Former Director of Advance Operations in 2010 Mayoral Campaign Pleads Guilty to Conspiring to Violate Campaign Finance Laws
WASHINGTON—Mark Long, 47, the former Director of Advance Operations for the 2010 campaign of a mayoral candidate in the District of Columbia, pled guilty today to conspiring to defraud the District of Columbia’s Office of Campaign Finance by funding and concealing contributions in excess of those permitted under D.C. campaign finance laws.
The guilty plea was announced by U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr., Andrew G. McCabe, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, and Thomas J. Kelly, Special Agent in Charge of the Washington Field Office of the Internal Revenue Service- Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI).
Long pled guilty in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia to conspiring to violate District of Columbia campaign finance laws by defrauding the District of Columbia’s Office of Campaign Finance. He appeared before the Honorable Anita Josey-Herring. No sentencing date was set. The charge carries a statutory maximum of five years in prison and potential financial penalties. Under the Court’s voluntary sentencing guidelines, the parties have agreed that Long faces a range of one to 12 months in prison, or, possibly, probation.
The guilty plea calls for Long to cooperate fully in an ongoing investigation. The charge involves Long’s work on behalf of a candidate in the 2010 election for Mayor of the District of Columbia. Long admitted that he worked as the director of advance operations for the candidate, who is identified in court documents as “Mayoral Candidate A.” Long admitted that he received payment for his services to the campaign from business owner Eugenia C. Harris, who had received the funds from another business owner, Jeffrey E. Thompson, who at the time of the offense controlled one of the District’s largest government contracts. He admitted knowing that Thompson and Harris intended to conceal, and did in fact, conceal, these payments from the Office of Campaign Finance.
Long also admitted working through Thompson and Harris to conceal excessive contributions for his own unsuccessful 2008 campaign for an At-Large seat on the Council.
Long is the third former Council candidate to plead guilty to conspiracy charges that involve concealed contributions from Thompson. Thompson pled guilty in March 2014 to two felony charges involving his campaign finance activities, Harris pled guilty to charges in July 2012. Both are awaiting sentencing and both are cooperating in the investigation.
The other Council candidates who entered guilty pleas include Kelvin Robinson, who admitted receiving money for his unsuccessful 2010 campaigns for the Ward 6 and At-Large seats, and Jeff Smith, who admitted receiving money for his unsuccessful 2010 campaign for the Ward 1 seat. Robinson is awaiting sentencing. Smith was sentenced on Aug. 28, 2014, to 60 days in jail, in addition to a year of probation, 400 hours of community service, and a $10,000 fine.
A fourth candidate, former District of Columbia Council member Michael A. Brown, pled guilty to charges in an unrelated bribery investigation. In those proceedings, he publicly admitted that his campaign committees had secretly received money from Thompson.
A total of six people have now pled guilty to charges involving the 2010 mayoral election. In addition to Long, Thompson and Harris, the other defendants have included Vernon Hawkins, who was a volunteer advisor in 2010 for “Mayoral Candidate A.” and Howard L. Brooks and Thomas W. Gore, who both worked on “Mayoral Candidate A’s” campaign.
“Mark Long’s guilty plea is further evidence that this 2010 mayoral campaign was rife with corruption,” said U.S. Attorney Machen. “Long is now the sixth person associated with the 2010 mayoral campaign to become a felon as a result of illegal conduct on behalf of that campaign. Six months ago, when contractor Jeff Thompson walked into court and pulled back the curtain on widespread corruption in D.C. politics, we pledged to continue our work to hold accountable everyone who conspired with him to poison our political system. Since his plea, no fewer than four candidates for elected office in the District of Columbia have stood up in court and confessed to taking Thompson’s illegal contributions. Our work continues.”
“Today, Mr. Long took responsibility for concealing payments from the D.C. Office of Campaign Finance for his work on the 2010 mayoral campaign and to concealing in-kind contributions to his 2008 campaign for D.C. Council,” said Assistant Director in Charge McCabe. “Citizens are entitled to honest campaigns and fair elections, free of fraud. The FBI remains vigilant to such abuse and urges anyone with information about fraud or corruption to come forward and contact the FBI.”
Thompson is the former chairman, chief executive officer, and majority owner of Thompson, Cobb, Bazilio and Associates (TCBA), a corporation that provided accounting, management, consulting, and tax services. He also is the former chairman, chief executive officer, and owner of D.C. Healthcare Systems, Inc. (DCHSI), an investment holding and forprofit corporation. Both companies generated millions of dollars in government contracts.
Harris owned and controlled two businesses: Belle International, Inc., and Details International Inc. Long worked from May 2007 through May 2011 for Details International, Inc., holding the title of account executive.
According to a statement of offense, signed by the government as well as the defendant, Long, Thompson, Harris and others acted to make and to receive—and to conceal—campaign contributions in excess of those permitted under the District of Columbia Campaign Act.
The District of Columbia Campaign Act imposes limits on the amount of money that can be contributed to a District of Columbia candidate and that candidate’s principal campaign committee. It also prohibits any person or corporation from making a contribution in the name of another, including by reimbursement. Finally, it requires principal campaign committees to file periodic reports of receipts and disbursements.
During the 2010 mayoral campaign, as arranged by Thompson and Harris, Long became the Director of Advance Operations for the campaign of “Mayoral Candidate A.” From May 2010 through September 2010, according to the statement of offense, Long received a salary from Harris’s company, Details International, Inc., in his capacity as a consultant to Details International, to provide services to the mayoral campaign. Thompson and his companies provided funds to Details International to cover the salary.
Among his responsibilities, Long served as the official campaign driver for “Mayoral Candidate A,” taking the candidate to various campaign-related and other events. Long drove the candidate in a Lincoln Navigator, which he suspected was provided by Harris.
Long understood that Thompson and Harris intended to conceal their payments to him for services to the mayoral campaign, keeping the activities secret from the District of Columbia’s Office of Campaign Finance, other candidates, and the public. As a result, the campaign of “Mayoral Candidate A” did not report the payments for Long’s services on documents filed with the Office of Campaign Finance.
Also, according to the statement of offense, as part of his services to the campaign, Long set up a secret meeting between “Mayoral Candidate A” and a rival mayoral candidate in August of 2010. Based on his discussions with Harris, the meeting was to attempt to arrange a secret agreement in which the rival would drop out of the race and endorse “Mayoral Candidate A” in return for something of value. Long drove “Mayoral Candidate A” to a meeting place in Maryland.
The charging document filed against Long states that the principal campaign committee for “Mayoral Candidate A” issued a check in the amount of $20,000 to Harris’s company, Details International, that contained false and misleading information in that it stated that the purpose of the $20,000 payment to the company was for “consulting services;” in fact, the payment was intended to be used by Harris for the benefit of the rival mayoral candidate in exchange for dropping out of the election and endorsing “Mayoral Candidate A.” The rival candidate, however, did not drop out of the race and made no endorsement.
Long’s own campaign accepted and concealed illegal contributions from Thompson and Harris, during his 2008 bid for the At-Large Council seat. With Long’s knowledge, Thompson and Harris paid for campaign expenses in coordination with and in support of Long’s principal campaign committee. These in-kind contributions exceeded the legal limits, and they were concealed from the District of Columbia Office of Campaign Finance.
In announcing the guilty plea, U.S. Attorney Machen, Assistant Director in Charge McCabe, and Special Agent in Charge Kelly commended the work of those who investigated the case from the FBI’s Washington Field Office and IRS-CI.
They also expressed appreciation for the work of Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael K. Atkinson, Jonathan P. Hooks, Ellen Chubin Epstein, and Lionel André, of the Fraud and Public Corruption Section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, who are prosecuting cases in the investigation.
Finally, they acknowledged the efforts of others who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Deborah Connor, Chief of the Fraud and Public Corruption Section, as well as former Criminal Investigator Matthew J. Kutz; Forensic Accountant Crystal Boodoo; Paralegal Specialists Krishawn Graham, Tasha Harris, Corrine Kleinman, and Heather Sales; and Legal Assistant Angela Lawrence.