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Posted at 01:30 PM ET, 01/05/2012

D.C. Council member Harry Thomas Jr.: A primer

Harry Thomas Jr (TWP)
This post has been updated. Here’s a guide to Harry Thomas Jr. (D- Ward 5), the D.C. council member accused of diverting more than $300,000 in public funds earlier this year and who was charged with theft Thursday morning. View the charging documents here.

Thomas’s home was searched by federal agents in early December as part of an ongoing probe of District government officials. Agents seized a motorcycle and sport-utility, among other items.

D.C. Attorney General Irvin B. Nathan sued Thomas this summer, saying the Ward 5 Democrat arranged to have more than $300,000 in public funds diverted to groups he controlled. Irvin alleges that Thomas used some of the money for personal purchases, including an Audi SUV. Thomas has denied any wrongdoing, but has since agreed to repay the missing funds.

In November, Thomas requested emergency authorization of $5 million in public money to assist in restoring a privately owned historic farmers market in his ward. His request was denied, and the owner of the market told The Washington Post that it “has not requested any public assistance money from the city.”

In March, the District’s campaign finance office told Thomas that it would investigate allegations that he did not fully disclose financial dealings with organizations he ran.

Thomas isn’t the only council member to grapple with criticism over how they spend public funds. Council Chairman Kwame R. Brown (D) was criticized earlier this year for leasing two black Lincoln Navigators using taxpayer funds. Finance records show that Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) has spent $135,897 for professional sports tickets from his constituent services fund.

What’s happening now: Post reporters Mike DeBonis and Tim Craig are on the scene near Thomas’s Northeast home. (Read the latest story here.) Here are a few of their [admittedly entertaining] tweets:

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