Vincent Gray donor Eugenia "Jeanne" Harris, 75, of Washington, DC, pleaded guilty Tuesday to disguising the source of campaign contributions in federal and local elections and to hiding those activities from federal investigators.
According to the FBI, Harris used her business and that of a co-conspirator to funnel and obscure some $653,800 in campaign expenses and contributions to the Vincent Gray Mayoral campaign.
Harris pleaded guilt to three charges in court Tuesday, according to a release from the FBI:
- one count of conspiring to violate federal campaign finance law and to obstruct justice;
- one count of engaging in fraud and making false statements;
- and one count of conspiring to violate District of Columbia campaign finance law.
"The 2010 election for D.C. mayor was tainted by the infusion of massive sums of corporate money that were illegally concealed from voters. This conviction begins to dismantle a conspiracy which for too long subverted our federal and local electoral system," said U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen in a prepared statement.
The FBI does not implicate Gray or his campaign in official statements, but The Washington Post reports that Harris herself indicated she was supporting Gray's 2010 campaign with her illegal activities.
Harris allegedly used her two businesses and the buinesses of her "Co-Conspirator #1" to buy campaign supplies and make donations in the names of family members and employees without reporting such expenses or activities to the DC Board of Elections and Ethics’ Office of Campaign Finance.
The FBI and other law enforcement officials do not name Harris's co-conspirator but the Post reports that three inidividuals familiar with the investigation have said it could be Jeffrey Thompson.
Federal agents raided the home and offices of Thompson — owner of Chartered Health Plan, the city’s single-largest contractor — in March.
Harris also admitted to trying to hide her activities from federal investigators.
Upon the advice of "Co-Conspirator #1," the FBI states that Harris made plans "to travel to Brazil for three months in order to evade federal investigators. Efforts were made toward renting a house in Brazil before the trip was cancelled."