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Vincent Gray is a friend of long standing who I have always known to have high professional and ethical standards,” she said in a statement last week after Harris‘ guilty plea. “However, the criminal conduct by his campaign aides revealed in court is deeply disturbing and goes to the heart of the democratic process. Mayor Gray has an obligation to clear this matter up quickly.”

After Harris‘ guilty plea, the District’s top federal prosecutor, U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr., didn’t mention Mr. Thompson by name but told reporters that the “conspiracy” illegally directed money not only to local contests but to federal campaigns, too.

“Since 2001, this scheme has violated federal and local election law by using straw donors, many of them employees, friends and family members of the conspirators, to make high dollar campaign contributions that would then be reimbursed with personal and corporate money from the conspiracy,” he said.

Under federal law, campaigns can get rid of potentially tainted donations easily by donating the money to charity, transferring it to the U.S. Treasury or refunding the contributions.