Loose Lips

Kwame Brown’s 2010 Campaign Was a Mess

Just two months after Kwame Brown's house arrest ended, LL would like to be the first to call for a comeback tour. The motivations here are entirely selfish, because another campaign could be the only thing that gets an answer to a question that's been bugging LL. Specifically, how is this guy so bad at running a campaign fund?

Brown's 2008 at-large re-election campaign has been his most infamous disaster, earning him a misdemeanor campaign finance charge. But a new Office of Campaign Finance report on his winning 2010 race against Vincent Orange to become D.C. Council chairman reveals that operation stunk, too.

The OCF audit finds 10 violations in Brown's campaign account. There's minor stuff, like $10.75 in unreported bank fees, and then there's the matter of nearly half a million dollars in inadequately documented contributions and expenses.

Among the problems: Brown campaign workers made out seven checks to cash, totalling $19,270. That's $18,970 above $300, the maximum legal limit for a campaign cash fund. Another $2,897.27 in expenses never went through the campaign's bank account and couldn't be explained by campaign documents.

But that's a pittance compared to Brown's other mystery expenses. Brown's campaign spent $192,289 and $23,005 on payments, respectively, to two companies for "consulting services." Brown's campaign didn't produce contracts between the companies, and invoices didn't explain what the companies were actually doing for Brown.

Of course, it's not a Brown campaign without an appearance from brother Che Brown, convicted last year for bank fraud. Brown, who wasn't listed as authorized to write checks from the campaign fund, nevertheless cut 28 checks worth $92,260.00. He wrote seven of the checks out to cash.

Brown's campaign had as much trouble proving how it took money as it did showing how it spent the funds. The campaign didn't have enough documentation, including credit card information or checks, for 260 contributions, worth a total of $134,282.00.

All of the OCF complaints add up to $320,011.27 in suspicious expenditures and $138,482 in underdocumented or excessive contributions. Fred Cooke Jr., Kwame Brown's attorney, declined to comment.

Five of the campaign issues were referred to OCF's general counsel for further action.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

  • Angelina

    Loose Lips - still stuck on Kwame, please let if go!

  • Blevins

    @LL: "Specifically, how is this guy so bad at running a campaign fund?"

    A better question would be - is there anything that Kwame Brown (or his brother) are GOOD at?

  • Pah

    "Kwame Brown’s 2010 Campaign Was a Mess"

    Looks like this needs an edit.

    "Kwame Brown’s a Mess."

    There. Fixed it.

  • Will Sommer

    @Angelina

    Believe me, no one's more disappointed than me that this audit is coming 3 years after the election.

  • name

    We still don't know what $600k or $90k is ACTUALLY buying you in DC?

    Is it vans full of fraudulent voters with a name and address of someone who no longer resides in the city?

    Time to start digging.

  • drez

    At least part of that paid for "volunteers" that they shared with the shadow Gray campaign.
    I personally witnessed vans full of them who would show up at various precincts and exchange campaign gear as needed.

  • Really?

    Really?

    Seriously why is this a story? What's the purpose Willie?He's out of Office.

    Greasy brought an issue to the OCF which referred it to the DOJ.

    The gov't (DOJ) put their best and brightest on the case. Spent millions of dollars on what amounted to some brothers lying on a bank loan to get a boat and keep a house.

    Now I'm sure DOJ had the best resources and better educated folks then OCF and trust me if there was something there then they would have pounced.

    Move on dude! Folks around the nation are real tense right now and this BS of story ain't helping. I'm recommend that YOU read Barack Obama and the Jim crow media by Ishmael Reed. I know LL ain't been diversified since Jonetta left, so hopefully this will give you a new perspective. Open your eyes to what some in the blk community feel about the media, especially the DC media.

  • drez

    So, ask about Gray's shadow campaign.
    You see $460k in undocumented dollars, I saw connections on the ground.

  • RealDC

    @Really- I feel you and it does seem trivial, but Kwame Brown is a HOT bama in every sense of the word. There were a whole lot of other things the US Atty could have charged him with, along with his father and brother. End game was just to get him out of office and move on...... other charges and a trial would have been extremely embarrassing to him and his family. He does have school age kids, the playground would have been rough.

    Not surprising, Kwame sucked from day one. Really bad African-American leadership like him hurts the AA community more than anything. Pompous, self-aggrandizing fools are the worse to hold elected office. Make no mistake, Brown was all of that and some.

  • SEis4ME

    Breaking News!!!!

    Drez believes the Gray "shadow campaign" defrauded the public by using volunteers to canvass. Yep, that's the epitome of guilt right there!

    And YES, that's all he has..nothing more...plenty less.

  • Smh

    @Really?: Because OCF just completed an audit of this campaign 3 years later. Duh! Reading is very fundamental.

  • Alex, I’ll take Real Answers for…

    Who EFFED up DC schools? Who effed up parks & rec? Who effed the job training money? Who effed up the mentorship programs? Who got paid off so that the Ethiopian dude that got beat to death on U st, attackers got off even though the ME said MURDER? Why can't black people live in the District w/o being rich? Why does Lanier get paid more than the mayor to lie about crime stats? These are the questions black folks want the answers to, not what ELSE Kwame did to get fired.

  • Alex, I’ll take Real Answers for…

    and locked up...

  • DCShadyBoots

    Old news, moving on.

  • drez

    Nah, SEis4ME. That's not what I believe. I believe they and Kwame both took in off the books money and paid volunteers off the books. And given what I see I think there was collaboration between the campaigns in these illegal activities.

  • drez

    I mean, they both have undocumented cash in and cash out. And they clearly shared staff.
    The most logical explanation is that they were part of the same campaign. Kwame did get Gray's Council Chairship after. Right? Not saying that was the only deal they had, but it certainly is a striking coincidence.

  • drez

    And of course this would give Gray access to even more off the books cash- Kwame's cash...
    Seems the most likely scenario given the undocumented cash and cross-branded staff.
    It's amazing how quickly that marriage of convenience came to an end.

  • drez

    Something about silence being deafening?

  • anonymous

    Good work,LL. Sad to say, this seems to be the way in DC politics. Don't know if you saw your predecessor's pieces last fall and this this spring on another audit that never determined the ultimate fate of millions of taxpayer $$$.

    For a walk down memory lane:

    http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/looselips/2012/10/31/who-do-you-know/

    http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/looselips/2013/03/13/another-city-construction-contracting-mystery/

  • IAmNotALiberalDemocrat

    Kwame who?

  • Really?

    @SMH if you have been following the story all along you would have used your reading inference skills to know that their were campaign violations. I believe the DOJ report said the same.

    Holla at me if you need me to send some reading inference worksheets.

  • Smh

    @Really?: Didn't you ask why this was a story? You forgot what you wrote? Unable to scroll up on your computer? Again, reading is fundamental.

  • Really?

    @SMH it was a condescending question. Everyone got it but you. The short yellow bus just pulled up in front of your house. Why don't you hop on!

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