D.C. businessman Jeffrey E. Thompson pleaded guilty on Monday to illegally funneling more than $2 million to Vincent C. Gray’s successful 2010 mayoral bid, Hillary Rodham Clinton’s 2008 presidential run and the campaigns of other candidates in local and federal elections.
Here are key details from the 33-page statement of offense that Thompson signed and prosecutors filed in federal court:
●Before Gray announced he was entering the mayoral race on March 10, 2010, Thompson — then the chief executive of D.C. Chartered Health Plan, a major city contractor — told Gray associates that he was willing to support Gray “based on an expectation” that Gray’s election “would improve the business climate for Chartered.” Thompson told Gray that he could not support him “in a public manner because such support would lead to retribution by the then-current Mayor and worsen the business climate for Chartered.”
●Gray later asked Thompson to “expedite his fundraising” so Gray could report that his campaign “raised more contributions during the prior three-month period than any other candidate’s principal campaign committee.”
To keep Thompson’s support for Gray from becoming public, Thompson told Gray to refer to him as “Uncle Earl.” Over the next three days, Thompson got people to donate to Gray, “assured such individuals that they would be reimbursed for their contributions, and subsequently reimbursed them for those contributions.”
●In August 2010, a month before the Democratic primary, Gray adviser Vernon Hawkins sought Thompson’s support to fund a $425,000 get-out-the-vote effort. Thompson said Gray would have to make the request himself. Gray’s public relations consultant, Jeanne Clark Harris, arranged a dinner meeting for the two men at her apartment. (Both Hawkins and Harris have pleaded guilty for their roles in the scheme).
“Thompson told Mayoral Candidate A that Thompson’s payment for the get out the vote campaign would pass through Harris. . . . Mayoral Candidate A expressed gratitude for Thompson’s agreement to pay for the GOTV campaign and referred to Thompson as ‘Uncle.’ ”
●After Gray won the September primary, Thompson said he paid $10,000 to a family member of Gray’s to help cover campaign expenses. After Gray won the November general election, Thompson said he paid another $10,000 at Gray’s request to support a candidate in a local union runoff election and $40,000 in home renovation costs for a “close personal friend” of Gray’s.
●Eight months after Gray became mayor, Thompson asked Harris to ask Gray to speed up a settlement agreement between the city and Chartered. “Shortly thereafter, Thompson learned that the District of Columbia government would proceed in resolving the matter with Chartered.”
●In 2007, when Michael Brown was a candidate for the Ward 4 D.C. Council seat, Brown sought a contribution from Thompson. But “Thompson could not publicly support Brown’s campaign” because then-Mayor Adrian M. Fenty supported another candidate in the race: the eventual winner, Muriel Bowser. So Thompson set up secret payments to Brown’s campaign, as he did again in 2008, when Brown ran for an at-large council seat.
● In 2010, a D.C. Council candidate in Ward 6, identified by sources familiar with the case as Kelvin Robinson, a former high-ranking official in Mayor Anthony Williams’s administration, “sought Thompson’s financial support for the election.” Thompson provided “more than $26,000” in unreported, secret payments.
●In 2011, a candidate for an at-large council seat, identified by sources familiar with the case as Vincent Orange, met with Thompson to discuss his electability. Thompson conducted a poll and decided to support him.
On March 10, a deadline for candidates to report their contributions to the city, “Thompson put Candidate D in an office at [Thompson’s company] to solicit donors by phone, while Thompson solicited contributions, including conduit contributions, in support of Campaign D by phone from another office.”
“At the end of the evening on March 10, 2011, Campaign D filed a report . . . that reported more contributions . . . than any other candidate’s principal campaign committee,” the statement says. “The majority of contributions reported as received by Campaign D were for contributions reimbursed directly and indirectly by Thompson.” In all, the documents say, Thompson gave $148,146 to Orange’s shadow campaign.
●Not all of Thompson’s illegal contributions involved local D.C. candidates. He funneled money to candidates for president, the Senate and the House. “Between 2006 and 2012, Thompson utilized at least 32 conduits to make contributions to at least 13 federal candidates and PAC 1 in excess of at least $250,000.”
In 2008, a Texas resident who supported “Presidential Campaign 1” — according to sources familiar with the case, this was Clinton’s bid for the presidential nomination — “asked Thompson to fund street teams that would be paid to assist Presidential Campaign 1 during upcoming primary elections.” The effort began in Texas, where Thompson sent $230,000 to pay “street team members and canvassers” to disseminate material. Similar efforts took place in Pennsylvania, Indiana, North Carolina and Puerto Rico.
“Thompson authorized approximately $611,500 to be transferred . . . in support of Presidential Campaign 1,” contributions that “were never reported to the FEC because Thompson knew that funding this effort violated federal campaign finance laws.”