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A campaign official who has been interviewed twice by the FBI but who declined to be identified said not everyone knew where the incoming campaign funds were coming from, only that they were being spent and reported legitimately.

In contrast, Ms. Tolson described a shoestring volunteer effort by dedicated Ward 8 residents who were angered to have lost their jobs during the Fenty administration and motivated by the prospect of defeating him. “I fed some of them and gave them rent money,” she said. “I had trouble getting reimbursed for my own expenses.”

Some volunteers, she added, were angry after the election when they were unable to get jobs in the Gray administration. And for those who put their faith in Mr. Gray, she said, the prospect of a shadow campaign that included payments and bonuses to other campaign workers is a tough pill for some to swallow.

“I opened up my house as a Ward 8 campaign office,” she said. “We even set up a call center there.”