Loose Lips

Ron Machen’s Warnings Didn’t Work on Michael Brown

One thing that jumps out about the $55,000 former D.C. Councilmember Michael Brown allegedly took in bribes from undercover FBI agents is when authorities say he started taking them: July 11, 2012. That's just one day after Vince Gray shadow campaign operative Jeanne Clarke Harris pleaded guilty in federal court on corruption charges.

U.S. Attorney Ron Machen used Harris' guilty plea as a chance to tell the District's politicos that he was cleaning house. "The truth is going to come out in the end," Machen warned, "And you're far better off if you come to us on your own rather than waiting for us to approach you."

Apparently, that warning wasn't enough to deter Brown, whose lawyer says that "severe financial difficulties" enticed him into taking the bribes.

Two more dates stand out in the investigation: Nov. 6, 2012, and April 23, 2013, the two at-large elections Brown participated in while being drawn into the FBI's scheme. If Brown had fought off challenger David Grosso and retained his seat last fall, the District would be facing its third indicted councilmember in a year and a half. Brown's exit from his campaign to get back on the Council, meanwhile, came three weeks after the charging documents say the bribery scheme ended.

Questions LL will ponder this weekend: Why did federal agents let Brown stay in the campaign for months after they allegedly paid him tens of thousands of dollars for help getting certification as a D.C.-based contractor? And why did they let him get into the April election? Even though he wound up quitting, his early presence in the race might have affected who else did or didn't get into the field.

We'll find out more when Brown pleads guilty in Judge Robert L. Wilkins' courtroom Monday afternoon, with a press conference from the U.S. Attorney's Office to follow.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

  • Henry Forthsyte

    Sooner or later the truth will come out too about Graham, Bonds and Bowser.

  • drez

    Good questions, LL. All the more so because of their implications in the current Mayor's race.

  • Henry Forthsyte

    Ask Bill Lightfoot about the money for bowser campaign. Machen should be checking up on Bill as well.

  • NE John

    Yea, we are stuck with that Barry-tainted fossil Bonds because of this tool.

  • NE John

    If I was retired, I'd work under the direction of Mr. Machen for free. Hell, I would pay him to help get rid of these jerks.

  • NEjamal

    Jim Graham is next. To be followed shortly by David Grosso and Marion and Yvette.

  • NE John

    lol, what did David Grosso do?

  • tntdc

    and Evans is untouched. Incredible.

  • NEjamal

    grosso has been a lobbyist for the health insurance industry. he's received bonus payments and campaign dollars from the industry. he is active on health care issues in the brief time he has been on the Council. He's going to be indicted.

  • Smh

    Evans = Smartest man in the room (still not voting for him)

  • sticktoyourguns

    bowers campaign have been full of dirty money from the start. I have heard that there is a cap that a candidate can receive from any said business but she allows businesses to FORGE LLP names in order to continue to receive more money than the LAW allows. Bowser is no different than Kwame, Harry, or now Michael...She and Bill Lightfoot just haven't been caught yet.

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  • Lawman

    Manchen must GET Graham or otherwise he is a sad joke. None of the others compare to the depth or duration of Graham's corruption.

    Lightfoot fashions himself some kind of king maker now but remember he didn't have the cajones to take on the job of helping to bail the District out of the financial mess left the last time the Gray crowd was in charge. When the going got tough, Lightfoot got going. Jack Evans did and the record speaks for itself. Muriel Bowser, Tommy Tosspot, lets get real here.

    @tntdc
    Gee, maybe that is because Evans works really hard and keeps his nose clean.

  • Man of our Town

    You all are fucking stupid. First off you can't make up an LLC name without it having an actual bank account and being a license company in some jurisdiction. OCF actually checks on that.

    Secondly, as for Grosso he is fine, OK he voted on an issue he used to work on and for which he has expertise. Hell, he used to be Committee Director for the Economic Development when he worked at the Council so does than mean he shouldn't work on any legislation which may come under that committee or which changes legislation he helped create?

    I swear you all are dumber than hell for some of the comments you all make and for all the talk you can't prove a damn thing, but love to talk shit.

  • John P. Reagan

    These bogus comments above about Bowser, Grosso, Lightfoot, etc. somehow being corrupt are nothing but a political ploy by the supporters of their opponents. We should be glad there are civic-minded people like these three looking out for our interests. Trying to gin up some crap about them out of absolutely no evidence does no one any good.

  • Anonymous, Too

    "@tntdc -- Gee, maybe that is because Evans works really hard and keeps his nose clean."

    Bwahahahaha! Jack Evans works really hard for his Patton Boggs bosses and wealthy donors and friends.

    Most of his outright stealing--remember JackPac??--was done in his first ten years. Once he became the darling of the developers, he hasn't met a conflict of interest he doesn't like.

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