Gray campaign audit release delayed indefinitely

By |
Photo - D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray (Examiner file photo)
D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray (Examiner file photo)
Local,DC,Alan Blinder

District regulators have delayed the release of their audit of Mayor Vincent Gray's 2010 campaign in the aftermath of guilty pleas from three people with close ties to the successful mayoral bid.

Earlier this summer, the city's Office of Campaign Finance, which has been investigating the Gray campaign since March 2011, said its report was "under review subject to final issuance."

But the timeline has since changed. "In light of new developments, the audit staff is in the process of issuing an interim audit report," the agency wrote in a routine update of its activities.

Not alone
D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray's campaign is not the only one facing an audit by local authorities. The Office of Campaign Finance is also reviewing the ledgers from ousted D.C. Council Chairman Kwame Brown and at-large Councilman Michael Brown.

"The interim report will not be public until issuance of the final audit report, in which it will be included," said OCF spokesman Wesley Williams, who declined to say when the regulators might release their findings.

OCF began probing the Gray campaign after Sulaimon Brown, a minor mayoral candidate, said the campaign paid him to remain in the race and criticize Adrian Fenty, the incumbent and Gray's chief rival.

Two Gray campaign officials have since pleaded guilty to federal charges linked to the thousands of dollars in illegal, unreported payments.

But the handouts to Brown aren't the only scar on the Gray campaign record. A third person with close ties to the mayor acknowledged in court that she helped coordinate a $653,800 shadow campaign to help elect Gray -- an admission that prompted OCF to expand its probe.

Gray has repeatedly denied wrongdoing, though on the advice of his lawyer, he has maintained a public silence recently as U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen Jr. has continued his probe.

Although city lawmakers have regularly complained that the Campaign Finance Office is ineffective, an agency audit was the catalyst for the investigation that ultimately forced former D.C. Council Chairman Kwame Brown to resign in June. Brown quit hours after federal prosecutors charged him with felony bank fraud, a charge that was not linked to any of his political campaigns.

The OCF also recently completed a random audit of Gray's constituent services fund. Regulators issued a statement of findings in June, but, pending a response from Gray, it has been kept secret.

ablinder@washingtonexaminer.com

View article comments Leave a comment
Author:

Alan Blinder

Staff Reporter, D.C. City Hall
The Washington Examiner