The D.C. ethics office confirmed Wednesday it's auditing a series of money orders reported as contributions last year by at -large Council member Vincent Orange.
The city ethics review is being called routine and not part of the ongoing federal investigation, which is the more serious investigation and is looking for crimes.
Orange and the D.C. Office of Campaign Finance and Ethics confirmed that Orange's 2011 campaign is the subject of what's being called a routine audit by city ethics officials. The campaign shows a bunch of what Orange now calls suspicious money orders -- all apparently purchased at the same time -- that may be connected to businessman Jeffrey Thompson, whose home and offices were raided March 2 by the FBI. Orange said he's cooperating with the ethics office.
A new flurry of federal grand jury subpoenas for elected officials who over the past eight years have had financial or other support from Thompson was reported Tuesday. Council Chairman Kwame Brown, whose 2008 at-large race already is under federal criminal investigation for unreported contributions and expenses, said neither he nor his campaigns have been subpoenaed in the latest action.
Brown said the subpoenas and controversy over campaign contributions, including suspicious money orders, may require new, tougher campaign finance laws.