JULY 13, 2012
Congress has failed miserably to halt the never-ending corruption that has long plagued local government in Washington D.C., even as its shady mayor (Vincent Gray) gets exposed for his embroilment in a spree of illicit operations.
D.C. has a mayor that’s locally elected and a City Council of 13, but Congress has ultimate authority over the municipality of about 620,000 residents. Incredibly, federal lawmakers have simply looked the other way as political corruption spreads like wild fire in a city that, ironically, houses all three branches of the federal government—executive, legislative and judicial.
Most recently Mayor Gray’s close associate and top campaign aide pleaded guilty to funneling money from a wealthy D.C. businessman into his 2010 mayoral campaign. The aide, a veteran political activist in the area, became the third person tied to Gray’s campaign to plead guilty, according to news reports. Federal prosecutors say the aide orchestrated a “shadow campaign” involving straw donors and more than $650,000 in secret money.
Earlier this year Gray, who once headed the District’s Department of Human Services, was accused of operating a seedy cash-for-campaign scheme during the 2010 mayoral race. Federal authorities launched a probe after a disgruntled Gray staffer (Sulaimon Brown) revealed that members of his mayoral campaign gave him envelops stuffed with cash and money orders to stay in the race and maintain a verbal assault on incumbent Adrian Fenty. Gray has hired Bill Clinton’s sex-scandal lawyer (Robert Bennett) to defend him. (Incidentally, Brown contacted Judicial Watch to question our characterization of him as a disgruntled Gray staffer.We stand by the description).
The mayor has also come under fire for a number of other transgressions. Shortly after swearing in he hired an army of senior staffers with lucrative salaries while the city suffers through a painful $400 million budget shortfall. Among Gray’s highly-paid employees are the son of his chief of staff and the daughter of a close adviser.
Less than a year after becoming mayor, Gray made D.C. an illegal immigrant sanctuary, signing an executive order banning police and other city agencies from asking people about immigration status. The order also guarantees that local law enforcement officials will not detain illegal aliens, report them to federal agencies or even make them available for federal immigration interviews without a court order.
Would you want this guy to run your city? Even those who once supported Gray have turned on him and are calling for his resignation. In a piece published by the Washington Post, a black D.C. newspaper columnist writes that Gray is an embarrassment to the District. He recalls as a kid hearing that Mayor Marion Barry got caught smoking crack. “I remember thinking in coming days that I’d never feel as bad about my hometown as I did that day,” he writes. “I was wrong,” referring to Gray.
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