Thompson Plea Implicates Mayor Gray
That noise you’ve been hearing outside and coming from your television, iPad and phone screens—that’s not a Derecho. That’s Uncle Earl coming clean, and that’s the sound of D.C.'s 2014 Democratic primary exploding.
Uncle Earl would be D.C. businessman Jeffrey Thompson testifying in a D.C. federal court about the 2010 “shadow campaign” that he financed an effort that allegedly funneled more than $600,000 into then candidate for Mayor Vincent Gray’s campaign. Thompson alleged that Gray knew about the shadow campaign and that he had come to him for help, and that he, Thompson, agreed to help, but that he wanted the effort kept secret and wanted to be referred to in any references as “Uncle Earl.”
Since late last week, Thompson, the figure central to alleged off-the-books contributions (the shadow campaign) to Gray, but to the campaigns of District Council members, federal candidates for office and others, had been rumored to be in negotiation with federal attorneys for a plea bargain.
Today, that bargain was revealed: Thompson was charged with subverting campaign finance laws and plead guilty to one count each of conspiring to break federal and local campaign finance laws over six years, through illegal contributions and off-the-books spending of more than $2 million, according to the Washington Post.
Gray has said all along during the course of the investigation, in which several Gray campaign aides were indicted, charged or pled guilty, that he had not done anything -- although he did apologize for his campaign’s activities. Thompson essentially alleged that Gray did indeed know and about the contributions to the shadow campaign and asked for them. Gray has not been charged with any crime. He has denied any wrongdoing in the 2010 campaign.
Gray called the allegations "lies” and in an interview with WRC’s Tom Sherwood said that “these are lies and falsehoods.”
Assistant U.S Attorney Michael Atkinson said, “Gray agreed to keep Mr. Thompson’s support secret.”
Under the terms of the plea agreement, Thompson could face at least six months in prison. The agreement was approved by Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly.
The guilty plea by Thompson and the allegations and information coming out will have a firestorm impact on the Democratic mayoral primary campaign with only a little more than two weeks left in the campaign. Gray has been leading in the polls, which were accompanied by serious trust issues expressed by voters about the 2010 campaign and Gray. The primary election day is April 1.