot while you're gone. I'm proud of you and the other brothers who don't have to take shit from anyone anymore. Keep up the good work.

  • Daddy Grace Fish Sandwich

    Enjoy your vacation, Tony. I still love you my brother and you are entitled to your opinions.

  • SEis4ME

    Isn't this the same DaddyGrace who makes attacks against black women, especially "fat" ones?

    Surely, this person asking why someone else always plays a "race" card when he does it all the time is NOT the same DaddyFishwutever we've read about all this time.

  • Juiced

    Nowaitadaminit, the facts of HTJ's case are a matter of public record now, as is his guilty plea. The facts of Kwame Brown's case are a matter of public record now, as is his guilty plea. All of the contributions that Jeff Thompson made (to black and white pols, but especially to Vincent Orange) through straw donors and with forged money orders are also public information (and were long before the post or the City paper thought of doing some research). The guilty pleas of Hawkins and Harris are also public. You don't need to be in Machen's office to have access to this info. You just need to do a little exploring outside of the comments section.

    When you say: "Tarring and feathering all of the pols whether or not they have been charged IS. ", are you implying that LL writing a story about an investigation lead by a Black prosector is tarring and feathering? Are you standing up for all the corrupt politicians or just the Black ones? Can somebody explain whether Machen, Holder and Obama count as "they" or "us" in the context of Tony's statement: "They want us out, period."

    Is it really so hard to imagine that black politicians are as susceptible to corruption and self-dealing as white ones are? DC politicians are the puppets of government contractors and developers (the former are both black and white guys, the latter category is almost all white guys). Where do they fit into your worldview?

  • Drez

    In Tony's world all black politicians are innocent, regardless of evidence, and all those in the media or the justice system who disagree are guilty, regardless of lack of evidence.

  • Daddy Grace Fish Sandwich

    SEis4ME, sorry your are wrong. You got me confused with another person talking about black female preachers in Southeast. I've seen his post many times on here and in the Washington Post talking about a black fat church woman in Southeast. Most didn't make sense to what he was referring to.

    Drez, Tony is obessed with race. Yes racism does exist and I've seen racist comments on here in in the Prince of Petworth's blog.

  • nowaitadaminit

    Juiced if you're still sober this time of night on a Friday, IS/ARE; presector/prosecutor: WTF is/are a few typos between bloggin friend? In the cups myself right now, so I sure don't feel like answerin' yo shit, but I'll be back atcha soon.......

  • Drez

    True, DGFS

  • mizluvsco

    Fish, since when does one Black man call another Black man (who is decrying racism), obsessive in his mission?

    Slim, not only does racism exist on the Prince of Petworth blog, but it also exists where you live, work, play, or even walk down the street in America. AND DON'T YOU EVER F'*** FORGET IT!!!!!!

    Shame on you. Not only for calling the kettle black, but more so because Drez co-signed your comment. They're laughing at you Fish. Just like they did the buck-dance dude who entertained THEM on the plantation. They're laughing in Petworth because they're taking over and you're helping them. Not saying we don't want them in our neighborhood, because the neighborhood was theirs before our hood became ours.

    Wake up my Brother, just don't drink the kool-aid unless yo mama or wife or daughter made it.

    Tony, We Love You! Enjoy Your Vacation, But Please
    Read the Blog So You Can Get 'Em When You Come Back HOME!

  • Frank Lee Mahdear

    For the record, white people don't laugh at black people who think public corruption is bad. We nod along at what they say, sip our coffee, and then move on to the next comment.

  • mizluvsco

    #36: Who da "F" is talking about public corruption?
    Stay in yo lane, MaDear; and also for the record, enlightened Black people already know what White people do: You drink the coffee while passing out the kool-aid.

    Was a time all you had to do was nod; but lately those parents Marion Barry put to work who put their kids through higher education schools, and those Black kids President Obama is helping with student loans are much more saavy than their less educated exploited parents. They will put something on your mind that a nod will not take care of. Just you wait and see.

    Bless their hearts, because they have been exposed to your young White children, who usually disdain racism, you can thank your lucky stars, the new Black Warriors are not bitter and violent.

    The New Black Warriors have taken the battle to a new level. They're marrying your offspring, creating mix-raced kids, and teaching their children the right way to exist in this country: In the spirit of unity and harmony leaving the tired old devisive racist tactics behind in the dust.

    Machem, his boss Holder, and his boss Obama are some of the New Black Warriors of whom I speak.

  • Shepherd Park Ward 4 Resident

    mizluvsco, how do you know what Drez's race is? I am not going to condone the corruption of any politician, black, white, green, orange, gray, or purple.

    I don't like Vincent Orange. At first as a Ward 5 DC Councilmember, he was against gay marriage. He flipped flopped on the issue once he say how powerful white gays voices are in the District. All politicians will sell their souls or their mamas souls to Satan to get elected or re-elected. Vincent Orange was a pimp for Pepco and he supported all their high rate increases they wanted to impose on District consumers.

  • mizluvsco

    Shep: Where does it mention Drez' race???
    I don't see color, I see racism and unfortunately, that has no race, color or creed. IT'S JUST ANOTHER FORM OF MENTAL ILLNESS. I don't care what Drez is. He spews forth divisiveness and injustice.

    Sorry you don't like Orange for whatever reason. I'm not qualified to judge your motivation. My comments were directed at the self-acknowleded Black Man who refers to himself as a fish sandwich, for goodness sake.

  • StrangeFruit

    @ Shepherd Park Ward 4 Resident,

    Drez has posted that he is bi-racial aka Black in America!

  • Daddy Grace Fish Sandwich

    Has anyone every heard of a young man named A. J. Cooper? I heard he's running for an At-Large D.C. City Council seat.

    http://www.electajcooper.com/

  • AntiDCPioneer

    Though uninspiring, I don't think Orange is going anywhere. Of course, I don't find many politicians at all in this city inspiring.

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