Another Gray Campaign Aide Pleads Guilty For Role In Straw Contributions | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : News

Another Gray Campaign Aide Pleads Guilty For Role In Straw Contributions

Play associated audio

A veteran D.C. campaign aide who worked on Mayor Vince Gray's troubled 2010 campaign pleaded guilty to making a false statement to federal officials regarding an investigation into straw contributions made to various local campaigns dating back to 2006.

Vernon Hawkins entered the plea in a D.C. court on Tuesday morning, the day after a criminal information was made public laying out his role in the $653,000 "shadow campaign" that helped get Mayor Vince Gray elected in 2010. Prosecutors said Hawkins gave $8,000 to a caterer who worked on the shadow campaign and persuaded a caterer to leave town for an extended period of time so that they could avoid FBI questioning about the illegal 2010 effort.

The information said that Hawkins worked alongside Jeanne Clarke Harris, who pleaded guilty last year to funneling money to various local campaigns from an unnamed D.C. businessman thought to be Jeffrey Thompson.

The Washington Post reported Monday that Thompson's money wasn't only limited to Gray's 2010 campaign, but also want to at least six other campaigns since 2006. Gray has denied knowing about the shadow campaign funded by Thompson.

“Today Vernon Hawkins became the fourth person to plead guilty to a felony for trying to cover up corruption in the 2010 mayoral election,” said U.S. Attorney for D.C. Ron Machen in a statement.

“Vernon Hawkins was at ground zero of a scheme to design, staff, and execute an off-the-books shadow campaign. After the election, he and his fellow campaign aides sought to impede our investigation by lying to the FBI, shredding documents, creating fake paperwork, and sending witnesses out of the jurisdiction. This guilty plea takes us one step closer to understanding the extent of the deception that tainted the 2010 campaign.”

Other than Hawkins and Harris, former Gray campaign aides Thomas Gore and Howard Brooks pleaded guilty to paying off a third mayoral contender to attack Mayor Adrian Fenty during the 2010 race. Gore was recently sentenced to six months in prison, while Brooks received probation.

Hawkins faces 16 months in prison.

159719428 Vernon Hawkins Information

NPR

From 'Dragon Tattoo' To The 'Spider's Web': Stieg Larsson's Heroine Returns

The late Stieg Larsson's Millennium series of novels is getting an addition, The Girl in the Spider's Web. The book, written by David Lagercrantz, just got its title and a U.S. release date: Sept. 1.
NPR

Our Food-Safety System Is A Patchwork With Big Holes, Critics Say

More than a dozen federal agencies play a part in keeping food from making Americans sick. Critics say the system has gaps, and we'd all be safer if federal food safety efforts were under one roof.
WAMU 88.5

Hogan's Promise To Cut Maryland Taxes Curbed By Lawmakers

In his campaign last year, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan pledged to cut taxes in the state, but so far only two minor measures have made it out of committee.

NPR

If Drones Make You Nervous, Think Of Them As Flying Donkeys

In Africa, where there aren't always roads from point A to point B, drones could take critical medicines to remote spots. But the airborne vehicles make people uneasy for lots of reasons.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.