WASHINGTON -- District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray (D) spoke about allegations that a "shadow campaign" helped his 2010 mayoral bid on Wednesday. But Gray, who remains under federal investation, didn't say too much to reporters during a press conference meant to show off a new green alleyways initiative.
"This is not the campaign that we intended to run," the mayor said according to The Washington Post, which reported that the mayor urged the public to separate the problems with his campaign with the accomplishments of his administration.
According to the Post:
“I have said to many, many people that I got into this for the right reasons,” Gray said. “I got out there to be involved in this because I loved the District of Columbia. . . . I know who I am. I get up every morning and look in the mirror and I see someone I respect.”
Gray's comments came a day after a public relations consultant, Eugenia Clarke Harris, pleaded guilty to charges that she helped improperly steer more than $650,000 to Gray's campaign efforts to unseat then-Mayor Adrian Fenty (D).
U.S. Attorney Ron Machen said Tuesday that Gray's "mayoral campaign was compromised by backroom deals, secret payments and a flood of unreported cash," according to Washington City Paper.
Of course, the biggest question that hangs over the continuing investigation of Gray's campaign by U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Ron Machen is whether Gray was aware of the off-the-books tactics being waged on his behalf. Gray said he was under the assumption that his campaign's reported contributions—about $2 million for a run that officially began in late April 2010—was enough.
"I actually thought we had raised a lot of money, to tell you the truth," he said. As for the source of donations, Gray added that it would have been impractical for him, or any other candidate for office, to personally inspect each contribution. "I don't think any candidate can say, 'I'm going to sit down and review every check.' "
Gray's future has been the subject of much speculation during the course of the federal investigation. Although Gray has said he has no plans to leave office early -- something he reiterated to reporters on Wednesday -- the mayor has continued to face rumors that he's preparing to step aside.
According to WRC-TV/NBC4 political reporter Tom Sherwood, D.C. Councilmember David Catania (I) said Wednesday that Gray should leave office.
Councilmember Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3), in an interview with WTTG-TV/Fox5, also called on the mayor to resign on Wednesday afternoon.
If Gray does resign or otherwise leaves office, he'd be the third elected local official to do so this year.
In June, D.C. Council Chairman Kwame Brown (D) resigned and pleaded guilty to federal bank fraud charges. Councilmember Harry Thomas Jr. (D-Ward 5) resigned in January amid unrelated corruption charges. Thomas pleaded guilty and is currently in a federal prison serving his sentence.
Presumptive mayor-elect Vince Gray rallys fellow Democrats during a 'get out the vote' campaign event at the First Trinity Lutheran Church Oct. 14, 2010, in Washington, D.C.
Newly elected Mayor Gray delivers the winning speech of the election in front of his supporters at Love Nightclub on Nov. 2, 2010.
Mayor Gray and Debra Lee speak during the 4th annual BET Honors at the Warner Theatre on January 15, 2011.
Gray with members of the Urban Land Institute, celebrating the group's 75th anniversary on Dec. 14, 2011.
Breaking ground at Cardozo Senior High School, Nov. 11, 2011.
Gray with former Office of Aging Director Veronica E. Pace at the opening of the new Office of Aging Headquarters on Oct. 27, 2011.
The mayor bagging groceries at Safeway during a breast cancer fundraiser on Oct. 25, 2011.
Mayor Gray at DCOA's Senior Citizen Holiday Celebration on December 8, 2011.
Celebrating Nordic Food Day with students at Miner Elementary School, Oct. 26, 2011.
Gray marching at the D.C. Full Freedom Rally on Oct. 15, 2011.
Gray meeting with Mohammad Iqbal Aziz, governor of Laghman Province in Afghanistan, on Nov. 2, 2011.
Gray at a pizza party honoring local youth football players on Dec. 13, 2011.
The mayor addresses an audience at the Cadillac display at the 2011 Washington Auto Show Jan. 27, 2011 at the Washington Convention Center.
Gray with Planters mascot Mr. Peanut at The Corps Network 'Plant' New Urban Park on July 12, 2011.
District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray takes questions as he testifies in support of a House resolution expressing support for admitting the District of Columbia as the 51st state., Jan. 27, 2012, in Concord, N.H.
Gray chats with President Obama following his annual back-to-school address at Benjamin Banneker Academic High School Sept. 28, 2011.
Vincent Gray And Cathy Lanier
Mayor Gray and Metropolitan Police Department Chief Cathy Lanier during a news conference on April 10, 2012, to announce initiatives to combat the growing robbery rate targeting smartphones and other cell phones.
Gray arrives at the opening gala of the historic Howard Theater in Washington, D.C. on April 12, 2012.
Vincent Gray With Mary Cheh
The mayor showcasing the city's newly-purchased snowplows on Dec. 14, 2011, with D.C. Councilmember Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3).
This piece has been updated to reflect new comments from D.C. Councilmembers David Catania and Mary Cheh.