Thompson boosted the mayoral campaign of Linda W. Cropp, a Democrat, seven years ago with more than $100,000 in alleged illegal spending, the people said. He allegedly spent smaller amounts on behalf of former council member Michael A. Brown and the insurgent council candidacies of Patrick D. Mara, a Republican, and Mark H. Long, an independent, in 2008. And he allegedly spent still more in 2010 for council hopefuls Jeff Smith and Kelvin Robinson, both Democrats, and in 2011 for council member Vincent B. Orange (D-At Large).
Though the sums of money were significantly smaller than the amount that went into what has become known as the “shadow campaign” for Gray in 2010, such expenditures could reveal a pattern in which Thompson appears to have wielded vast influence for years over the District’s political process.
Cropp and Mara denied any knowledge of the payments, as Gray has done regarding the alleged secret effort to help him in 2010. The other candidates either couldn’t be reached or, through attorneys, declined to comment.
That keeps the focus of a
2-year investigation into political corruption in the District, for now, on Thompson.
Prosecutors appear to be methodically building a case against Thompson, who was for years one of the District’s largest contractors and who, court records suggest, is the subject of a grand jury investigation.
An individual matching Thompson’s description has been mentioned on numerous occasions in court documents as allegedly funding the “shadow campaign” for Gray (D) as well as arranging illegal “straw” donations made with his own money but disclosed as coming from employees and other associates.
While declining to comment on any particular allegations of wrongdoing, Bill Miller, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office, issued a statement Friday that said: “It is clear from our office’s public corruption prosecutions over the past several years that we will not excuse criminal activity as business as usual. We plan to continue vigorously investigating and prosecuting crimes that deprive D.C. voters of the fair and transparent elections that they deserve.”
Most recently, Thompson secretly paid for T-shirts, campaign signs and field workers in 2011 to help return Orange to office, the individuals asserted. In that campaign, Orange relied on some of the same players implicated in the parallel campaign for Gray the prior year.