The challenges to Mayor Vincent Gray (D) seem to be mounting.
A July 19 article by The Washington Post reporter Nikita Stewart alleges that cash donations to Gray’s 2010 mayoral campaign may have exceeded the legal limit and some recorded contributions could not be traced back to donors.
The report further claims the campaign exchanged cash for money orders and failed to report cash donations, and that among 233 questionable money orders, a majority came from the District’s taxi industry.
In response to the article, Mayor Gray issued a statement, apologizing to the city’s residents for the “unresolved issues” from his mayoral campaign that are still under investigation.
“The story published in today’s Post raises serious questions about my mayoral campaign. I regret that unresolved issues from the campaign continue to surface,” he stated July 19.
Gray seemed to attribute the growing number of questions surrounding the campaign to a “tight” schedule. He said he trusted his campaign workers to follow campaign rules and regulations, but added that he was willing to accept responsibility for any malfeasance.
“Last year, we mounted a grass-roots mayoral campaign and won within a brief six-month time frame,” Gray stated. “The schedule was very tight, and I had to trust people to properly carry out the duties for which they were responsible.
“But obviously, if mistakes were made, the campaign should be held accountable.”
Wesley Williams, spokesman for the Office of Campaign and Finance, told the Post that the allegations made against Gray are serious.
“You’re not allowed to knowingly accept and turn it into money orders,” Williams said. He added that contributor s could make money orders themselves, but the campaign cannot make the money order for them.
This news follows recent allegations made by former mayoral candidate Sulaimon Brown, who accused the mayor of engaging in pay-to-play politics. After several hearings led by Council member Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3), Brown told the D.C. Council that Gray was aware of underhand payments made to Brown—who was later hired to a $110,000 salary job in the administration—to help Gray win against former Mayor Adrian Fenty.
The subcommittee will likely release its findings at the end of summer.
Nathan Price, president of the D.C. Professional Taxicab Drivers Association, said the taxicab industry raised thousands of dollars in cash for the mayor’s campaign. But mentioned that he did not know how many drivers gave more than $25, the cap for cash contributions.
The investigation has been handed over to the campaign and finance office, according to the article. Gray said he will continue to proceed with city business while allegations are reviewed.
“As the investigations of the mayoral campaign continue, neither I nor my administration will be distracted from continuing the important work we are mandated to do for the residents of the District of Columbia,” he stated.