D.C. Mayor Gray Calls for Investigation Amid 'Missteps'

Is this a case of politics as usual?

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D.C. politics as usual?

Tim Craig, Nikita Stewart and Mike DeBonis of the Washington Post are reporting that D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray has called for an investigation into allegations that his campaign aides paid mayoral candidate Sulaimon Brown to continue attacking then-Mayor Adrian Fenty in exchange for a city job. Democrat Gray also accepted the resignation of Talib Karim, chief of staff of the Department of Health Care Finance, where Brown worked as a $110,000-a-year special assistant until he was dismissed.

"I acknowledge we have made missteps," the mayor said, referring to the vetting process for administration jobs. "We have taken steps to address those missteps."

Gray said he is skeptical of Brown's assertion that he was paid by Lorraine Green -- who was the mayor's campaign chairwoman and is one of his closest friends and advisers -- and campaign consultant Howard Brooks. Green and Brooks have denied the allegations, and the Washington Post could not independently verify any payments.

"If somebody did that, then they ought to be subject to whatever justice is required," Gray said of the allegations. "I would never condone anything like that, period, point blank."

Brown says that he was on the payroll from June through September and was promised a job. He provided to the Washington Post proof of numerous cell phone calls and text messages between him and Gray. He stands by his story, saying, "I'm willing to take the heat for what I did wrong." Brown spent more than three hours March 8 meeting with staff members with the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

D.C. City Council members are applauding the mayor in calling for an investigation but believe that someone other than the city's new attorney general, who was appointed by Gray, should conduct the investigation.

This sounds like politics as usual in that Gray's call for an investigation is undermined by the call for the city's new attorney general, Irvin B. Nathan, who was appointed by Gray, to conduct the investigation. Nathan is still awaiting City Council confirmation. Is Nathan really going to implicate the man who appointed him in an investigation?

The D.C. inspector general or an outside, independent council should conduct the investigation to eliminate the appearance of impropriety. Unless that happens, Mayor Gray may as well get used to the idea of being linked to this scandal, whether or not he was directly involved. I'll go ahead and say what everyone else is thinking: This is better than Fenty?

Read more at the Washington Post. Watch a Washington Post video of Brown's comments about Fenty below: