Campaign finance records show that D.C. Mayor Vince Gray has received upwards of $100,000 from donors connected to the same D.C.-based businessman.
During Watergate, it was 'follow the money,' but at D.C. city hall these days, it might as well be follow the money orders.
Suspicious money orders from individuals and companies linked with political donor Jeffrey Thompson, whose offices were recently raided by federal authorities, have been tied to both the campaigns of both Mayor Vincent Gray and Council Vincent Orange, as originally reported by WAMU 88.5.
In a new development, Gray campaign records show that on Oct. 28, 2010, 11 money orders for $1,000 each were donated by employees of Consolidated Waste Industries and their family members. Consolidated is a trash removal company based in Maryland.
Multiple calls to Consolidated were not returned. The company has not been implicated in the campaign finance scandal involving Thompson, and it is perfectly legal to donate money orders to political campaigns.
But because of the suspicious money orders that council member Vincent Orange received from individuals and firms connected to political donor Jeffrey Thompson, city lawmakers are now trying to cap money order contributions at $25. Thompson has not been charged with any wrongdoing.
Meanwhile, Gray campaign records show another interesting pair of $1,000 money orders, this time from Howard Brooks and Leroy Ellis, in June 2010. Brooks has been a key figure in the ongoing scandal surrounding Gray's 2010 mayoral campaign. That's because Sulaimon Brown, the fringe mayoral candidate who sparked the whole controversy, claims Brooks paid Brown cash payments to keep up the verbal attacks on then-mayor Adrian Fenty.
Calls to Brooks' lawyer were not returned.
But right now, the focus remains on Jeffrey Thompson and his associates, and WAMU 88.5 has uncovered more connections to Thompson in Gray's campaign records.
Based on the city's campaign finance reports, company websites, and Internet searches, there appears to be at least $100,000 in donations to the Gray campaign from companies and individuals connected to Thompson. Most of the donations came from employees and their relatives at Thompson's accounting firm and his healthcare company.
Some of these instances are donors to the Gray campaign who, on the surface, appear to have no connection to Thompson. One of those is Ian's Hair Studio in Southeast D.C. But as it turns out, the white, two-story brick building that holds the salon is owned by Thompson, according to city property records.
On Aug. 8, 2010, the Gray campaign reported a pair of $2,000 dollar checks: one from a corporation called Ian's Hair Studio and the other from the salon's owner, Ian Thorne.Money Orders Related to Consolidated Waste Industries Sheet1
Donations to Gray Campaign From Thompson Associates, Companies