Biggest takeaways from Jeffrey Thompson’s court hearing today


Jeffrey E. Thompson, middle, appeared in court on Monday to enter a plea for charges filed against him. (Photo by Amanda Voisard/For the Washington Post)

1. “Mayoral candidate A is Vincent Gray.” Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Atkinson confirmed what people close to the investigation had said privately for months. Prosecutors use the phrase in numerous previous court documents to refer to the 2010 mayoral candidate on whose behalf businessman  Jeffrey E. Thompson funneled millions of dollars in illegal campaign contributions. Thompson was pleaded guilty on Monday in U.S. District Court.

2. Not only is Gray the candidate that Thompson helped, prosecutors said —  Gray knew of the scheme and asked for the assistance. Gray personally appealed to Thompson three days before a campaign finance deadline to “accelerate his fundraising,” prosecutors said in court. Thompson came through with checks, many of them “straw donations” from other individuals that were later reimbursed by Thompson. When a key figure in the shadow effort asked Thompson for more than $400,000 to fund a get-out-the-vote campaign, Atkinson said, Thompson insisted that Gray ask for the funds himself. The two men met in a Gray associate’s apartment, where Gray presented him with a one-page budget and “expressed gratitude” to Thompson for his assistance as the meeting ended.

3. Gray understood the need for secrecy in his dealings with Thompson. At a June, 2010 meeting, prosecutors said, Thompson and Gray agreed to refer to Thompson as “Uncle Earl” to hide the campaign dealings. Earl is Thompson’s middle name.

4. Thompson appealed to Gray, through an intermediary, to “expedite” a pending settlement involving Thompson’s firm, D.C. Chartered Health Plan.

5. Prosecutors also implicated another sitting D.C. politician– who sources say is Vincent Orange (D-At Large). Atkinson said an at-large D.C. Council member “was aware” of Thompson’s role in funding a 2011 campaign on that person’s behalf. People familiar with the case say that is Orange, who is currently running for mayor. In an interview Monday before the plea hearing, Orange said “any and all contributions that were made to my campaign were reported.  … Other than that, I had no knowledge of anything else that transpired.”

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Mike DeBonis · March 10