WASHINGTON -- Thomas Gore, the assistant campaign treasurer on District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray's 2010 campaign, is expected to be in federal court on Tuesday in a plea agreement hearing related to charges that he destroyed campaign finance records in an ongoing investigation into the race.
Now that someone considered to be in the Gray's inner circle has been charged in the ongoing federal investigation into the campaign, the big question for those who have been observing the drama is whether the mayor's goose is cooked.
After Monday's news about the charges against Gore, described by The Washington Post's Mike DeBonis as "a longtime friend and one of Gray’s most loyal campaign lieutenants," the safe assumption is that Gray will be feeling even more heat in one form or another over the coming weeks and months.
According to DeBonis:
With a plea deal likely to hinge on Gore's cooperation, prosecutors have secured a set of eyes and ears in the very center of the Gray campaign. Should they wish to expand their probe — to campaign chairwoman Lorraine A. Green or consultant Howard L. Brooks, both named by Brown in his initial allegations, or perhaps to Gray himself — Gore's testimony would be a solid foundation to build on.
WUSA-TV/9 News' Bruce Johnson said Monday of the federal charges against Gore: "This is the first shoe to drop, there are going to others. ... Absolutely."
According to various media reports, the mayor's personal lawyer, Robert Bennett, said he would not comment on the pending investigation, which started last year after a minor mayoral campaign, Sulaimon Brown, accused members of Gray's 2010 camp of paying him to ratchet up campaign rhetoric against Gray's chief foe, then-Mayor Adrian Fenty, in exchange for a job in Gray's administration.
With everyone waiting for the next move from the U.S. attorney, Washington City Paper's Loose Lips ponders the what-ifs for Gray. This could be the tip of the iceberg of what's to come:
As LL and others have noted, the Sulaimon saga appears to be just a small part of what the feds are looking at. The bigger issue is an alleged off-the-books shadow campaign with ties to D.C. Medicaid contractor Jeffrey Thompson, whose house and offices were raided by federal agents earlier this year. Gore's charging documents make no mention of that alleged shadow effort or Thompson. And [Gore attorney Fred] Cooke says Gore has "nothing to do" with any alleged shadow campaign.
The Washington Post's editorial board wrote in Tuesday's edition:
City residents have to hope that Monday’s action means the troubling uncertainty that has shadowed Mr. Gray and his administration is finally on its way to being resolved, one way or another.
UPDATE, 12:45 p.m.: Gore, as expected, pleaded guilty in federal court on Tuesday.