Loose Lips

Vernon Hawkins Celebrates Barry’s Victory

Marion Barry's victory party last night at Georgena's had a special guest: Vernon Hawkins, an alleged coordinator of what federal prosecutors called an illegal "shadow campaign" that helped Mayor Vince Gray win the 2010 primary election.

But Hawkins wasn't just any reveler. He followed right behind Barry on his walk into the restaurant, and when Barry waded through the audience, Hawkins held up Barry's arm so the mayor-for-life could reach to the crowd. Hawkins remained close to Barry during the party, though he left before Barry's victory speech.

When political consultant and WPFW host Chuck Thies tweeted a picture of Barry with Hawkins, Barry—or whoever tweets for him—shot back: "And?"

Hawkins has been close friends with Gray for many years, but his history with Barry probably goes back even longer. During Barry's fourth term as mayor, Hawkins served as director of Human Services until the Fiscal Control Board tried to get him fired in June 1996 for allowing waste and abuse in the agency. Barry tried to stand up to the board for about ten days, comparing the board's attempt to get Hawkins fired to Nazi Germany. Even then-Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich got involved, on the anti-Hawkins side.

Eventually, though, Barry gave up. Hawkins was pushed into a three-month assignment elsewhere in the District before leaving the government entirely.

Hawkins sightings at D.C. political events have been incredibly rare since the federal investigation into Gray's campaign  started heating up.  (Hawkins, who did not immediately return a call seeking comment, has also been ill, according to several people who know him.)  One of his last appearances also happened to be a campaign victory party. Below is a picture of Hawkins at Councilmember Vincent Orange's victory celebration after winning an at-large council seat in a 2011 special election, which the FBI has been looking at as well. Orange says Hawkins was an adviser to that campaign, but had no formal role.

Photos courtesy of people who don't want their names published

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