Allegations of Brown's Campaign Fraud Fizzle
12/12/2012, 2:26 p.m.
The allegations of campaign finance fraud by D.C. Council member Vincent Orange and former Board of Elections Chairman Togo West that led to former Council Chairman Kwame Brown's resignation, appear to have been put to rest following his sentencing last month on bank fraud charges.
The alleged improprieties -- for which federal prosecutors have yet to sufficiently substantiate -- surrounded a federal investigation into Brown' 2008 campaign, which was triggered during Orange's 2010 bid for the chairman's seat. In the uncontested 2008 race for council member, Brown raised $825,000. However, it was after Orange initiated an investigation, that campaign officials revealed discrepancies and irregularities.
At issue was more than $270,000 that had not been reported; and $239,000 that was routed through a company before ending up at a firm run by Brown's brother, Che Brown.
A. Scott Bolden, who is Che Brown's attorney, emphasized in published reports that while the expenses were campaign-related, documentation was problematic, and that all supporting documents were given to prosecutors.
Che Brown, is expected to plead guilty on Dec. 13 to bank fraud charges after falsely telling a mortgage company that he earned $35,000 in income in 2010.
Meanwhile, Bolden, said the cloud over the Brown family should be lifted.
"My client, Che Brown, was charged with bank fraud -- not campaign finance fraud or theft or anything remotely related to his role in his brother's political campaign," said Bolden, who emphasized that Che Brown had entered a guilty plea, not to political corruption, but to his personal mistakes.
"In fact, none of these alleged funds were ever stolen or misappropriated by Che Brown, and all of these funds have been accounted for," Bolden said. "Regardless of whether the U.S. Attorney, the media or political observers believe this to be the case, no charges have or should be brought against my client for theft of campaign funds or political corruption."
Kwame Brown, 42, also pleaded guilty to inflating his income for a home equity loan application nearly seven years ago. This put a pin in a once-promising political career, where over a relatively short time, Brown ascended to the second-highest elected office in the District. However, he paid off the loan in its entirety five years ago, and the bank suffered no lost.
The former chairman was sentenced last month to one day in the custody of federal marshals, and two years of supervised release and community service.