December 11, 2015 at 5:05 pm EST | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
LGBT Gray backers praise end of probe
Vincent Gray, gay news, Washington Blade

No charges are to be filed against former Mayor Vincent Gray after a five-year investigation. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

LGBT supporters of former D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray hailed the decision announced on Wednesday by the Office of the U.S. Attorney that no additional charges will be filed in its nearly five-year investigation into whether Gray knew about and consented to illegal fundraising activities associated with his 2010 mayoral election campaign.

“The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia announced today that the investigation into corrupt spending in federal and local political campaigns, including the 2010 mayoral election in the District of Columbia, has concluded,” the office said in a statement.

LGBT activists supporting Gray in his unsuccessful re-election campaign in 2014 joined other Gray backers in condemning the decision by former U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen to announce weeks before the 2014 Democratic mayoral primary that allegedly had detailed knowledge of an illegal, off-the-books campaign fund that helped him defeat Mayor Adrian Fenty in 2010.

Gray backers said the sensational announcement by Machen implicating Gray in the illegal campaign financing scheme was directly responsible for Gray losing the primary to then-Ward 4 Council member Muriel Bowser, who went on to win election as mayor.

“It is a shame what they did to him,” said D.C. transgender activist Jeri Hughes who has joined other LGBT activists in calling Gray one of the city’s most LGBT-supportive mayors.

“I never believed he would be charged in this,” Hughes said. “He doesn’t have a greedy or conniving bone in his body. He is and always has been a dedicated public servant.”

Rick Rosendall, president of the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance, called the U.S. Attorney’s protracted investigation into Gray a “travesty” that should have ended a long time ago.

“Their politically timed leaks and insinuations against Vince Gray were an egregious interference in the District’s electoral process,” Rosendall said. “As has been clear for some time, they didn’t have the goods. Ron Machen owes Vince and the citizens of the District an apology.”

In its statement released on Wednesday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office points out that a total of 12 people pled guilty to charges stemming from the investigation, including seven who pled guilty to charges directly related to Gray’s 2010 mayoral campaign. Gray has said repeatedly that he had no knowledge of wrongdoing associated with his campaign, which was operated by political operatives who had been associated with Gray over the years.

Earlier this year, Machen stepped down as D.C.’s U.S. Attorney. He has been replaced by Channing D. Phillips, who reportedly has made the decision to end the investigation.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

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