Loose Lips

Equipped With Megaphones, Gray Motorcades Hit the Streets

photo (46)

Vince Gray campaign manager Chuck Thies likes to talk about his organization's high-tech database of likely voters, but his candidate spent Saturday afternoon on a more old-school campaign tactic. In a move reminiscent of the mayoral campaigns of Gray supporter Marion Barry, multiple convoys of Gray supporters equipped with megaphones cruised the city urging passers-by to vote for Gray.

“People still love it, man,” Gray said, waiting to launch his motorcade in Ward 7's Skyland parking lot, where Gray recently presided over a groundbreaking for a new Wal-Mart-anchored shopping center.

While the motorcade campaigning tradition persists into the 21st century, some things have changed—the megaphones on Gray's car ran off a staffer's iPhone, which played Gray's radio ads, soul classics, and Pharrell's "Happy". (Someone tell Vincent Orange!).

Gray's campaign also operated the funk-blasting caravans last week.

“We were doing jump-outs like we were the feds, but we had literature instead of weapons,” Gray campaign political director Steve Glaude says.

One supporter in the car with the mayor carried a stack of handcards that declared that Gray, among other things, "never stole anything in his life" and "truly cares and thinks you are a beautiful person." On the opposite side of the cards is a picture of Gray and Barry with the tagline "It is us against the world."

Rather than being paid for by the campaign, though, the cards were paid for by Peter Brooks, described on the cards as a "DC resident and private citizen." Brooks is also a paid Gray campaign worker, having received $24,688 in salary or stipends from the campaign since January, plus another $1,829.08 to cover supplies, refreshments, travel, and a phone bill, according to Office of Campaign Finance records.

A second handcard, with a picture of Gray behind the word "Experience.", didn't have any language about who paid for it. LL's waiting to hear from OCF about the logistics of a paid campaign staffer paying for independent pro-Gray materials.

"Peter is a well-intentioned person," Thies writes in an email to LL. "He is not a veteran campaign pro. The cards clearly indicate that he did them independent of the campaign. I hope that no one seeks to make a mountain out of this molehill. Peter is too kind to be dragged across coals."

Photo by Will Sommer

  • John smith

    D.C. has a bad history of electing corrupt black mayors. Barry, Gray.

  • Chuck Thies

    I understand this business and I don't give a shit what people think of me or say about me. I do, however, look out for my staff and my friends.

    Peter Brooks did something out of the kindness of his heart. Will Sommer used his pen to stab Peter's heart.

    I appealed to Will to be kind and consider that Peter has never before worked on a campaign. Will chose a different route.

    This is why people outside media and politics have a low opinion of journalists.

  • drez

    This is why reputable campaigns (and administrations) make sure employees receive ethics training.

  • SayWhat

    With all the trouble that Gray seems to be in, I can't understand why him or his campaign didn't gracefully turn down the offer. I can't vote for this man, who appears to keep riding dirty.

  • drez

    Also, cute how Thies implicates Peter in this, rather than himself or gray, while at the same time "defending" Peter.
    I mean, where does the buck stop?

  • tony

    Where’s the outrage over the woman running in Ward 1 against Jim Graham.

    That woman lied on her loan application concerning her income and secured hundreds of thousands of dollars in government monies to buy a condo in NW. She used her position as an elected official and her connection with elected officials to secure the loan. As a result, she was able to get the city to finance her pricey Condo in NW. To make matters worse, she only pays less than a $100.00 a month on a 300K mortgage.

    So, where’s the outrage from the same people who are so eager to condemn Gray and others? Where’s the 24 hours news report condemning her actions. Where’s the call for a federal investigation? Where’s the cry for Ron Machen to step in and investigate? Where are the editorials from the Washington Post? Where are all the commenters on this board calling for her to step aside as a contender for public office? Where’s the call for clean and good government? Where is it?

    I am not sure. But is she black or WHITE?

  • truth hurts

    Hey Chuckie, Uncle Earl looked out for his friends, too. Until he got caught. I imagine Vince also appealed to Uncle Earl to, as you put it, "be kind" and consider that Vince never before authorized a shadow campaign.

    Frankly, I don't give a shit about Peter. I do, however, care when a mayor, like Gray, surrounds himself with felons.

  • tony

    I care when politicians other than Gray believe that they can steal and abuse the public trust merely because they are white.

  • Jeff

    @tony:

    Your post contains outright lies. Nadeau's application -- which is available on her website -- accurately reports her income. She received a loan in the amount of $38,490 -- far from "hundreds of thousands of dollar".

    If you are wondering about white candidates escaping justice, just look into Jim Graham who admits being offered a bribe and doing nothing about it.

  • drez

    Is it legal for civilian vehicles to have mounted and operational blue and white lights?
    It appears that some of gray's supporters have done this.

  • tony

    @Jeff,

    I understand. It's all just a big mis-understanding. She's clean, pure and ethical.

    We all just take her word for it and move along. I GOT!

    But we then turn around and raise hell when someone other than Graham's opponent is questioned on the most silliest of things.

    Drez:"Is it legal for civilian vehicles to have mounted and operational blue and white lights?
    It appears that some of gray's supporters have done this."

    Can you not see how this seems so unfair to some?

  • drez

    It is illegal in many jurisdictions (Virginia, for example).

  • tony

    See...endless attacks.^

    @Jeff, if I am wrong on the amount, I stand corrected.

  • drez

    Endless shadows. And for what? Mayor Catania?
    Hardly seems worth it to me.

  • Um, Chuck…

    Chuck,

    Clearly this article isn't about Peter being a good person. YOU are supposed to make sure the campaign is above board, not him. His intentions are not the point and I think you know that. You are disingenuous to suggest otherwise and are clearly deflecting the point. People want to know that the Mayor is not ignoring campaign rules even after all that has happened - whether he previously broke them or not. If you all cannot keep your books in order and follow the rules after being dragged into a federal investigation, then when will you? This begs the question: Does the Mayor lack the competence to run an organization like this or is this willful indifference?

    You know very well the CP would be neglecting their duties if they don't consistently look into your campaign. And besides, Peter doesn't get a pass from the press or the City when he is clearly doing something political. This isn't an article about him donating to a homeless shelter...he is donating to a hotly contested political campaign. He may be an angel, but his kindness to your campaign is hardly the reason for it.

    Why don't you cut the shit and just answer the completely reasonable inquiry into whether or not the Mayor's campaign is STILL doing stupid shit - intentionally or otherwise.

  • Ward One Resident

    If it comes to pass, cannot wait to see the Chuck Thies vs. David Catania election in November. Nasty doesn't begin to describe the potential.

  • at it again…

    @Chuck-

    You are a joke. Thanks for commenting about how you attempted to coerce LL to mask the incompetence and corruption that is VG and his campaigning (past and present). Way to keep the shadow campaign going. Nice work Will.

  • Roscoes Wetsuit

    Ha ha - the Uncle Earl express! What a joke, made even worse by more sign/ placard chicanery. Gotta love Chuckles though - way to ask a reporter not to do his job, and then fail to take any responsibility whatsoever. Total amateur hour.

    One City, many excuses.

  • S.E.

    "Is it legal for civilian vehicles to have mounted and operational blue and white lights?
    It appears that some of gray's supporters have done this."

    As have others........perhaps you've just noticed.

  • S.E.

    "It is illegal in many jurisdictions (Virginia, for example)."

    And what the Hell does this have to do with D.C.?

  • DCShadyBoots

    ^ (Snicker) @ Muriel's desperate supporters.

  • Pingback: A dampened D.C. mayoral race

  • STICK2YOURGUNS

    bowser has been paid from Walmart and other corporations to look out for them and not the residents

  • STICK2YOURGUNS

    people who are considering voting for bowser should know she is the face but a vote for her is really a vote for all those she owes who will be telling her how to run our city and what to say...so you really ain't voting for her

  • Roscoe’s Wetsuit

    @S2YG, you mean just like a vote for Vince was a vote for Chartered/ Uncle Earl?

  • Rosalie

    While volunteering for another campaign, I've met Peter at several campaign events the Mayor has attended in the past few weeks. I could not think of a nicer more considerate staff member to be by the Mayor's side. If everyone had such nice staff people might have a different attitude towards this race.

  • Kes

    Perhaps I haven't been paying the campaign the attention I should, but what *exactly* has Bowser done that is so bad? What policies, specifically, has she advocated for that were bad for DC residents? What bills did she introduce or vote for that were not good for the District?

    Supporting Walmart expanding into the District is not full-stop BAD. It *did* create low-skill jobs and it *does* provide low-cost groceries to lots of residents who need them, two things the District needs. Of course, those jobs are low-wage, but the council did raise the minimum wage. Yes, Walmart's low prices *may* drive smaller competitors out of business, but frankly, for the H St NE Walmart, they don't have any competition to speak of. And if a few shitty corner stores that repeatedly sell *expired* goods are driven out of business because of it, I won't shed a tear.

  • Roscoe’s Wetsuit

    @Rosalie, If everyone (including Peter) would follow basic campaign finance rules, people would certainly have a different attitude toward this race.

    If Chuckles would do his job and hold the Gray campaign responsible/ take responsibility instead of playing around on twitter, maybe the Gray campaign wouldn't look ridiculous/ amateurish AGAIN.

  • SMALL CHANGE

    she only has to pay $100? that's outrageous!

    the lender should have to pay her $100!

    now that's FAIR.

  • Mario

    Open up the fucking primary to everyone! It's hilarious that almost all these politicians demand budget autonomy and voting rights for DC, yet insist you be apart of that nasty, super corrupt Democratic machine in order to--effectively--vote for mayor. The GOP is just as dirty, don't get me wrong, so why not open it all up? Oh yeah, 'cause they are just lying motherfuckers who give lip service to "taxation without representation."
    Pure fucking bullshit.

  • DIFFERENTstandard

    WOW - Kwame was castigated for his fib on his home loan application BUT this woman gets a PASS....WE ALL KNOW WHY SHE'S GETTING THAT PASS...

    SAY WHAT YOU WANT ABOUT GRAHAM, BUT NO ONE CAN DENY HOW MUCH GOOD HE'S DONE IN HIS WARD...

    THAT WOMAN NADEAU OR NA-DON'T SHOULD BE HELD TO THE SAME STANDARD AS KWAME BUT THAT WONT HAPPEN BECAUSE SHE LOOKS DIFFERENT OF COURSE

    JIM - I CANT VOTE FOR YOU BECAUSE YOU ARE NOT MY COUNCILMEMBER BUT I WILL SURE MAKE CERTAIN THAT MY RELATIVES WHO RESIDE IN YOUR WARD VOTE FOR YOU...THEY CAN ATTEST TO YOUR PROFESSIONALISM...I DON'T HAVE TO DO MUCH CONVINCING SINCE THEY ALREADY LIKE YOU AND THE WORK YOU'VE BEEN DOING.....GOOOOOOOOOO JIM!!!!

  • DIFFERENTstandard

    BY THE WAY, KWAME WAS REMOVED FROM THE COUNCIL VIA PLEA BARGAIN REGARDING THE LITTLE FIB HE TOLD ON HIS HOME LOAN APPLICATION...

    HOWEVER, THE NADEAU OR NA-DON'T WOMAN RECEIVED MONETARY ASSISTANCE FROM THE DC GOVT AS A RESULT OF HER LIE...

  • Jacob

    $300K is hardly a "pricey Condo in NW"

  • Ryan

    Chuck Thies,

    The City Paper is supposed to just ignore what certainly sounds like another "shadow campaign" on behalf of the mayor?

  • tony

    ...when the money came from a government source meant for poor first time homebuyers, it is.^

    Rules for ya'll...Rules for us.

    To be honest, I have no problem with her people sticking by her. That's what they suppose to do.

    The problem is when black folks turn on one another in similar circumstances to the man's amusement.

    THATS THE PROBLEM!

  • HaHa

    "On the opposite side of the cards is a picture of Gray and Barry with the tagline "It is us against the world."

    I almost puked on my keyboard when I read that.

    Yep...d'em dere whitey's got us both like de got jesus"

    The implication that the two have been unfairly targeted is hilarious, especially Barry who has spent more time in the courtoom the past ~6 years then he has spent in the Council chamber

  • http://citypaper SLY

    Hey Chuckie, the pressure is getting next to you. Why resort to using street lingo?

  • Ward 2

    Chuck Thies, no one has been more adroit at the use of pens to inflict damage than has he until, of course, he went too far. His golden age was when he had Debonis and the Post on speed dial ready to print his tidbits of gossip and innuendo, usually on behalf and at the behest of the singly most corrupt individual ever in DC public life, Jim Graham.

    That being said Chuck is still way out in front leaving the other campaigns breathing his fumes and they all had a ten lap advantage. I guess tomorrow will see the final nail in the legend of Tom Lindenfeld. The Mayor is going to win.

    This Peter Brooks thing is grasping at straws. It turns on whether he was being paid as an employee or as a consultant. As a consultant, and with the document clearly identified I don't see how this would be illegal. I am not even a Gray supporter but this is kind of bull@#&%.

  • S.E.

    "Supporting Walmart expanding into the District is not full-stop BAD. It *did* create low-skill jobs and it *does* provide low-cost groceries to lots of residents who need them, two things the District needs."

    If Bowser feels so good about supporting Walmart then why isn't she saying so?

    All I've heard is "My Ethics" bill.

...