CFederal authorities have determined that an illegal shadow campaign helped get D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray elected on 2010.
According to testimony documented in federal court on July 10, Eugenia "Jeanne" Clarke Harris admitted that $650,000 in illicit funding which helped pave the way for Gray to take the helm, was provided by a District businessman. She acknowledged that the money – that went unreported to the D.C. Office of Campaign Finance– was used for supplies, consultants' fees and other expenses for Gray.
"The 2010 mayoral election was corrupted," Ronald Machen, U. S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, said in an interview. "The mayoral campaign was compromised by back room deals, secret payments and flood of unreported cash."
A cover-up to mislead authorities began last year after an investigation was launched into Gray's campaign. In doing so, documents were forged and/or shredded, and tax returns for Harris's public relations firm, Belle International, were amended.
Harris, 75, a public relations executive, pleaded guilty to three federal and local charges. She has not been sentenced, but could reportedly face a prison term of two to three years and $60,000 in fines.
According to Harris's plea agreement, the businessman -- vaguely referred to as Jeffrey Thompson -- is listed a co-conspirator No. 1. He has not been charged, but the funds he provided were funneled through Belle International between late July and Sept. 14, 2010.
Gray, who once hired Harris as a communications consultant, has not been named in any court documents. But as a result of the improprieties aligned with Harris, his administration has marked its third credibility blow since May.
Meanwhile, Machen has vowed to continue the investigation until all parties involved have been held accountable.