Council members call for Gray to step down

Mary Cheh, a constitutional law professor at GW, said Mayor Vincent Gray was responsible for the "shadow campaign" that ran in his name. Hatchet File Photo

Updated July 12, 2012, 3:17 p.m.

Three D.C. council members are calling on Mayor Vincent Gray to resign immediately, following testimony that confirmed a secret campaign fund.

David Catania, Mary Cheh and Muriel Bowser were the first elected District officials to call for Gray’s resignation for a $653,000 “shadow campaign” in his 2010 election.

Cheh, a GW Law School professor, released a statement Wednesday placing the blame on Gray, though his former aide claimed in testimony Tuesday that the mayor was not aware of the money being funneled into his election efforts.

“Whether or not he knew of the massive election fraud that was taking place in his name, he is responsible for it,” Cheh said in the statement.

Cheh worked with Gray, an alumnus, when he served as chairman of the D.C. Council and also on his election campaign and lauded his integrity and commitment to D.C. residents.

“But the facts cannot be ignored and what has happened since has caused incalculable harm to the District,” Cheh said in the statement.

D.C. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton called the actions taken during Gray’s campaign “deeply disturbing.”

“Mayor Gray has an obligation to clear this matter up quickly,” Norton said in a release Thursday.

University spokeswoman Michelle Sherrard said the allegations surrounding Gray’s campaign are “very serious” and deserve the attention of the U.S. District Attorney’s Office.

“The university continues to work with the District government for the betterment of the city,” Sherrard said in an email. “It would be inappropriate to make any further comment until that process has been completed.”

The University has forged partnerships with the Gray administration on economic policy and job summits during his tenure, and also honored the alumnus a handful of times at the start of his term.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office began digging into Gray’s campaign records in March for details on the get-out-the-vote effort that funneled undocumented money into his campaign chest. District campaign regulations require all money spent on city campaigns be reported in a financial record.

At that time, Sherrard said the University would maintain its relationship Gray, saying GW supports all its alumni and is “proud of their achievements.”

Gray attempted to steer attention away the corruption allegations at a press conference Wednesday, urging residents to focus on his administration’s record in public safety, education and economic development, The Washington Post reported.

“This is not the campaign that we intended to run,” Gray told reporters.

The federal government began probing the alleged “shadow campaign” last October, prompted by an August report from the D.C. Council that chronicled corrupt campaign practices.

Investigators have questioned several of Gray’s campaign staffers and subpoenaed documents over the past nine months.

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.