What is the deal with Vernon Hawkins?

August 13, 2013

Vernon E. Hawkins, seen during his last days in city government in 1996, reportedly ran the “shadow campaign” in support of Mayor Vincent C. Gray. (Susan Biddle / The Washington Post)

The federal investigation into Mayor Vincent C. Gray’s 2010 campaign and District political corruption generally took a significant step forward Monday with the filing of a charge against Vernon E. Hawkins, the longtime city government employee who has been both a campaign adviser to Gray and a political associate of money man Jeffrey E. Thompson. Now the charge — making false statements to investigators — might seem penny-ante for someone who has been accused of running a massive unreported “shadow campaign” on behalf of the sitting mayor, but consider this: It’s the same charge Gray campaign official Howard L. Brooks pleaded guilty to last year. And to secure that plea deal, which ultimately did not result in jail time, Brooks wore a wire — making secret recordings that led to the conviction of assistant campaign treasurer Thomas W. Gore on more serious obstruction of justice charges. So what sort of cooperation has Hawkins offered or agreed to provide to earn his deal? We may learn more today after he enters his plea in federal court. More from Loose LipsWRC-TVAPWAMU-FMD.C. Crime Stories and WaTimes.

In other news:

Black pastors rally around “ex-gay” gospel singer Donnie McClurkin, who will still be paid $10,000 (PostWJLA-TV)

Tony Cheng brags about his fundraising prowess on wire, says he raised $35,000 for Vince Gray: “Who else can do that?” (Post)

Paramedic shortage meant very few advanced life support ambulances were available over the weekend (Post)

And a faulty fuel gauge on “Medic 1″ meant a presidential motorcade went without an ambulance last week (WaTimesWJLA-TV)

Harry Jaffe says Hawkins charge means “the circle is closing in on the mayor” (Washingtonian)

Mary Cheh talks tough on shadow campaigns: “If somebody comes into office as the beneficiary of the biggest election fraud in the history of the District of Columbia government, then holding that office is untenable” (WTOP)

Hawkins shares a lawyer with Miguel Tejada and Jim McGreevey (Legal Times)

Listen to Nikita Stewart talk about Hawkins, Thompson, Gray and the investigation (WAMU-FM)

Marine dies from gunshot wound in Barracks guard house while reportedly playing “trust” game (PostWRC-TV)

You know, the V Street pop-up “monstrosity” really ain’t so bad (Post column)

NCPC chairman on Height Act: “We don’t see anything overly broken” (U.S. News)

Soccer-stadium critics get their talking points together: “We see the terms as a ‘soccer safety-net’ for DC United” (DCFPI)

Why Baltimore’s anime convention is a big get for Events DC (WBJ)

Dude, an ounce is like a ton of weed (Post)

Youth-basketball mogul Curtis Malone busted on drug charges (City DeskPostD.C. Crime Stories)

The D.C. jail’s video-visitation system hasn’t gotten any better (Post editorial)

Sandblasting snafu means MLK Memorial probably won’t be fixed in time for March on Washington anniversary (PostAP)

More on parking pass program (WAMU-FMDCistGeorgetowner)

The Ed Show takes up the Large Retailer Accountability Act (MSNBC)

Rather than ban smokers from public spaces, why not just ask them nicely not to smoke? (Post letter)

Emergency citizens association meeting on strip club threat! (Patch)

Georgetown’s bohemian epicenter (G’town Metropolitan)

New mural for Shaw features “larger-than-life woman wielding a pencil-shaped gun amid swirling colors” (WaTimes)

Revenue bonds for law enforcement museum hit market (Bloomberg)

The Advoc8te is pumped about mixed-use plans for Congress Heights Metro (CHotR)

“Report: Redskins’ Name Only Offensive If You Think About What It Means” (The Onion)

Mike DeBonis covers local politics and government for The Washington Post. He also writes a blog and a political analysis column that runs on Fridays.
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Mike DeBonis | August 12, 2013