- The Washington Times - Friday, June 29, 2012

D.C. Council member Michael A. Brown said Friday he is “very disappointed” that it appears someone on his campaign staff stole funds.

Mr. Brown, at-large independent up for re-election this November, remained tight-lipped about the amount believed to be stolen, but noted it was substantial enough to call police and he is considering civil remedies to recoup the missing money.

He said he frequently reviews the campaign’s books around the time of filings to the D.C. Office of Campaign Finance. On June 22, he discovered some “unauthorized disbursements.”

“Some things just didn’t look right,” he told reporters on Friday after a markup by the Committee on Finance and Revenue.

Mr. Brown said he is “not ready to point fingers” by naming the staff member under scrutiny by the Metropolitan Police Department but he will take over as treasurer of his campaign.

He said the campaign emailed its sitting treasurer, Hakim J. Sutton, to say “he was no longer with the campaign.”

Mr. Brown declined to comment on a reported in the Washington City Paper that said Mr. Sutton’s home had been searched by MPD officers.

Mr. Brown advised reporters about the investigation in a statement from his campaign on Thursday, a proactive step as the council’s takes up campaign finance reforms to address mounting concerns about a lack of transparency and pay-to-play in the city’s political races.

FBI agents raided the home and offices of Jeffrey E. Thompson, a prolific donor to almost all of the District’s sitting politicians, in March as part of an apparent probe into campaign finance matters. He has not been accused of any crimes.

Former council Chairman Kwame R. Brown resigned earlier this month before admitting to felony bank fraud from 2005 to 2007. But he also pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor campaign-finance violation for authorizing an unreported “side account” during his 2008 re-election campaign for at-large member of the council.

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