It’s hard to know which is worse — a politician accused of playing dirty to reach the top, or a wannabe politician willing to slime his way to a government appointment. It’s pathetic, really.
Whether D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray’s campaign broke ethics rules by paying Sulaimon Brown thousands in cash to levy political attacks against Adrian Fenty is a matter that is now up to the Inspector General's office. The IG will also determine whether Gray promised Brown a job for his actions during last year’s campaign.
The mayor made the right move, strategically, by calling a press conference on the same day the allegations were published. He called the charges against him “surprising, shocking and appalling.” Gray’s defense is simple: “I was not in the business of giving out jobs, and I went on to indicate that should we win, that we would give him fair consideration.” Go ahead, read his statement again. It’s no secret that politicians often hook up the ones who help them win elections. Gray’s statements, however, still leave him with clean hands.
What still isn’t clear, however, are the exact actions of Gray campaign aides Lorraine Green and Howard Brooks. Ultimately, they’re the fall guys. For her part in helping Gray win the election, Lorraine Green was nominated to become the next chair of the Washington Convention and Sports Authority. Even the children of Gray's campaign aides got jobs in the new administration. Such is the way of the world, though it doesn't necessarily make it right.
As for Sulaimon Brown, it’s doubly pathetic. Here we have a man who has gone out of his way to create a media spectacle after he was fired from his high-ranking position in the Gray administration. He has said he won't quit until Vincent Gray resigns and has no problem whatsoever with continuing to call the mayor a bold-faced liar. Brown even provided cell phone records to the Washington Post in an attempt to prove his sheisty communications with Gray and his campaign aides during the mayoral race.
Sulaimon Brown has gone from being a mayoral candidate (who never stood a chance) to making a $110,000 yearly salary working for the man who defeated him, to now being a wannabe whistle-blower. The truth is, there is no honor in his actions, or rather what he claims his actions were. He also says he’s willing to face the consequences after an investigation is complete. So congratulations, Mr. Brown. You’re a martyr to your own stupidity.
Perhaps these two men equal each other out with their actions, or alleged actions. For now, the mayor is still in the clear. It’s entirely possible no wrongdoing will be found on his part, though the damage to his image has already been done. It’s just too bad we’re stuck with these images. One, of a man accused of cronyism and who very well may be untouchable at this point. The other, of a man snivelling and conniving for whatever crumbs fall his way.
Neither reflects well on the District.