Former Ward 6 candidate Kelvin Robinson charged in D.C. campaign finance scheme

A former D.C. Council candidate who prosecutors say had ties with businessman Jeffrey E. Thompson was charged Tuesday with violating city campaign finance laws to help fund his two 2010 primary campaigns.

Kelvin Robinson, 53, was charged in D.C. Superior Court with conspiring to defraud the D.C. Office of Campaign Finance by receiving over $33,000 in campaign contributions, far more than D.C. law permits, and then concealing those contributions by failing to accurately report the amount of money he received.

The felony charge carries a maximum of five years in prison and potential financial penalties. No court date has been set.

According to prosecutors, between May 2010 and February 2011, Robinson, along with Thompson and another participant, Jeanne Clarke Harris, entered into an agreement to obstruct the campaign laws when Robinson was given about $7,500 for his campaign for an at-large seat, which he later abandoned. Robinson then was given about $26,000 by Thompson to fund his campaign for the Ward 6 council seat, which he lost in the Democratic primary.

Prosecutors said Robinson then filed false and misleading contribution reports to the Office of Campaign Finance.


Kelvin J. Robinson (Kelvin J. Robinson)

An attorney for Robinson, who served as the chief of staff to former mayor Anthony A. Williams (D) from 2001 to 2004, did not respond to an e-mail seeking comment.

In March, Thompson pleaded guilty in federal court to funding a “shadow” campaign to help Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) win the 2010 mayoral election by pumping more than $660,000 in donations into the campaign.

In 2012, Harris, also a supporter of Gray’s, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to making unreported payments to help finance Gray’s campaign. Gray’s 2010 campaign has been the subject of an ongoing federal investigation since the spring of 2011.

Gray has not been charged with a crime and was not linked to Robinson’s indictment.

Robinson is the first alleged recipient of Thompson’s largesse to be charged since Thompson pleaded guilty to the conspiracy charge in March.

At a news conference after the plea, U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. urged Thompson’s co-conspirators to come forward

“If you participated in backroom, under-the-table deals with Jeff Thompson, I urge you to come forward now and own up to your conduct,” Machen said. “I promise you, we are not going away.”

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Keith Alexander covers crime, specifically D.C. Superior Court cases for The Washington Post. He has covered dozens of crime stories from Banita Jacks, the Washington woman charged with killing her four daughters, to the murder trial of intern Chandra Levy.
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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