Over the last three years, scandal and controversy have descended upon D.C. City Hall. Three Council members have pleaded guilty to felonies, and two of them have been forced to resign. At the same, three people associated with Mayor Vince Gray's 2010 mayoral campaign have pleaded guilty to participating in a straw donation campaign orchestrated by D.C. businessman Jeffrey Thompson, who himself has come under scrutiny by federal investigators. Government advocates have pushed for broad campaign finance reforms and a strong ethical framework, to limited success.
Parcels of city land—often valued at millions of dollars—have been awarded to politically connected developers, some for pennies on the dollar. Since 2008, D.C. lawmakers have approved 20 of these land deals, at a loss of more than $200 million in city assets.
Construction cranes can be seen throughout the District. Less visible are the symbiotic relationships between land developers and city officials awarding tax breaks and discounted land deals. WAMU investigates.
New details are emerging in the hearing for PR executive Eugenia Harris, who has been charged with making straw contributions to candidates, including D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray, and participating as well in a "shadow campaign."
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