The Washington Post

Kwame Brown gives deposition in campaign finance probe

Investigators took a deposition from D.C. Council Chairman Kwame R. Brown (D) for nearly two hours Monday as part of an Office of Campaign Finance probe into his 2008 campaign spending.

Brown was put under oath around 10 a.m. in the office of his attorney, Frederick D. Cooke. When Brown emerged around noon, he refused to comment, quickly ducking into an elevator and ignoring questions from The Washington Post.

But Cooke, speaking on his client’s behalf, said Brown “continues to cooperate with the investigation.”

“We are happy to complete the interview today and look forward to bringing this to some closure,” Cooke said.

Last month, the OCF released an audit that found Brown failed to initially report several hundred thousand dollars in contributions and expenses from his 2008 reelection campaign. Auditors also alleged that some of Brown’s campaign funds went to his brother, Che Brown, for work he performed on the campaign.

Brown was deposed by William Sanford, the OCF’s general counsel, and Jean Diggs, another lawyer in the office. Renee Coleman, the audit manager, also attended.

Neither Sanford nor Diggs was immediately available for comment.

It’s unclear why the OCF decided to interview Brown this week, but the agency is widely believed to be in the final stages of its investigation.

Once the probe is completed, Brown could be fined, or the matter could be referred to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Cooke stressed that it’s not uncommon for an elected official to be deposed after the release of an OCF audit.

“You have to have an audit to see if there is something to look at,” said Cooke, who declined to comment further because, he said, Brown is trying to “respect the process.”

Tim Craig is The Post’s bureau chief in Pakistan. He has also covered conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and within the District of Columbia government.

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