D.C. Chamber Defends Its Defense of Vince Gray

D.C. Chamber Defends Its Defense of Vince Gray
Posted by Alan Suderman on May. 30, 2012 at 1:26 pm, Washington City Paper

LL’s forthcoming column takes a look at how Mayor Vince Gray is putting legal considerations before political ones by keeping quiet on the recent guilty pleas of some of his top campaign aides. Gray’s lawyer says he’s ordered the mayor to keep quiet, which may make for sound legal advice but is hardly reassuring to Gray’s supporters.

So what is the Gray administration to do if it can’t say anything about the confirmed corruption near the core of the 2010 campaign? One option is to hope for (or even ask) your friends to come to your defense.

Abracadabra! Along comes a statement posted on the D.C. Chamber of Commerce’s website from President and CEO Barbara Lang saying that while "it is natural that people are questioning the business community’s continued support" for Gray, Hizzoner deserves that support because his "leadership has proven beneficial for the city and the business community in numerous ways."

Continues Lang:

While we are very concerned about recent actions by the U.S. Attorney, it is evident that despite the turbulence, Mayor Gray is staying focused on doing his job—improving the city and lives of District residents. It is of the utmost importance that our Mayor be able to remain focused on his duty, and Mayor Gray has proven his ability to do so.

Man, the Gray administration probably could not have said it better itself. So what prompted Lang to sing the mayor’s praises? For the record, she says no one in the Wilson Building’s executive suite asked her to write it. She says the motivation was to issue a blanket response to the numerous media calls she’s been getting about the Chamber’s relationship with Gray.

It’s also worth noting the personal connections at work here. Lang’s husband, Gerald Lang, was a fundraiser for the Gray campaign and a member of the campaign’s finance committee. Lang is also close with campaign chairwoman Lorraine Green, and even attended the D.C. Council hearing where Green denied knowing anything about illegal payments the Gray campaign gave to Sulaimon Brown.

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