D.C. Dem refuses to return shadowy funds


Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D., D.C.) is refusing to return campaign contributions from Jeff Thompson, the man who allegedly ran D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray’s illegal $650,000 “shadow campaign” in 2010.

Washington City Paper reports:

“I don’t have any reason to believe that any of the contributions were illegal,” Norton said today on WPFW‘s Politics Hour. Yesterday President Barack Obama and Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley returned or gave away Thompson-related money following the allegation in federal court last week that he is at the center of a straw donor scheme. But Norton, who said she’s received money from Thompson her entire political career, said she has no plans to return any of his donations.

“I don’t think we have any allegation of illegal contributions or straw contributions or the kinds of contributions that are illegal,” she says.

Oops. Norton ought to try reading the court records filed as part of Thompson associate Jeanne Clarke Harris’ guilty plea on campaign corruption charges. In them, Harris admits that in 2008, she gave $14,650 to federal candidates that were really straw donations made with Thompson’s money. Norton received $2,300 from Harris that year. Whether or not it was a straw donation is impossible to tell from campaign records, which show that Harris’ personal giving to federal candidates and committees that year was $19,250. That means that of the five candidates who got $2,300 donations from Harris that year, two of them might have been received the legitimately, and Norton might have been one of those two.