Washington Mayor Vince Gray speaks with Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C. after a news conference about D.C. voting rights, Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2011, on Capitol Hill in Washington. At rear is a bust of former Rep. Sam Rayburn of Texas. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton said on WPFW’s Politics Hour today that she doesn’t plan on returning any political donations from Jeff Thompson—the businessman who funded Mayor Vincent Gray’s shadow campaign.
“I don't have any reason to believe that any of the contributions were illegal," Norton said on the show.
Norton said she’s received money from Thompson throughout her career and has no reason to believe it’s tainted money.
But long time Thompson associate Jeanne Clarke Harris pleaded guilty on campaign corruption charges and said that in 2008 she gave $14,650 of Thompson’s money to federal candidates that were really straw donations.
Norton received $2,300 from Harris that year. Whether or not it was a straw donation is impossible to tell from campaign records, which show that Harris' personal giving to federal candidates and committees that year was $19,250. That means that of the five candidates who got $2,300 donations from Harris that year, two of them might have been received the legitimately, and Norton might have been one of those two.
But—and it's a big but—the same day that Harris gave Norton a $2,300 contribution in 2008, Thompson also donated $2,300. And on top of that, five of his employees or people related to his employees gave $2,300 donations as well. That's not definite proof of any hanky panky, but it certainly should be enough to give Norton pause that all of her donations were legal.
* Mayor Gray’s attorney is accusing the media of rushing to judgment about Gray’s involvement in the shadow campaign that flushed his campaign with $650,000 of illegal money.
According to the Washington Times, Gray’s attorney, Robert Bennett, defended his client in a strongly worded statement Thursday saying that “Mayor Gray is being treated very unfairly by some in the media and those with their own political agendas.”
The statement came just hours after the release of a damning Washington Post poll, which found that 54 percent of city residents think he should resign.
* The latest Obama attack-ad from American Crossroads airing in Virginia:
* NBC sitcom Parks and Recreation was filming in D.C. today.
* Longtime Maryland Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee chairman Brian Frosh confirmed to the Baltimore Sun that he is considering a run for state attorney general.
“I want to be attorney general," Frosh said in an interview with the Sun. "If it looks like the stars are aligned, that's what I’m going to do.”
Current Attorney General Doug Gansler is believed to be running for governor in 2014.
* A coalition of Maryland students, clergy, union members and a university president rallied Wednesday in support of the Maryland Dream Act, a 2011 law that would let some illegal immigrants pay the lower in-state tuition rates at the state’s colleges and universities.
According to the Baltimore Sun, if the law is upheld in a statewide referendum in November, Maryland would be the 13th state in the country to allow such a provision.