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WASHINGTON (AP) - A D.C. councilmember says a longtime campaign operative has been stealing money from his campaign account.

Councilmember Michael Brown issued a statement Thursday saying that he discovered the theft while personally reviewing his campaign finance reports. He says he immediately contacted D.C. police, who are now investigating.

Brown declined to reveal the name of the alleged thief because of the ongoing investigation. He says the person had been assisting his campaigns for more than five years.

The councilmember, an at-large independent, says he will personally take over the duties of campaign treasurer. Hakim Sutton had been serving as his treasurer. Brown also plans to bring in an independent auditor to go over his campaign's books.

Brown is seeking a second term this fall and faces several challengers.

Below is the text of the statement issued by Brown's re-election campaign:

"While personally reviewing my campaign finance records on June 22nd, I discovered information which indicated that unauthorized disbursements had been made from the campaign bank account by an individual who has assisted my campaigns for over five years. Upon discovering this disturbing fact, I immediately contacted the Metropolitan Police Department and have since been working in cooperation with the MPD investigation of this matter."

"As the one who discovered the alleged theft, I have decided to personally take over as the treasurer of my re-election campaign. To demonstrate my commitment to operate the campaign books transparently and ethically, I will bring in an independent auditor to ensure that all campaign finance activities meet the strictest fiduciary standards."

"At this time, neither I, nor my campaign will have any further comment on the ongoing criminal investigation. However, I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to our hardworking and talented Metropolitan Police Department."


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