Jeanne Clarke Harris told federal investigators that she had help creating the unreported campaign that helped elect D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray and that the effort had started two months before the mayoral primary -- when she was told his campaign needed "financial assistance."
Harris said her company, Belle International, received at least $653,800 to pay for the shadow campaign's expenses from a single, unnamed co-conspirator. The deposits began on July 28, 2010, and ran through Sept. 14 -- primary day.
Court documents in the case reveal:
• The secret campaign hires consultants, who hire drivers and canvassers.
• The campaign buys 4,250 yard signs, 5,000 T-shirts and 200 umbrellas for $41,971.26
• Radios, a loudspeaker system, laptops, food, parking for canvassers: $57,992
• Magnetic vehicle signs, 120,000 door knockers, 1,500 T-shirts, 6,000 posters, 10,000 lapel stickers, 4,200 signs, handouts, a banner installation: $67.160.42
• Worker payroll expenses: $203,084.33
• Sept. 14:
Gray wins primary by 10 percentage points
• Harris finds out the U.S. attorney and the FBI are investigating Gray's campaign and discusses the probe with the co-conspirator. They agree to cover up the shadow campaign.
June to December 2011
• Harris directs the shredding of documents and electronic data related to the secret campaign.
• Co-conspirator offers to pay Harris to leave the country for five years to avoid investigators. Harris refuses.
• Harris amends her 2010 tax return at the direction of the co-conspirator to include a payment of $566,000 from the co-conspirator's company to Harris' company for phony business/marketing services.
• Dec. 31: Harris gets a check for $161,569 from the co-conspirator to cover her additional tax burden.
• Jan. 10: Harris reportedly meets with Gray and tells him about some unreported expenditures. Gray reportedly tells Harris to assist in amending his campaign finance reports.
• The co-conspirator offers to pay Harris to leave country for three months; she agrees and arranges to stay in Brazil, but never takes the trip.
• Federal agents raid the homes and offices of Harris and Jeffrey Thompson, a major political donor.
• Harris pleads guilty to conspiracy and fraud charges.