Former Campaign Official Sentenced to Six Months in Prison for Activities Involving 2010 District of Columbia Mayoral Election
Defendant Obstructed Justice by Destroying Documents, Making False Statements to FBI
|U.S. Attorney’s Office July 26, 2013|
WASHINGTON—Thomas W. Gore, the former assistant treasurer for a District of Columbia mayoral campaign, was sentenced today to six months in prison for obstruction of justice and other charges stemming from his activities involving the 2010 election.
The sentence was announced by U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen, Jr. and Valerie Parlave, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office.
Gore, 58, of Washington, D.C., pled guilty in May 2012 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to one count of obstructing justice by destroying records in a federal investigation and three counts of making a campaign contribution in the name of another person. He was sentenced by the Honorable Colleen Kollar-Kotelly.
Upon completion of his prison time, Gore will be placed on three years of supervised release. Judge Kollar-Kotelly ordered that 180 days of that period must be spent on home detention. In addition, Gore must perform 200 hours of community service. Judge Kollar-Kotelly also barred Gore from participating in political campaigns without prior approval of the court.
Gore is among three people, all associated with the same mayoral campaign, to plead guilty to charges in a continuing investigation of campaign activities during the election.
Howard L. Brooks, 65, a member of the campaign’s finance and treasury teams, was sentenced last year to 24 months of probation and ordered to perform 200 hours of community service for making a false statement to the FBI. Business owner Eugenia C. Harris, 76, pled guilty in July 2012 to one count of conspiring to violate federal campaign finance law and to obstruct justice; one count of engaging in fraud and making false statements; and one count of conspiring to violate District of Columbia campaign law. Harris is awaiting sentencing.
According to a statement of offense signed by the government as well as the defendant, Gore worked for one of the candidates challenging incumbent Mayor Adrian M. Fenty in the 2010 campaign. The guilty plea involves activities tied to his work on the campaign of that candidate, who is identified in the court documents as “Candidate A,” and Gore’s dealings with another of Mr. Fenty’s rivals, who is identified in the documents as “Candidate B.”
Gore used his position in Candidate A’s campaign to help funnel money illegally from that campaign to the campaign of Candidate B. The goal was to keep Candidate B in the mayoral race so that Candidate B would continue his verbal attacks on Mr. Fenty. Gore later destroyed the record of these payments and lied about it when questioned by the FBI.
* * *
“Thomas Gore is headed to prison because he lied to the FBI and shredded documents to cover up corruption in the 2010 D.C. mayoral election,” said U.S. Attorney Machen. “He will be deprived of his liberty because he tried to deprive the voters of the truth about a secret scheme to funnel money from one mayoral campaign to another. Jail time is a significant consequence that reflects the seriousness of his efforts to obstruct justice and subvert the democratic process.”
“Corruption will not be overlooked or tolerated, no matter the level of government, the complexity of the scheme, or the names of those committing the fraud,” said Assistant Director in Charge Parlave. “The FBI will continue to pursue public corruption cases in order to bring confidence to the citizens of the District of Columbia, who deserve government officials who are elected fairly and without scandal.”
* * *
Prior to 2010, Gore had experience working with Candidate A in other campaigns. He was the official treasurer of Candidate A’s campaigns in 2004 and 2006 and was well aware of the dictates of local campaign finance laws. The illegal activities began in or around June 2010. Gore provided Brooks with money orders, which had been purchased with excessive or unattributed cash contributions to the campaign of Candidate A. Brooks filled in the names of real persons who had not contributed these funds in the purchaser lines of these money orders.
The statement of offense details a total of five such money orders in June and July of 2010, totaling $660, which Gore provided to Brooks for Candidate B.
Gore kept a record of these funds, noting the amounts provided, in a spiral notebook.
Candidate B subsequently reported the receipt of the money orders, in the names of the purported purchasers, as individual contributions he received, listing them in reports to the District of Columbia’s Office of Campaign Finance of the Board of Elections and Ethics.
The campaign finance charges stem from Gore’s handling of the money orders.
The obstruction charge involves actions taken by Gore months after the election. On March 6, 2011, allegations by Candidate B about the campaign of Candidate A appeared in the news media. In these reports, Candidate B alleged that, during the 2010 campaign, he had been promised a job in a future Candidate A administration. In addition, Candidate B said that he received payments from two members of the campaign for Candidate A in return for staying in the mayoral race and continuing to attack Mr. Fenty.
On March 9, 2011, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia issued a public statement that the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI were assessing the allegations made by Candidate B. Throughout the rest of 2011, agents from the FBI interviewed witnesses and collected documents related to the allegations.
Shortly after Candidate B’s allegations became public, Gore shredded the spiral notebook in which he had kept a record of payments to Candidate B. He did so to prevent law enforcement from finding out about the diversion of funds, which he knew to be illegal.
In addition, during an interview with the FBI on October 13, 2011, Gore made a number of false statements about the spiral notebook and the records that he kept.
In announcing the sentence, U.S. Attorney Machen and Assistant Director in Charge Parlave commended the work of those who investigated the case for the FBI.
They also expressed appreciation to Criminal Investigators Matthew Kutz, Mark Crawford, and Melissa Matthews; Paralegal Specialists Tasha Harris, Shanna Hays, Sylvester Brown, and Diane Hayes; and former Legal Assistant Jared Forney, all of the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Finally, they acknowledged the work of Assistant U.S. Attorney Ellen Chubin Epstein and former Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary Chris Dobbie, who investigated and prosecuted this matter.