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Posted at 01:59 PM ET, 03/07/2012

Vincent Gray addresses federal raids, investigation


Gray said he hasn’t had contact with money man Jeffrey Thompson in “months.” (Jim Cole - AP)
Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) on Wednesday made his most definitive comments to date on last Friday’s federal raids that targeted key city contractor and political fundraiser Jeffrey E. Thompson.

In the days since, the Post, WUSA-TV, WAMU-FM and Washington City Paper have raised questions about Thompson’s role in giving money order donations to Gray and other city candidates.

The Post previously reported that the Gray campaign accepted cash donations in excess of the $25 legal limit then converted them to money orders.

Agents also raided the home and offices of Jeanne Clarke Harris, a public relations consultant who was paid $20,000 by the Gray campaign and who is also an associate of Thompson’s.

At a news conference Wednesday, Gray reiterated that he had no knowledge of illicit activities on the part of his campaign, including the use of money orders and cash.

“I never had any money orders; I never had any cash,” he said. “Those things I actually brought in were checks.

He added that he only became aware of allegations in the “aftermath of the campaign” and denounced any illegality that might have occurred.

“The bottom line is the rules should have been followed in all instances,” he said.

In an earlier interview, Gray blamed a “truncated campaign” for a lack of oversight. “It was very chaotic,” he said. “You had to trust people to run what they were responsible for.”

Gray also said it has been “a couple of months” since he last saw Thompson, at a social occasion.

After the news conference ended, he told reporters, including The Post’s Nikita Stewart, that he was “absolutely shocked” upon hearing news of the raids on Thompson’s home and offices.

“I’ve acknowledged all along the way that he was a fundraiser for me,” Gray said, also calling Thompson a “prolific fundraiser” and prominent businessman who has also raised money for many other local and federal candidates.

By  |  01:59 PM ET, 03/07/2012

Tags:  Vincent Gray. D.C. city government

 
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