D.C. Attorney General Irv Nathan’s office “will guide investigations into allegations made by former mayoral candidate Sulaimon Brown that he received payments” from Vincent Gray campaign aides to keep up attacks on Adrian Fenty last year, the Washington Post reports. Gray asked Nathan to head up the probe, and Nathan’s office says it will “guide probes launched by the Office of the Inspector General and the Office of Campaign Finance ‘in order to avoid duplication of efforts.’”
In his Washington Examiner column, Harry Jaffe says “the cash payoffs could be Brown’s fiction; they will be the subject of an investigation of some sort. But we know for sure that Gray put the guy on the health care finance agency payroll for $110,000 a year.” Gray’s mistake “was not keeping Brown ‘bought.’ A seasoned political operative would have quietly moved him to another job at another agency, told reporters that his skills were more valuable elsewhere, and the matter would have faded away.”
In an editorial, the Post says Brown’s “disquieting charges must be taken seriously.” Gray, the Post says, has not explained why his administration hired “a man with a spotty background, questionable credentials and a pattern of peculiar behavior that included sending agitating messages to, among others, the mayor-to-be.” The Post also wants to know why Gray campaign consultant Howard Brooks initially said he “didn’t remember calling Mr. Brown, and then, when confronted with cellphone records, declined to comment further without an attorney present.”
Elsewhere in the DMV:
* The Post reports Gray says he “was ‘comfortable’ with a search process that has focused on just one candidate: Interim Chancellor Kaya Henderson.” Asked if he “owed the city a more thorough search for a schools leader -- given the importance of the position and in light of recent disclosures about his administration’s vetting and hiring practices -- Gray said: ‘I think what we owe to citizens is to select the person who is best suited to lead the D.C. public schools.’”
* Jacque Patterson is probably out of the special election race for At-Large D.C. Council, We Love D.C. reports. Interim Councilmember Sekou Biddle challenged the petitions of Patterson, Republican Pat Mara, and progressive favorite Bryan Weaver. Preliminary findings from the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics found Patterson with just 2,217 valid signatures, with 3,000 required.
Mara made the cut, meaning Biddle will still face his most formidable rival, but Weaver came up 52 signatures short. However, the elections office says 261 more Weaver signatures “could be found to be valid, provided DCBOEE receives a change of address form within 10 days of today.” Since Weaver has some dedicated and passionate supporters, he may still be able to pull it off.
* The Post profiles Nicole Pugh, elected advisory neighborhood commissioner in Ward 8’s ANC 8E01, after her write-in vote for herself was enough to put her over the top. The Post writes, “For Pugh, a self-titled policy wonk, joining the lowest rung of D.C. politics means attending endless meetings and no extra money.” But she says, “I don’t have one regret. For some reason I find this reeeally fun.”
* Maryland same-sex marriage legislation is facing a tougher-than-expected time in the House of Delegates, and now, “six openly gay delegates are appealing to their colleagues in a new letter to pass the high-profile legislation,” the Post reports. In the letter, they write, “Colleagues, we need you. … Vote yes because you know it is the right thing to do. Vote yes because you want to stand on the right side of history.”
The Washington Times says that after passing the state senate, the bill “was expected to pass with even less opposition in the more liberal House.” But it “narrowly passed a House committee Friday, with several co-sponsors wavering, and could face an even rougher time when deliberations start Tuesday on the House floor.”
And AMERICAblog says the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, which “took the lead role in repealing California’s marriage law through Prop. 8,” is “gearing up to do the same thing in Maryland if the marriage law passes.”
* The Annapolis Capital writes that today is the Maryland House Judiciary Committee’s “annual ‘gun day,’ when hundreds of Second Amendment and gun control advocates clash over bills intended to shape how Marylanders purchase, carry and use firearms. This year, a dozen gun bills are on the schedule.”
* Center Maryland says Montgomery County state Sen. Rob Garagiola “is in the thick of” the biggest issues up for debate in Annapolis this year, including gay marriage and transportation funding.
* Politicians often get down in the gutter, but the Baltimore Sun says Gov. Martin O’Malley will do so for real today, wading “into a polluted lake on the Eastern Shore to highlight the ills of septic systems.”
* Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who is gearing up for a 2013 run for governor, “plans an aggressive and independent effort through his political operation to play a role” in this year’s legislative elections, the Post reports. His political adviser Noah Wall “said Cuccinelli has no plans to assist any challengers to incumbent Republicans -- a stance that might disappoint activists with Virginia’s tea party groups.”
* The Examiner reports retiring Virginia state Sen. Patsy Ticer “has thrown her support behind Arlington school board chairwoman Libby Garvey as the candidate to replace her.” Del. Adam Ebbin and Alexandria City Councilman Rob Krupicka are also seeking the Democratic nomination.
* Rolling Stone takes on Dan Snyder, “the Play-Doh-brained owner of the Washington Redskins,” over the lawsuit he filed against Washington City Paper “and its reporter Dave McKenna, after McKenna wrote a hilarious and viciously accurate piece called ‘The Cranky Redskins Fan’s Guide to Daniel Snyder.’”