The D.C. Council is wrestling with ways to toughen the city's ethics laws. The effort comes as News4 has confirmed a federal grand jury is investigating allegations of corruption in last year's mayor's race.
A federal grand jury is looking into allegations of criminal wrongdoing in connection with Mayor Vincent Gray's campaign last year, sources told NBC Washington.
The mayor has said repeatedly that he's done nothing wrong, but a cloud of possible corruption still hangs over his administration.
Federal law enforcement officials have been looking in to the Gray for Mayor campaign for months -- specifically allegations by minor candidate Sulaimon Brown that he was paid to attack then-Mayor Adrian Fenty on the campaign trail and then got a $110,000-per-year job for his efforts.
The focus has been on campaign Chair Lorraine Green and campaign operative Howard Brooks, who also deny Brown’s allegations and any wrongdoing, sources said. Gray has not been called before the grand jury, according to his lawyer, Robert Bennett.
"I've investigated this thoroughly," Bennett told The Washington Examiner. "There is absolutely no merit to any accusations that Mayor Gray knew or participated or authorized any payments to Sulaimon Brown."
Meanwhile, the D.C. Council is considering a variety of new ethics proposals in the wake of the allegations against Gray, as well as allegations against Council Chairman Kwame Brown and Council member Harry Thomas.
“The whole purpose of it is to create some confidence back in the city government, to show our city is going in the right direction and continue to show that we can police ourselves," Council member Tommy Wells said.
The grand jury is a serious step in the ethics probe, but there's no indication when or if it will take action to indict anyone.