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Council Members Call For Mayor Gray To Resign

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Mayor Vincent Gray spoke about the so-called "shadow campaign" during a press conference on the new Green Alley program early Wednesday.
Patrick Madden
Mayor Vincent Gray spoke about the so-called "shadow campaign" during a press conference on the new Green Alley program early Wednesday.

One day after stunning revelations in court that a secret, "shadow campaign" was waged to help D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray win in 2010, three members of the D.C. Council have now publicly called for Gray to resign.

Council member David Catania was the first to call for Gray's resignation, followed by Mary Cheh and Muriel Bowser. In a statement earlier today, Cheh said that whether or not Gray knew about the massive election fraud that was taking place in his name, he is ultimately responsible. Cheh says stepping down would do a great public service.

The mayor's office has responded, issuing a harsh statement: "This is the kind of irresponsible talk we've come to expect from Council member Catania. It's disappointing, however, that a constitutional scholar of Council member Cheh's caliber would call for a resignation before an investigation is complete."

So far no other council members appear willing to go public and call for Gray to step down other than the three who have done so.

Gray still won't directly comment on the ongoing federal investigation into his 2010 campaign, but with yesterday's guilty plea by Jeanne Clarke Harris in federal court, Gray went further than he ever has before in addressing the corruption surrounding his mayoral campaign at a press conference earlier in the day.

"This was not the campaign I intended to run," said Gray. "I got into this race for the right reasons."

Harris pleaded guilty to conspiring with a District businessman to spend $650,000 in illicit funds on campaign materials, consultants and other expenses. The spending was never reported to the city's Office of Campaign Finance and was used to help Gray defeat then-mayor Adrian Fenty in 2010. Harris is the third person associated with the campaign to plead guilty.

There is no evidence Gray knew about the shadow campaign, but the plea agreement signed by Harris says the off-the-books effort was coordinated with members of Gray's campaign.

Harris also outlined her role in a massive straw donation scheme aimed at skirting contribution limits, which helped Gray, as well as other politicians, fill their war chests with donations. This has prompted the U.S. Attorney to go as far as calling Gray's 2010 campaign "corrupt."

The Mayor also made a point to draw a distinction between the campaign and his record in office, which he says has succeeded at addressing problems in unemployment and law enforcement.

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