News & Politics

Jeffrey Thompson Charged With Conspiracy

Thompson is charged with financing "shadow campaigns" on behalf of DC Mayor Vince Gray and many other candidates.

Jeffrey Thompson. Screenshot via C-SPAN.

Businessman and longtime DC government contractor Jeffrey Thompson was charged today with two conspiracy charges in connection with allegations that he funded a “shadow campaigns” behalf of numerous local and federal candidates, according to a criminal information document filed by US Attorney Ron Machen. A criminal information suggests that Thompson will plead guilty when he appears in court Monday afternoon after a three-year investigation.

Thompson is charged with one federal count of conspiracy to defraud and one District count of conspiracy to commit a crime. According to the charging document, Thompson allegedly used the businesses he ran to funnel $668,800 in “excessive and unreported” donations to a mayoral campaign in 2010. Prosecutors also allege that Thompson acted “in coordination with and in support” of the candidate. Details in the criminal information make clear that Mayor Vince Gray’s campaign was the beneficiary.

Additionally, Thompson is also charged with financing illicit donations to seven other candidates in city elections, including a 2006 mayoral candidate who received about $278,000 in unreported aid, several candidates in races for at-large seats on the DC Council, and candidates in wards 1, 4, and 6.

The federal count against Thompson alleges he funneled unreported money to at least 13 candidates between 2006 and 2012, including a 2008 presidential campaign that received $608,750. A guilty plea entered last year by one of Thompson’s former associates revealed that effort was waged on behalf of Hillary Clinton.

In total, proseuctors allege that Thompson, going back to 2006, spent almost $2 million to illicitly wire money to more than a dozen candidates for District offices, including schemes that used as many as 75 individuals to make straw contributions.

But the biggest single shadow campaign Thompson is accused of financing is the one on behalf of Gray’s 2010 mayoral bid. The criminal information does not mention the mayor by name, though Machen’s investigation has yielded guilty pleas by four of Gray’s former campaign associates. Gray himself has not been accused of any wrongding.

Gray’s 2014 campaign manager, Chuck Thies, sounds vindicated about the Thompson charges. “Mayor Gray called for this investigation,” he tells Washingtonian by text message. “People who break laws must face justice.”

In a later statement from Gray’s campaign, Thies says he expects Gray’s opponents in the current mayoral campaign to add the charges against Thompson to their talking points.

“We urge the media to be cautious when reporting the facts of this case and avoid the innuendo that our political opponents will gladly promote as gospel,” Thies says.

Thompson will appear in US District Court at 1:30 PM today. Read the criminal information below.

Jeffrey E. Thompson criminal information by Benjamin Freed

Staff Writer

Benjamin Freed joined Washingtonian in August 2013 and covers politics, business, and media. He was previously the editor of DCist and has also written for Washington City Paper, the New York Times, the New Republic, Slate, and BuzzFeed. He lives in Adams Morgan.