The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which has jurisdiction over the District of Columbia, announced Monday that it will close its investigation into whether Mayor Vincent Gray tried to bribe Sulaimon Brown, a former rival and city employee, when they were both trying in 2010 to unseat then-Mayor Adrian Fenty. In a statement, Rep. Darrell Issa, who chairs the panel, said that there is no evidence that Gray was personally involved in any efforts to compensate Brown financially or with the promise of a government position.
"The committee's investigation found evidence corroborating claims by Sulaimon Brown that his campaign for mayor received financial backing linked to a senior campaign operative for Mayor Gray," said Issa. "The investigation did not, however, find independent facts verifying claims that Brown had been promised a D.C. government job in return for campaign efforts or any independent evidence that Mayor Gray knew or approved of payments going to Brown's campaign."
Gray now feels “vindicated,” a source who cannot speak publicly on the matter, told The Washington Post, because it is the second report to conclude that the mayor was not involved in any wrongdoing that may have taken place, referring to an investigation by the D.C. City Council. It is not, however, completely resolved. The U.S. attorney’s office is still investigating Brown’s claims and there may also be a federal grand jury proceeding, The Post reports.
Issa on Monday also announced plans to introduce a bill that would require background checks for certain high-ranking District government employees, similar to the one used at the federal level to control what he described as “outrageous abuses.” But after speaking Tuesday morning with D.C. Council chairman Kwame Brown, he agreed to put the measure on hold to give the council an opportunity to craft its own proposal about how to vet employees.
“The chairman and the committee, of course, are going to wait and see what passes before making any judgment,” Frederick Hill, spokesman for the House Oversight Committee, told The Post. “But they are looking at this with the optimistic belief that the D.C. Council will address concerns about improper hiring practices.”
(Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)