Gray Responds to Congressional Probe of Sulaimon Brown Allegations
Sulaimon Brown alleged that the Gray mayoral campaign paid him to attack Mayor Fenty during the campaign; Gray responds.
This story has been updated as of 5:58 p.m. with a statement from Mayor Gray:
Congress is stepping into D.C. affairs again, not over budgetary concerns, but over campaign issues. According to the Washington Post, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform is taking a special interest in the allegations raised by Sulaimon Brown: namely that Gray promised and gave him a job in his administration and that the Gray campaign paid Brown for his attacks on Mayor Adrian Fenty.
Brown was removed from his $110,000 a year position in the Department of Health Care Finance after reporters questioned his qualifications and brought to light previous run-ins with law enforcement.
The Committee, according to the Post, received little cooperation from Gray's campaign staff, many of whom are now part of his administration. Among the uncooperative is former Gray Chief of Staff, Geri Mason Hall, who resigned/was fired Wednesday largely because of the Brown controversy.
In a statement yesterday, Mason Hall wrote about her departure, “I refuse to let my presence be the focal point of the administration and the reason why Mayor Gray’s progress is not getting the attention it deserves." A day later, the allegations continue to attract attention.
Frederick R. Hill, the communications director for the committee, told the Post, “We haven’t ruled out hearings” on the Gray/Brown issue.
Gray released a statement just before 6 p.m. Thursday saying he would cooperate with any congresssional investigation, though the release said he does not encourage congressional oversight of District affairs.
"Mayor Gray believes that there are sufficient investigative bodies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, addressing and responding to Mr. Brown's allegations. Congressional involvement is not likely to illuminate any additional issues or information."