Another Washington, D.C. politico was recently caught in the legal dragnet precipitated by the schemes of former businessman Jeffrey Thompson.
Thompson pled guilty in March to charges involving his illegal contributions to numerous federal and District of Columbia campaigns. As part of his plea bargain, Thompson agreed to cooperate fully in an ongoing investigation. Since then, several others, including former D.C. council member Michael A. Brown, have been indicted for their involvement in Thompson’s schemes.
In early June, a former candidate for the Council of the District of Columbia, Kelvin Robinson, 53, pled guilty to accepting secret money from Thompson.
On June 23, another former candidate, Jeff Smith, 40, pleaded guilty to a felony charge for filing a false and misleading report with the D.C. Office of Campaign Finance that concealed campaign contributions in excess of those permitted under D.C. campaign finance laws.
While running for the Ward 1 seat in 2010, Smith admitted, more than $140,000 was secretly funneled into his campaign by Thompson. The funds were used for voter registration and get-out-the-vote efforts for Smith’s campaign, but were not included in his campaign finance disclosures.
Thompson is the former chairman, chief executive officer, and majority owner of Thompson, Cobb, Bazilio and Associates, a corporation that provided accounting, management, consulting, and tax services. He also is the former chairman, chief executive officer, and owner of D.C. Healthcare Systems, Inc., an investment holding and for-profit corporation. Both companies generated millions of dollars in government contracts.
“Three months ago, Jeff Thompson’s guilty plea pulled back the curtain on widespread corruption that tainted election after election, year after year in D.C. politics,” U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen said in announcing Smith’s guilty plea. “Today Jeff Smith became the third candidate to stand before a judge and confess to taking Thompson’s secret campaign cash. We commend Jeff Smith for acknowledging his misconduct and will press forward with our efforts to hold accountable all those who participated in under-the-table deals with Jeff Thompson.”
Smith entered his plea in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia before Judge Anita Josey-Herring, who scheduled sentencing for Aug. 28.
The charge of making a false statement or report carries a statutory maximum of five years in prison and potential financial penalties. But, under the court’s voluntary sentencing guidelines, the parties have agreed that Smith instead will face a range of six to 24 months in prison, or, possibly, probation.