D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray commented for the first time Tuesday on an FBI raid that's shaken the city's political establishment.
Federal agents raided the home and offices of one of the city's most prominent businessmen. Jeffrey Thompson, Friday as part of a far-reaching investigation into possible criminal wrongdoing by the mayor's 2010 campaign.
For almost a year, Gray has tried to stick to city business even as a federal probe swirls around his 2010 campaign for mayor with allegations that possibly hundreds of thousands of dollars may have been improperly raised and spent, some of it through money orders designed to hide the source of the cash. Thompson has raised large sums of money for many candidates and has used money orders. He has declined to comment on the raids or his work for Gray.
“Jeff Thompson has been a very successful businessman in the city,” Gray said. “He’s run a leading accounting firm in the city. He’s been involved in health care. So this is a situation that we’ll watch it unfold and see what’s going on here.”
In his first real comments since the Thompson raid, Gray seemed torn between following his lawyers’ advice not to comment at all and wanting to respond that he has done nothing wrong.
He said he feels comfortable with what he has done.
“It was a hectic campaign,” he said. “It was a short period of time – only five months. There was a lot of activity, and of course at the same time, I was still chair of the Council of the District of Columbia, trying to do my job there. So as I look back at my own involvement, it was a lot of activity, and we did it with the utmost integrity.”
Sources close to Gray said the mayor is concerned that people in his campaign, while trying to help him, may have done improper things or violated campaign laws. The FBI raid was seen as a major step in the investigation.
The raid is prompting Ward 6 Council member Tommy Wells to try again to ban all corporate and city contractor donations in city campaigns, a move that failed last year.
Mayor Gray reminded Tuesday that he asked for this investigation and said he'll stay focused on doing his job.