WASHINGTON — Prosecutors brought a campaign finance charge against the former chairman of the District of Columbia Council on Thursday, one day after he resigned from his seat and agreed to plead guilty to federal bank fraud.
The misdemeanor charge adds to Kwame R. Brown‘s legal woes and comes a day before his expected guilty plea in the federal case.
Brown, among the most powerful figures in local politics, was charged in federal court Wednesday with misstating his income by tens of thousands of dollars on loan applications. He submitted his resignation later in the day and apologized for his actions.
“I have made some very serious mistakes in judgment for which I will take full responsibility,” Brown said in the letter.
The remaining councilmembers are scheduled to meet next week to select a new chairperson.
The three-page misdemeanor charge, filed in D.C. Superior Court, accuses Brown of authorizing a relative to open a second bank account during his 2008 reelection campaign and to make withdrawals from that account on behalf of the campaign committee. The charge says the relative used campaign funds in September 2009 to make a cash expenditure “in excess of $50 to a person in connection with a single purchase and transaction.”
The relative is not named in charging documents, but an Office of Campaign Finance complaint from last year that includes similar allegations says the second bank account – or “side account – listed Brown’s brother, Che Brown, as a signatory.
Lawyers for Kwame Brown and Che Brown did not immediately return calls seeking comment.
The criminal charges against Brown further unsettle local politics in the nation’s capital. Another councilmember, Harry Thomas Jr., pleaded guilty in January to embezzling more than $350,000 in government funds earmarked for youth sports and arts programs. And two former campaign aides to Mayor Vincent Gray pleaded guilty to federal charges last month stemming from improper payments made so a minor candidate in the 2010 race would denigrate the then-incumbent Adrian Fenty, who was seeking re-election.