Campaign Official Sentenced for Making a False Statement in Investigation Involving 2010 District of Columbia Mayoral Race
Defendant Admitted Lying to the FBI About Campaign Activities
|U.S. Attorney’s Office October 10, 2012|
WASHINGTON—Howard L. Brooks, a member of the finance and treasury teams of a 2010 mayoral candidate in the District of Columbia, was sentenced today to 24 months of probation and ordered to perform 200 hours of community service for making a false statement to the FBI about his activities during the campaign, announced U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen, Jr. and James W. McJunkin, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office.
Brooks, 64, of Silver Spring, Maryland, pled guilty in May 2012 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. He was sentenced by the Honorable Colleen Kollar-Kotelly. The court also ordered Brooks not to participate in any political campaign without the prior written approval of the U.S. Probation Office.
Brooks is among three people to plead guilty to charges in a continuing investigation of campaign activities during the mayoral election. Thomas W. Gore, 56, pled guilty in May 2012 to a felony count of obstruction of justice and three misdemeanor charges of making of a campaign contribution in the name of another. Eugenia C. Harris, 75, 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. Gore and Harris are awaiting sentencing.
The case against Brooks involved activities by Brooks and Gore during and after the 2010 mayoral campaign. The men worked for one of the candidates challenging incumbent Mayor Adrian M. Fenty. In court documents, that candidate is identified as “Candidate A.” Gore was the assistant treasurer of the campaign and was a member of its treasury team.
According to the government’s evidence, Brooks and Gore helped carry out a plan to divert funds from their candidate’s campaign to that of another challenger to Mr. Fenty, identified in the court documents as “Candidate B.” The express purpose of these payments was to keep Candidate B running in the mayoral race. During the race, Candidate B verbally attacked Mr. Fenty during candidate debates and other forums.
According to a statement of offense, signed by Brooks as well as the government, beginning in or around late June 2010, Brooks met with Gore and another member of the campaign for Candidate A. Brooks was instructed to make payments to Candidate B. Gore provided blank money orders on which Brooks and other campaign workers filled in the names and addresses of real persons who had not contributed these funds as those making the payments.
The completed money orders were returned to Gore, who put some of them in an envelope and gave them to Brooks to deliver to Candidate B.
The statement of offense provides details about 10 money orders, signed and blank, that Brooks delivered to Candidate B between July 2, 2010 and August 6, 2010. The money orders had a total value of $2,810.
In addition, the statement of offense provides details about eight fraudulent money orders that were deposited and used by the campaign of Candidate A. Brooks obtained these money orders, totaling $4,000, from Gore. Brooks signed his own name on four of the money orders and a friend’s name on the other four money orders, even though neither Brooks nor his friend had contributed any funds toward their purchase. The campaign of Candidate A later reported these contributions to the District of Columbia Office of Campaign Finance as if they were legitimate campaign contributions from Brooks and his friend.
The false statement charge stems from Brooks’s actions after allegations involving the election came to light. Brooks met with the FBI and others on April 6, 2011, in a voluntary interview at the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Among other things, he said that he never gave Candidate B or the campaign of Candidate B any cash, money orders, or other payments.
In announcing the sentence, U.S. Attorney Machen and Assistant Director in Charge McJunkin 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. Attorneys Ellen Chubin Epstein and Mary Chris Dobbie, who investigated and prosecuted this matter.