Jeffrey Thompson, a major Democratic donor who became wealthy by providing corporate services to the government of the District of Columbia, pled guilty on Monday in federal court to two felony charges of making illegal campaign contributions to local and federal elections.
U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Ron Machen, who prosecuted the case, said in a press conference after Thompson entered his guilty plea that Thompson’s illegal donations to two Washington, D.C. mayoral elections and six city council elections were nearly $2 million. Thompson’s illegal donations to one 2008 Democratic presidential campaign exceeded $800,000.
Machen claimed that Thompson implicated two high profile District of Columbia politicians and one “senior advisor” to a 2008 presidential campaign in his illegal scheme. Though Machen did not name either the presidential campaign or the “senior advisor,” the Washington Post has reported the campaign was Hillary Clinton’s and the “senior advisor” is long time Clinton confidante Minyon Moore.
Under the plea deal, Thompson could serve as little as six months in jail if he fully and truthfully cooperates with federal prosecutors who are currently building cases against Thompsons’ unindicted co-conspirators. Machen said that list included political candidates, public officials, and political operatives.
Machen said that Thompson “admitted to bankrolling efforts to secretly inject millions of dollars into local and federal elections.” He added that “DC campaigns have been compromised by covert corporate money for years….Jeffrey Thompson’s guilty plea pulls back the curtain to expose widespread corruption.”
Machen specifically named only one of these high profile politicians, Michael Brown, the former District of Columbia city councilman and son of the late Commerce Secretary Ron Brown, who served in President Clinton’s administration.
According to Machen, Thompson “agreed to pay off a competing campaign [in 2006], that of Michael Brown, to drop out of the race and endorse his preferred candidate.” Brown was paid “$200,000 up front” and also received a “$150,000 consulting contract” to drop out of the race.
Thompson also admitted that in 2008 he “funded a $100,000 shadow campaign that led to Michael Brown’s election to the [Washington, D.C.] city council.”
Machen said that in 2010, Thompson provided “$650,000 in [illegal] funding for mayoral campaign A.” According to Machen, mayoral candidate A won the election.
Though Machen never identified current Washington, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray as mayoral candidate A, Gray was the successful candidate in the 2010 election.
At the time, Machen said, Thompson’s company, DC Charter, had a $300 million contract with the District of Columbia city government, and Thompson thought mayoral candidate A would help him maintain and improve his contractual relationship with the city better than the then-incumbent mayor.
Machen said that “in June of 2010, mayoral candidate A came back to Thompson asking for more help.” Thompson, concerned that his open identification as a supporter of mayoral candidate A could lead to retribution from the then-incumbent mayor, insisted that mayoral candidate A refer to him as “Uncle Earl” in all their dealings, and mayoral candidate A complied.
Machine said that mayoral candidate A personally asked Thompson to fund a $425,000 budget for get-out-the-vote activities, and Thompson complied with that request.
After mayoral candidate A was elected, Machen said, Thompson requested that mayoral candidate A expedite a settlement agreement between his company, DC Charter, and the District of Columbia government, and mayoral candidate A, now the mayor, complied.
Mayor Vincent Gray quickly denied any wrong doing, but former U.S. Attorney Joseph diGenova told local Washington television station WJLA it is now only a matter of time until Mayor Gray is indicted or cuts a deal with the prosecution.
Thompson also admitted to spending more than $600,000 on illegal federal campaign donations used to promote the campaign of a Democratic candidate for president in 2008 (identified in the press as the Hillary Clinton campaign) in the states of Texas, Indiana, Pennyslvania, North Carolina, and in the territory of Puerto Rico.
In September 2013 Troy White pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge as the political operative who received and spent these illegal funds.
Image source: WJLA TV