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Gray Called On To Explain Shadow Campaign

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District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray, here taking questions before the New Hampshire House in January, is facing further calls to explain himself.
AP Photo/Jim Cole
District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray, here taking questions before the New Hampshire House in January, is facing further calls to explain himself.

For the second straight day, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray has told reporters he is not resigning, but pressure is mounting for the mayor to explain what he knew about a secret, shadow campaign that was waged on his behalf.

More calls for Gray to speak

D.C. Congressional Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton is the latest person — and the most significant public official — to call on Gray to explain what he knew about the shadow campaign.

This week, Gray campaign consultant Jeanne Clarke Harris admitted in court to helping orchestrate an off-the-books campaign totalling more than $650,000 to help Gray defeat Adrian Fenty in 2010. 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' guilty plea prompted three members of the D.C. Council — David Catania, Mary Cheh and Muriel Bowser — to publicly call for Gray's resignation.

In a statement, Norton says the Mayor has an obligation to clear this matter up quickly, and called the criminal conduct by his aides revealed in court "deeply disturbing." Norton says she doesn't believe Gray should resign.

Gray says he would like to talk freely about the federal investigation, but on advice of his attorney, he will not comment on the situation. The Mayor further says he is disappointed that several council members have called for him to step down, noting that he hasn't been charged with any wrongdoing.

More improprieties surface

Campaign workers for embattled D.C. Mayor told The Associated Press earlier Thursday that day laborers who worked at polling places on Gray's behalf in 2010 were routinely paid $100 in cash — twice the legal limit.

In addition, an AP review found that the cash payments to poll workers were later disguised on campaign finance reports as "consulting fees'' to campaign staffers and volunteers. The campaign volunteers say they were not paid consultants.

Cash payments to poll workers are limited to $50 in the District under a law intended to ensure transparency.

Gray's campaign is the subject of a long-running federal investigation, but there's no indication that authorities are investigating the payments to poll workers.

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