Mr. Lawson and Insuraty both gave $2,000 checks to Mr. Gray on the same day in June 2010, when the mayor’s campaign also received donations from entities tied to political operative Eugenia Harris, who pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations this week.
In court documents, federal prosecutors said two companies tied to Harris, Belle International and Details International, gave to a candidate running for mayor in Washington in 2010, and that Harris also had friends and associates donate money after she promised to reimburse them with money from an unnamed conspirator widely believed to be Mr. Thompson.
Mr. Lawson said his contributions were perfectly legal.
“Every fundraiser I’ve been a part of, I’ve made that choice myself to participate and contribute,” he said in an interview. “That was my personal decision to make contributions.”
There’s also no law that says like-minded companies and people can’t get together and give maximum contributions to the same politicians at the same fundraising event. That happens almost every day in Washington as members of Congress raise money for re-election campaigns in town houses, offices and restaurants.
But the donations from contributors giving on the same day, in the same amount and to the same politicians as Mr. Thompson and his associates have been subject to sharper scrutiny now that federal authorities are investigating his fundraising activities.
“I decide how I spend the money I make,” he wrote, adding that “every American has the right” to do so.
Despite forfeited status
Mr. Lawson’s role as president of Insuraty has been cited again and again in recent years. In documents concerning a $300 million bond offering last year, the WSSC highlighted the background of each of its directors, listing Mr. Lawson as president and principal of Insuraty, despite the company’s forfeited corporate status years earlier.
But it was hardly the only time Mr. Lawson has been referred to as president of the company.
When Mr. Baker’s office announced Mr. Lawson’s WSSC appointment in 2011, a news release from Prince George’s described Insuraty as “a full service employee benefits firm offering health insurance, life insurance, retirement plans and flexible spending account plans to small, mid-size and large group employers.”
“Chris Lawson, who was recently elected chair of the WSSC by his peers, was chosen to serve on the board of WSSC because of his experience in the business world as well his experience working in the community,” Mr. Baker’s spokesman Scott Peterson wrote in an email response to questions. “He has proven to be a strong proponent of the interests of WSSC rate payers and the County Executive is proud of his service on the WSSC board.”
The WSSC website as of this week also describes Mr. Lawson as president and principal of Insuraty. A spokesman for the WSSC referred questions about Insuraty to Mr. Lawson, whose website as of this week described the company as a regional employee benefits brokerage and consulting firm. Links on the website include “health insurance,” “life insurance” and “disability.”View Entire Story
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
Jim McElhatton is an investigative reporter for The Washington Times. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Andrea Noble is a crime and public safety reporter for The Washington Times. She can be reached at email@example.com.
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