Updated at 12:12 p.m.
Less than 24 hours after Kwame Brown was charged with bank fraud and resigned as the District of Columbia Council chairman, the U.S. attorney's office filed a new case today against Brown accusing him of a campaign finance violation.
The criminal information (PDF) filed this morning in District of Columbia Superior Court alleges Brown gave his campaign staff the green light to open a "side" bank account to make cash withdrawals for a "get-out-the-vote" campaign. A member of Brown's campaign allegedly made at least one cash withdrawal in excess of $50, a violation of local campaign finance laws.
Today's charge comes on the heels of a separate criminal information filed yesterday against Brown in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, accusing Brown of falsifying documents to overstate his income as part of a home equity loan application. That loan was used, at least in part, to purchase a private boat, according to the charging document.
Brown, who submitted his letter of resignation yesterday afternoon, is expected to plead guilty tomorrow morning in the bank fraud case. A hearing date wasn’t immediately set in the Superior Court case, but a source familiar with the investigation said one could be scheduled for as early as tomorrow.
A source familiar with the case said Brown is expected to plead guilty in the Superior Court case as well.
Although both cases are being brought by the U.S. attorney's office, they were filed in different courts because of the District's unique criminal justice system, where the federal prosecutor's office also acts as the local prosecutor.
Several hours after the bank fraud case was filed, Brown resigned from the council. Brown’s attorney, Frederick Cooke Jr. of Washington’s Rubin, Winston, Diercks, Harris & Cooke, declined to comment. A spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office, William Miller, declined to comment on either case.
Today’s charge stems from an earlier finding by the District of Columbia Board of Elections and Ethics that Brown’s campaign violated campaign finance laws as part of his re-election bid in 2008. The board referred the matter to the U.S. attorney’s office.
Brown is charged with violating a section of the D.C. Code that requires campaign committees to make all expenditures by check, with the exception of petty cash purchases that are less than $50. According to the charging document, the “side account” at issue was opened in 2008, when he was running for re-election as an at-large councilmember, but the one example of a cash expenditure of more than $50 cited in the information wasn’t made until 2009, when he was running for council chair.
According to the D.C. Code, the maximum penalty is a $5,000 fine, six months in jail, or both. Download Brown information