Brown (I-At Large) did not disclose how much money is allegedly missing from his account. Without identifying his campaign treasurer, Hakim J. Sutton, by name, Brown said the expenditures had allegedly been made by an “individual who has assisted my campaigns for over five years.”
Brown also said he has taken over as treasurer.
“As the one who discovered the alleged theft, I have decided to personally take over as the treasurer of my reelection campaign,” Brown said. “To demonstrate my commitment to operate the campaign books transparently and ethically, I will bring in an independent auditor to ensure that all campaign finance activities meet the strictest fiduciary standards.”
Sutton is a veteran and well-respected Democratic fundraiser and organizer who has worked for council member Marion Barry (D-Ward 8) and former council member Kathleen Patterson, as well as Brown’s 2008 campaign.
Reached by phone, Sutton declined to comment, saying he had only just learned of the allegation Thursday afternoon. Gwendolyn Crump, a police spokeswoman, confirmed that police are looking into the matter.
“The allegation was brought to our attention and we are a conducting an investigation,” said Crump, who declined to comment further. Officials with the Office of Campaign Finance said they have also been made aware of the situation.
Brown’s money problem comes as Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) and several council members have struggled with questions about their campaign finances in recent years.
Former council chairman Kwame R. Brown pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor campaign violation this month after a federal investigation into his 2008 campaign.
Two former Gray campaign aides also pleaded guilty this spring to involvement in payments to mayoral candidate Sulaimon Brown in 2010.
Gray’s campaign funds — including cash and money order donations and allegations of a “shadow campaign” — remain under federal investigation.
In March, D.C. Council member Vincent B. Orange (D-At Large) was forced to publicly admit that he accepted more than $20,000 in “suspicious” donations from Jeffrey E. Thompson, a city contractor who has been a prolific donor to political campaigns in the city.
After Thompson’s home and office were raided by federal investigators, Orange said he discovered he had accepted $26,000 in money orders and cashier’s checks from Thompson and his associates during a three-day period leading up to his 2011 election. Many of the donations had sequential order numbers and similar handwriting.
Orange has denied any wrongdoing. The federal investigation into Thompson continues.