D.C. Council member Michael A. Brown said Thursday that police are investigating “unauthorized disbursements” from his campaign account.
A statement issued by the Brown campaign did not disclose the amount of money at stake but said the expenditures had been made by an “individual who has assisted my campaigns for over five years.”
Brown, seeking a second term as an at-large independent, said he discovered the issue while “personally reviewing” his campaign records last Friday. “Upon discovering this disturbing fact, I immediately contacted the Metropolitan Police Department and have since been working in cooperation with the MPD investigation of this matter,” he said in the statement. Police had no immediate comment.
Brown said he has assumed the duties of campaign treasurer, taking over from Hakim J. Sutton, a veteran campaign organizer in the city who has previously worked on campaigns for council members Marion Barry and Kathleen Patterson, as well as Brown’s 2008 campaign.
Sutton declined to comment Thursday afternoon, saying he had just learned of the issue.
According to the most recent report filed with the D.C. Office of Campaign Finance, Brown’s campaign has taken in nearly $148,000 and has spent about $32,000. The campaign reported having $115,515 on hand as of June 10; Sutton signed the report.
In his statement, Brown said he would seek to have an independent auditor review his books “to ensure that all campaign finance activities meet the strictest fiduciary standard.” Caught in his John A. Wilson Building office, he declined to elaborate further. “Maybe later,” he said.
One of his campaign opponents, David Grosso, immediately responded, tweeting that Brown “can’t handle money in any aspect of his life — personal, campaign and of course legislative” — a seeming reference to Brown’s personal financial woes.
UPDATE, 5:10 P.M.: Asher Corson, Brown’s campaign spokesperson, said, “We believe that the fact that the alleged theft was discovered by the candidate reflects well on Michael Brown’s financial oversight.” Corson also said Sutton is no longer with the campaign.
Staff writer Tim Craig contributed to this post.