Loose Lips

Morning Links

In Nikita Stewart opus on Jeff Thompson, one anonymous source has the former D.C. contractor offering Vince Gray an off-the-books campaign loan. [Post]

Kenyan McDuffie will lead committee on potential sanctions for Marion Barry. [Times]

Elimination of parking minimums dropped from zoning update. [Housing Complex]

Victor Hoskins living wage bill has deterred three other larger retailers from coming to D.C. [WBJ]

So-so reaction to David Catania's ed proposals. [Post]

Deborah Simmons, DCGOP wants a Walmart veto. [Times, Times]

  • drez

    Needless to say, campaign loans are illegal. Off the books or on.

  • Green Eyeshade

    good morning drez, that Nikita Stewart article does have some new facts about Gray meeting directly with Thompson to discuss Gray's campaign, but LL is wrong to interpret Nikita's article as confirming that any loan from Thompson would be "off the books." In fact, the article flatly quotes one source as saying that the loan would be reported after the election.

    I wish WaPo or LL or WAMU or Sherwood or Colby King or somebody would get some real information about Gray's knowledge and criminal intent, but they all come up empty every time they do one of these investigative stories.

    Possible new facts might be in these grafs from the fourth "chapter" of Nikita's story; notice the sources are an anonymous "close friend of Thompson's" and "a person close to Gray":

    "The two men met at Harris’s Massachusetts Avenue apartment, according to a close friend of Thompson’s and a second person with knowledge of the investigation — both requested anonymity because of the ongoing case. Mark Long, who is Harris’s godson and worked as Gray’s driver during the campaign, waited in another room, both people said. Long did not return calls for comment.

    "At some point, Harris excused herself and left the men alone, and they had a one-on-one conversation, according to a person close to Gray who requested anonymity to speak freely.

    "At the meeting, Thompson promised to give Gray’s campaign financial support, according to Thompson’s friend. But Thompson told Gray that he did not want to support him publicly, the friend of Thompson said.

    " 'It was supposed to be a loan,' the friend said. 'He was trying to hide from Fenty. He was hedging his bets.'

    The friend said the loan was supposed to be reported after the election."

  • drez

    Good morning, Green Eyeshades.
    I think that even if this truly was intended to be structured as a loan (there is no evidence that actions were ever taken to make it so) that said loan would still be illegal as a violation of contribution limits. So I don't see at all how this is exculpatory to anyone.

    My favorite part focused on the reversal of the city's legal position with respect to Thompson's health care firm. This reversal netted Thompson millions and it demonstrates quid-pro-quo.

    I also think that this broader Thompson matter rightly falls under RICO.

  • Green Eyeshade

    RICO! Now yer talking!

    All we need is to find one physical threat by one of the ex-cons, like Jeanne Harris, or one attempted blackmail by one of the women behind the throne, like Lorraine Green, or maybe even an attempted extortion. Then we got our predicate act and the whole rat's nest becomes a criminal enterprise for reelz.

    Machen obviously has too many bogus national security cases and reporters to spy on for him to be able to wrap this shit up before next Easter. If there's no grand jury indictment of the Mayor or Jeffrey Thompson before Halloween, aint never gonna be one. Cripes! It's already been three years!

  • Green Eyeshade

    "It was supposed to be a loan."

    What if we are all misinterpreting that quote?

    What if the "it" was actually the $653,000?

    Then, that quote could be understood as a *complaint* by Gray allies that Thompson screwed up by secretly laundering his cash through Jeanne Harris instead of making an overt loan that was disclosed. Even if the disclosure was late, after the election, the penalty for the slight delay in disclosure would have been nothing compared to the criminal liability Gray is now facing for accepting laundered money.

    Interpreted that way, could this be Gray's defense? "I didn't intend for Thompson to launder money illegally, I intended for him to lend it to my campaign and make it public."

    Of course, having "a defense" doesn't mean "innocent." What you do with your *defense* is, you tell the jury at your *criminal* trial. And see if the jury buys it.

  • drez

    Racketeering doesn't need a physical threat.

  • drez

    Bribery, fraud, theft, embezzlement, racketeering...

  • Green Eyeshade

    Excellent case from Cornell Law School's website explaining the different requirements to convict for *substantive* RICO compared to *RICO conspiracy.* Conviction for a substantive violation of RICO does require commission of two predicate acts, but conviction for RICO conspiracy does not.


    Case is Salinas v. United States, 522 U.S. 52 (1997) (Supreme Court of U.S.). Lots of helpful links to the actual statutes in the cited link.

    Case is 16 years old, but I didn't Shepardize it, so the law may have changed.

    However, the 2009 U.S. DOJ Prosecutors Manual suggests the law has not changed since Salinas (PDF warning 3.6 MB):


    That manual clarifies that "Although a substantive RICO offense requires proof that each defendant committed at least two racketeering acts, it is settled law that to establish a criminal RICO conspiracy charge the United States is not required to prove that any defendant committed any racketeering act or any overt act." USDOJ RICO Manual p. 134 (two footnotes omitted). The Salinas case is the lead case cited in both of the omitted footnotes.

  • truth hurts

    Late spring of 2010, Gray and Thompson meet at Harris' condo. Gray reportedly believes he needs close to a million bucks he doesn't have in order to beat Fenty, who has big bucks on hand for the stretch run. While Thompson can bundle a lot of 2k contributions -- mainly by disguising them via straw donors -- that still leaves Gray about 700k short. Gray and Thompson hatch their plan with a wink and a handshake.

    Goes like this: Thompson fronts Harris @ 650k, who funnels it to Gray's bff Hawkins, who manages Gray's shadow campaign. Meanwhile, Thompson also funnels over 50 separate 2k straw donations to the real campaign. Gray and Thompson understand that if anyone catches on to the illegal shadow campaign, they'll say it was a loan, that Harris/Hawkins didn't know it was illegal or botched, they'll try limiting their exposure by amending campaign finance reports, and hope for the best. Their plan is set.

    Within weeks, Hawkins is hiring people, ordering supplies, and setting up shop. All with Thompson's money by way of Harris. Works like a charm. One city beats Fenty, Thompson gets millions from one city's coffers, and all are happy. Until the feds smell a rat, that is. With the feds closing in, Harris meets with Gray to discuss their exit plan: amending campaign finance reports to reflect shadow campaign expenditures. By now, Gray's running scared and suspects Harris of cooperating with the feds. So he tells Harris to give the fake invoices to somebody else -- name not yet disclosed. Within weeks, the feds raid Thompson and Harris homes and offices. Gig's up, Harris cooperates. Gray and Thompson lawyer up and clam up. They're both going down when Machen decides to pull the trigger.

  • Green Eyeshade

    @truth, excellent summation.

    But get this: chief judge of U.S. District Court and Machen shared a joke today about which judge would "draw" the mayor's case.


  • drez

    ^ Wow.

  • mizwillis

    After the Stanford, Florida travesty, nothing surprises me about our judicial system.

    However, it is highly improper, non-professional, and in very poor taste for high ranking officials in our supposedly non-biased legal system to even discuss a case under investigation, much less make jokes about it in public.

    That alone speaks volumes about Machen and Lamberth. Glad he's gone and I hope Machen is close on his heels. Obama needs to put Machen out of his self-important, ethically challenged misery.

  • mizwillis


  • Shela

    LMAO.....That was funny. Nice to see the bench has a sense of humor...Besides, Vincent Gray brought the joke on himself.

  • Blevins

    @Shela - absolutely correct.

  • RealDC

    The Chief Judge is joking about a case against the Mayor? Very inappropriate. SMH.

  • drez

    The Mayor made himself the butt of this particular joke. .

  • mizwillis

    The problem with the scenario between Lamberth and Machen is the fact that noting about this entire fiasco is a laughing matter.

    How this motley crew can say Mayor Gray brought a joke between the CHIEF JUDGE and the UNITED STATES ATTORNEY on himself is indicative of the fact that none of the above are worthy and will only serve to prove the fact that this kangaroo court stuff is alive and well in Washington, DC.

    If charges ARE brought against Gray and Thompson: Bennett and Sullivan will chew and eat Machen & Company alive. I think Machen gets it and is very, very sorry he put his head down unless it was in shame!!!!!

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