The man whose reelection bid for D.C. mayor ended in a campaign finance scandal and jail time for top staffers came to democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s defense Wednesday while blasting FBI Director James Comey as “reckless.”
Former mayor of Washington, D.C., Vincent Gray expressed his sympathy for Clinton in the wake of the FBI reopening its investigation into her private email server in an editorial in The Washington Post. Gray recalled how he was “sabotaged” by law enforcement who “duped” voters into electing someone else in the 2014 D.C. mayoral race, likening it to Clinton’s current situation.
Gray’s 2010 campaign imploded a week before early voting in the Democratic primary after prosecutors revealed an influential supporter and staff were running an all-cash operation or “shadow campaign” to aid his reelection. This allegedly included $10,000 given to the president of the Washington Teacher’s Union to sway support towards Gray.
“The Justice Department has standards that direct prosecutors and law enforcement officials to avoid the appearance of meddling in elections,” writes Gray. “In my case and Clinton’s as well, these directives were disregarded.”
Jeffrey Thompson, the architect of the shadow campaign, is currently serving a three-month prison sentence after prosecutors convicted him in September of using roughly $800,000 in unreported campaign contributions to fund the scheme. Thompson claimed in court last year Gray knew all about the “shadow campaign,” actively budgeting out the best way to spend the funds.
Thompson, who Gray admitted calling by his alias “Uncle Earl,” also claims he funneled $40,000 to a close friend of Gray’s for home improvements.
“When I heard what prosecutors were alleging, I was dumbfounded,” writes Gray. “FBI Director James Comey dropped a similar bombshell on Clinton’s campaign…Nothing is more important to candidates than the trust they build with voters. Law enforcement has an unrivaled ability to shatter that trust. Accordingly, it should not behave like a bull in a china shop.”
Questions still linger regarding Gray’s role in the 2010 shadow campaign. The Washington Post editorial board wrote April 17 the situation remains mystifying, questioning Gray’s role as well as the credibility of Thompson, simply pointing out there remain more questions than answers.
Gray laments the scrutiny he faced in the media and blames it for his loss to current Mayor Muriel Bowser in the election. In his expert opinion, unlike in his case, the media is reacting properly by going after Comey instead of Clinton.
“Fortunately for Clinton, The Post and most other media organizations are taking a different position today,” Gray writes in the editorial. “There are more voices in the media saying that Comey was wrong, if not reckless, to drop a bombshell in the closing days of an election.”
Gray won the Democratic primary for the D.C. Council in Ward 7 June 14, defeating a key Bowser ally to retake his former seat.
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