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Thompson associate charged in campaign finance probe

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Local,DC,Alan Blinder,D.C. Council,Campaign Finance,Corruption

A business associate of Jeffrey Thompson, the city contractor and political donor who is the subject of a sprawling corruption investigation, has been charged with breaking federal campaign finance laws.

In a court filing released Thursday, federal prosecutors charged Lee Calhoun, who worked for Thompson's D.C. accounting firm, with aiding and abetting contributions in the name of another person.

Prosecutors filed the misdemeanor charge on Wednesday in a criminal information, a type of legal document that indicates the existence of a plea agreement.

According to the two-page filing, Calhoun knowingly allowed Thompson -- identified only in the filing as "Executive A" and the majority owner of Calhoun's employer -- to make donations in his name and his wife's to a congressional candidate in 2011.

Federal Election Commission records show that Calhoun donated to a single congressional candidate in 2011: Del. Donna Christensen, the nonvoting member of the House from the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Calhoun's $2,300 contribution, which was made on June 3, 2011, was not the first in his name to Christensen. He also donated to her in 2004 and 2008.

Michelle Calhoun, the records show, sent contributions to the Virgin Islands in 2008 and 2011.SClBSClBEdward McMahon Jr., Lee Calhoun's attorney, said Thursday that his client would plead guilty and assist the authorities in their probe.

"He's going to enter a guilty plea, and part of his plea agreement calls for him to cooperate with the government in its continuing investigation," said McMahon, who declined to discuss the extent of Calhoun's assistance.

The charge against Calhoun, a Maryland resident, marked the second time this week that Thompson's conduct was described in court documents.

Earlier this week, former D.C. Councilman Michael Brown acknowledged in court that he received $20,000 in illegal donations from Thompson in 2007.

Thompson is also believed to have financed an illegal shadow campaign that helped elect Mayor Vincent Gray, who has not been charged with wrongdoing, in 2010.SClBSClBFederal prosecutors last summer charged another Thompson associate, Jeanne Clarke Harris, with crimes related to the shadow campaign. She pleaded guilty in July and is awaiting sentencing.

Thompson has not been charged, and his lawyer has declined to discuss the ongoing investigation.SClB

ablinder@washingtonexaminer.com

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