D.C. prosecutors: We won’t oppose light sentence for candidate who pleaded guilty


Jeff Smith (2007 photo) (Kevin Clark/The Washington Post)

Local prosecutors are asking a D.C. Superior Court judge to sentence a former Ward 1 D.C. Council candidate to up to two years in jail for pleading guilty for violating the city’s campaign fund rules and illegally accepting $140,000 during his failed 2010 bid against Jim Graham.

Jeff Smith is scheduled to be sentenced in court on Thursday. On Monday, prosecutors submitted a 13-page memo to the court asking Judge Anita Josey-Herring to sentence Smith, 40, to between six and 24 months in jail.

According to charging documents, between 2009 and 2010, Smith, with the help of D.C. businessman Jeffrey E. Thompson, made “false and misleading reports to the Office of Campaign Finance.” 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.

Smith, who pled guilty to the charges in June, had served as executive director for D.C. Voice, an educational reform group. According to prosecutors, Smith received about $88,000 of the total via an unnamed Charter School known was “Charter School A” to whom Thompson made the checks out to through a “pass-through” scheme. As part of the scheme, the school’s president then wrote cashier’s checks to an unnamed company that Smith’s campaign manager operated. The money was then used by Smith for his campaign. Prosecutors said three checks were passed between Thompson, the school, the company and Smith’s campaign.

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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 slain federal intern Chandra Levy.

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