Loose Lips

Feds: No “Clean Bill of Health” For Kwame Brown’s 2008 Campaign

U.S. Attorney Ron Machen announced today that he anticipates filing no further criminal charges related to former D.C. Council Chairman Kwame "Fully Loaded" Brown's 2008 campaign. But Machen also implied that there was some hinky stuff going on in the campaign and urged the Board of Elections to continue its own investigation. Machen's announcement came hours after Brown's brother, Che Brown, pleaded guilty to bank fraud for lying about his income on a loan application, a matter unrelated to Che Brown's work on the 2008 campaign. This summer, Kwame Brown pleaded guilty to a felony charge of bank fraud and a misdemeanor campaign finance violation.

The U.S. Attorney's Office issued a statement saying that  "the closure of our criminal investigation should not be interpreted as a clean bill of health for the 2008 Kwame Brown campaign." Machen also sent a letter to the Board of Elections, which had referred Brown's 2008 campaign to the U.S. Attorney's Office to be investigated in 2011, after an audit raised several questions about the campaign's finances—including $240,000 paid to Che Brown's sales coaching firm without adequate records to support those payments. In today's letter, Machen encourages the board to continue its probe, which was put on hold pending the outcome of the criminal investigation.

Kwame Brown's attorney did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Machen writes:

The closure of the criminal investigation without additional prosecutions should not be a factor in the Board’s independent determination whether civil penalties are warranted. The criminal campaign finance provisions of the D.C. Code typically require proof beyond a reasonable doubt of knowledge by the defendant of the governing restrictions and the conduct in violation of those restrictions. Candidates often cannot be held accountable for misconduct by individuals working on their behalf. Individuals who work on behalf of a campaign but hold no official position may not be subject to certain provisions. Within this statutory context, the unavailability of criminal charges should in no way compel the conclusion that administrative action is inappropriate.

Machen goes on to note how hard it is to track campaign money that's been converted to cash. Kwame Brown's campaign finance guilty plea centered around Che Brown's unlawful cash payments for campaign expenses in amounts greater than the permitted maximum of $50. Machen's office notes that Brown "became the first public official in District history to plead guilty to a criminal violation of our campaign finance laws," which is kind of amazing. After his guilty plea this summer, Kwame Brown gave a speech to reporters indicating that he was not the only city politician guilty of such a crime.

"I am guilty of knowing that poll workers and others received more than $50 in cash payments for doing campaign work, which is and has been done in this city for years," Brown said.

In his letter, Machen urges the BOE to "vigorously enforce provisions regarding cash donations, cash expenditures, and their financial disclosure."

"Free-flowing, unreported campaign cash creates easy opportunities for abuse, vote-buying, misappropriation, or outright theft with no hope of meaningful oversight," Machen writes. "We urge the Board to demand transparency by cracking down on cash expenditures that exceed statutory limits."

Machen's full letter:

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

  • nowaitadaminit

    You know what?

    Ron Machem is beginning to sound trite.
    So much ado about nothing.
    No, I didn't read his letter.
    No, I won't read his letter.
    This man and his crew are doing as much to hurt the District of Columbia as the people he unprofessionally says he is trying to put in jail.

    That's what he should start investigating. Who in the Hell is doing all of that fanciful leaking in his office?
    What makes azzholes like Colby King sound so smug hinting he has a connection in Machem's office. A leak is a leak is a leak. A crime is a crime is a crime. If in fact King is getting info from the inside then he and WaPo should be invetigated for violating oaths taken to uphold the secrecy of the process.

    How much money has the US Attorney's office spent on the investigations of the 2008 campaigns? How many trials have there been? How much time have people served?
    The whole thing stinks to high heavens.

    I understand most of the White guys in the US Atty's office have no respect for Machem and do not think his is qualified for the job. Quite a few of them have quit and moved on because of his autocratic demeanor and second guessing of their work.

    And oh yeah! What is the ratio of Black to White prosecutors in Washington, DC?

  • truth hurts

    Sounds like he's testing the waters, wondering whether similar excuses might work should he back down from indicting one city.

    Just wondering, Mr. US ATTY, what happened to the unreported big money side accounts between the Brown brothers? The public deserves an explanation of some sort.

  • Pingback: Medical marijuana at last? - www.arizonamedicalmarijuanacard.info | www.arizonamedicalmarijuanacard.info

  • noodlez

    THIS BAMMA STILL RIDING AROUND IN A NAVI.

    THIS WHOLE ORDEAL WAS A SHAMOCKERY AT BEST.
    INVESTIGATE CAMPAIGN BECAUSE HIS STAFF FUCKED UP ORDER OF CITY LEASING OF UNWARRANTED OVER THE TOP LINCOLN NAVIGATOR BUT CORNER HIM ON A FALSIFIED LOAN APP THAT MILLIONS OF FOLK IN THIS COUNTRY DO EVERYDAY.

    END RESULT RESIGNATION OF COUNCIL CHAIR, HOUSE ARREST AND KICK AROUND THE CITY IN 2012 NAVIGATOR.
    WHAT THE FUCK WAS ACCOMPLISHED OR HAS CHANGED?????

  • #!&%?

    At least he is no longer the council chair. And, the "other people are doing it too" defense hasn't worked since grade school.

  • Wait, What?

    Oh, so millions of people falsify loan apps now - every day, even? Uh, "stay in your lane", I believe the saying goes.

    The call for a civil penalty is too funny - like that lilliputian needs another bill he can't pay.

  • Pingback: Medical marijuana at last? | Health

  • nowaitadaminit

    Noodlez, please say it ain't so, Joe.
    Is it true he's STILL ridin' 'round in a Navi?
    Is it bought, borrowed, begged?
    Not that it's any of our business anymore since they ran his challenged azz out of office, but if it is true, then he qualifies for serious therapy before he even thinks about running for office again.

    I was a die hard constituent because of the way 'they
    done him wrong', but if he still needs that Navi fix, I'll have to just feel sorry for him and wish him a healthy psyche.

    Orginally, I gave Kwame the benefit of the doubt, but the Marshall Brown gene pool was a bit too strong. That apple sure didn't fall far from tree.

...