WASHINGTON -- District of Columbia Council Chairman Kwame Brown, who has been under investigation by federal prosecutors for alleged campaign finance misconduct, shoved WTOP-FM reporter Mark Segraves on Tuesday when he asked about the ongoing federal inquiry.As WTOP reported:
Last year, the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics forwarded allegations of campaign finance misconduct from Brown's 2008 re-election campaign to federal prosecutors to investigate. As The Washington Post reported at the time:
WTOP's Mark Segraves was waiting in the anteroom between Council Chairman Kwame Brown's office and the council's main chamber Tuesday morning, along with WAMU reporter Patrick Madden and the Washington Examiner's Alan Blinder. When the chairman left his office to enter the chamber for the council's continued budget debate, Segraves asked about a report from WUSA that federal investigators had revealed part of their case against Brown.
An audit released in April by the Office of Campaign Finance found that Brown’s campaign failed to report contributions and expenditures totaling more than $270,000. The audit also found that the campaign passed $239,000 to a company owned by Brown’s brother, Che Brown, via a now-defunct consulting firm. A later complaint from OCF alleged that Brown’s campaign failed to register a $60,000 bank account that Che Brown had control of.
Since it began its investigation, the U.S. attorney's office has been relatively quiet on the Brown inquiry, which it has been carrying out as it prosecuted former D.C. Councilmember Harry Thomas Jr. for stealing more than $350,000 in city funds and continues to investigate unrelated allegations of misconduct involving Mayor Vincent Gray's 2010 campaign.As WRC-TV/NBC 4 political columnist Chuck Thies remarked on Tuesday, the chairman is under extreme pressure:
Brown still has a lot of explaining to do, but it might not be reporters' questions he will be answering next. If the rumor mill is accurate, Brown will be answering to the long arm of the law.
The Washington Post reported this past weekend that the federal investigation into Brown's campaign dealings "has been intensifying and is entering its final stages.":
But Brown remains upbeat. He says he is tired of worrying about rumors and thinks that he is only now reaching his potential as a leader.
DCist notes that Brown's incident with Segraves is not the first time the chairman's been aggressive with reporters. Brown reportedly got into an aggressive shouting match with former WTOP political analyst Mark Plotkin in the studios of WTTG-TV/FOX5.
UPDATE, 4:10 p.m.: Brown reportedly apologized to Segraves during a one-on-one meeting Tuesday afternoon.
UPDATE, 4:45 p.m.: Brown, addressing reporters about the Segraves shoving situation, refused to answer questions about the ongoing federal investigation, but did stand his ground: