Leading DC Mayoral challenger declines to return Thompson money

WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA9) -- Now convicted felon, Jeffrey Thompson gave out a lot of perfectly legal contributions to D.C. political candidates.

This also includes at least $500 to Mayor Vince Gray's leading challenger in the Democratic primary.

Some candidates have already given back the money from the D.C. businessman who pleaded guilty to financing an illegal shadow campaign to elect Gray.

But at this point, Muriel Bowser is not among them.

Bowser was subpoenaed by the U.S. Attorney in his investigation of now convicted felon Jeffrey Thompson's financing of a shadow campaign for Mayor Vince Gray. But Bowser says that was two years ago, that she cooperated fully, and that it is old news now.

"All of our contributions from everybody, including Mr Thompson, are publicly reported, completely above board, and according to the law," Bowser said.

Bowser walked away at one point, apparently irritated with the questions. "The system has not been enforced for years and years. People who are corrupt are always going to try and get around the law. So we want to be sure those people are brought to justice."

Bowser's 2007 council campaign received at least one contribution directly from Jeffrey Thompson. But she says her current campaign has not gotten a dime.

President Obama, Governor Martin O'Malley, and D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton's campaigns have all returned cash that appeared to be associated with the D.C. businessman. I asked Bowser if she would give the donation back too, and her response was, "We'll we've made our reports, and obviously those campaigns are closed."

Bowser clearly was not Thompson's favorite candidate in that 2007 council race. Thompson admitted in court to funding one of Bowser's opponent's campaign, he gave tens of thousands of dollars to former Councilmember Michael Brown.

"He's already pled guilty," said Bowser. "This is back in February, to taking shadow money, $20,000, I think, in that council race was spent against us."

The list of legal donations Jeffrey Thompson and his company Chartered Health made to all kinds of candidates goes on for page after page. It even includes independent Councilmember David Catania, who pushed an audit that cost Chartered Health millions -- and may have ended up encouraging Thompson to fund the illegal shadow campaign for Mayor Vince Gray.

U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen alleges Thompson won a better settlement of that audit as part of a quid pro quo with Mayor Gray.


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