Jeanne Harris pleads guilty
A supporter of Mayor Vincent Gray Who attempted to thwart federal and D.C. campaign laws in a "straw donation" scheme has pleaded guilty.
Jeanne Clarke Harris, 75, pleaded guilty to campaign violations. She faces up to 37 months in prison.
During a plea hearing Tuesday, prosecutors say Harris funneled $653,000 in unreported funds from a co-conspirator to Gray's campaign, according to ABC7's Mark Segraves.
"Today's guilty plea reveals a decade-long scheme to circumvent federal and D.C. laws designed to prevent money from corrupting our elections," said U.S. Attorney Ron Machen. "It also confirms what many have feared: the 2010 election for D.C. mayor was tainted by the infusion of massive sums of corporate money that were illegally concealed from voters."
Harris is identified in court papers as Eugenia C. Harris.
Harris is a close associate of Jeffrey Thompson, a businessman and prominent government contractor.
Machen spoke out strongly against corruption and criticized the 2010 mayoral race as "corrupted."
"The 2010 mayoral election was corrupted by a massive infusion of cash that was illegally concealed from the voters of the District," Machen said.
Although Thompson is not named in the charging document, prosecutors allege that Harris was reimbursed by an unnamed co-conspirator for contributions made in her name, as well as the names of her friends, relatives and employees.
Harris made contributions to an unnamed candidate for D.C. mayor in 2010 and also made contributions through two businesses, Belle and Details, according to federal documents. She was repaid for those contributions by another person identified only as “co-conspirator #1,” believed to be Thomas.
The Washington Post reports that the unnamed candidate mentioned is Mayor Gray.
She also got 16 family members to contribute to the candidate and was repaid by the same person, according to federal documents.
Harris is the third of Mayor Vincent Gray's 2010 associates to be tainted with accusations of campaign finance fraud.
Just last May, two of Gray's top campaign aides pleaded guilty to obstructing justice and lying to the FBI about paying another mayoral candidate, Sulaimon Brown, to heckle then-Mayor Adrian Fenty.