You know politicians are scared when they lawyer up. So it may help to understand the constellation of scandals involving DC political leaders by following the lawyers. To answer charges he paid another mayoral candidate to harass rival Adrian Fenty during last year's campaign, Mayor Vincent Gray has hired top-drawer defense attorney Robert Bennett. Howard Brooks, a Gray aide implicated in the payoff case, has hired former Prince George's County state's attorney Glen Ivey. In hot water on other matters, DC Council chair Kwame Brown and two other council members have brought on Frederick Cooke Jr. The lawyer at the center of all this is Ronald Machen, US Attorney for the District of Columbia. A Detroit native with no political debts in DC, Machen will decide whether to investigate cases and bring indictments–probably this summer or fall.
Mayor Vincent Gray
2 Gray had to suffer the consequences for allowing appointees to hire their friends and family for highly paid political jobs. Most didn’t last.
Council Chair Kwame Brown
2 DC’s Office of Campaign Finance slammed Brown for funneling $239,000 in 2008 campaign funds to a firm controlled by his brother, whose company can’t account for $170,000. The DC Board of Elections and Ethics has asked Machen to review the case.
Ward 1 Council Member Jim Graham
2 He didn’t accept it, but neither did he report the bribe attempt.
Ward 7 Council Member Yvette Alexander
2 Constituents in her ward, one of the city’s poorest, filed a complaint with DC’s Office of Campaign Finance alleging that Alexander had redirected money from her fund for personal use, for political purposes, and to reward a politically connected developer. A Washington Times review showed she had used less than 5 percent of the more than $120,000 she’d received since 2007 to help constituents.
At-large Council Member Michael A. Brown
2 He introduced legislation to allow online gambling in the District while he was working for a lobbying firm that advises online-gambling firms.
Ward 5 Council Member Harry “Tommy” Thomas Jr.
2 Machen’s investigators are reviewing the case for potential criminal prosecution.
Ward 8 Council Member Marion Barry
2 He drove a silver 2002 Jaguar with expired license plates registered to a BMW that he no longer owns.
3 He didn’t pay federal or local taxes for many years. Both governments are garnishing his wages for back taxes.