FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
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Campaign Official Pleads Guilty to Charges For Activities Involving 2010 District of Columbia Mayoral Election
Admits Obstructing Justice by Destroying Documents,
Making False Statements to FBI
WASHINGTON - Thomas W. Gore, the former assistant treasurer for a District of Columbia mayoral campaign, pled guilty today to obstruction of justice and other charges stemming from his activities involving the 2010 election, announced U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. and James W. McJunkin, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office.
Gore, 56, of Washington, D.C., pled guilty 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 appeared before the Honorable Colleen Kollar-Kotelly.
No sentencing date was set. The obstruction of justice charge carries up to 20 years in prison, as well as potential fines. Each of the local campaign finance violations carries a maximum sentence of six months of incarceration and fines. Under federal sentencing guidelines, the parties have agreed that the applicable sentencing range would be 12 to 18 months in prison and a possible fine of $3,000 to $30,000.
Gore, who remains free pending sentencing, has agreed to cooperate in a continuing investigation into the activities surrounding the election campaign.
According to a statement of offense signed by the government as well as the defendant, Gore worked for one of the candidates who was challenging incumbent Mayor Adrian M. Fenty in the 2010 campaign. Today’s 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.”
“In 2010, the voters of the District of Columbia were deceived,” said U.S. Attorney Machen. “Envelopes stuffed with fraudulent money orders prevented the public from knowing that one mayoral campaign was secretly financing the campaign of an opposing candidate. This prosecution demonstrates how hard it is to bury the truth forever and reflects our commitment to ensuring that the people of the District of Columbia get the fair and transparent electoral system that they deserve.”
“Citizens are entitled to a government free of fraud and corruption, and the FBI will investigate all allegations of illegal conduct that undermines fair and free elections,” said Assistant Director in Charge McJunkin. “We remain vigilant in investigating such abuse to identify those involved and to hold them accountable for their unscrupulous actions.”
Beginning in the spring of 2010, and continuing through the November 2010 general election, Gore was the assistant treasurer for the campaign of “Candidate A.” He handled the day-to-day finances of the campaign and was a member of its treasury team.
In an effort to advance the candidacy of “Candidate A,” Gore secretly diverted funds from the campaign of “Candidate A” to “Candidate B.” He did so in order to keep “Candidate B” in the mayoral race, and so “Candidate B” would continue his verbal attacks on then-Mayor Fenty.
These activities began in or around June 2010, after Gore and a second person who worked on the campaign for “Candidate A” discussed the plan to secretly divert funds to “Candidate B.”
Gore provided this second person with money orders, which had been purchased with excessive or unattributed cash contributions to the campaign of “Candidate A.” The second person and others, in agreement with Gore, 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, that Gore provided to the second campaign worker for “Candidate A” to give to “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 because he knew that secretly diverting contributions from the campaign for “Candidate A” to the campaign for “Candidate B” was unlawful and he did not want law enforcement to discover the activity.
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 plea, 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 are investigating and prosecuting this matter.