Michael A. Brown (Washington, D.C. politician)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Michael A. Brown
Michael A Brown at DC Candidates Forum 13 Mar 13.jpg
Member of the Council of the District of Columbia at-large
In office
January 2, 2009 – January 2, 2013
Preceded byCarol Schwartz
Succeeded byDavid Grosso
Personal details
Michael Arrington Brown

(1965-03-04) March 4, 1965 (age 55)
Kassel, West Germany
Political partyDemocratic Party (2006 - 2008)
Independent (2008-present)
Spouse(s)Tamara Smith-Barnes (former)
ChildrenRyan Brown and Morgan Brown
Alma materClark University
Widener University School of Law

Michael Arrington Brown[1] (born March 4, 1965, in Kassel, West Germany[2]) is a politician in Washington, D.C. In 2008, he was elected an at-large member of the Council of the District of Columbia, and he served one four-year term.

Brown lived in Chevy Chase. He served a prison sentence for bribery from 2014 to 2016.[3][4][5][6][7] His father is Ron Brown, a former United States Secretary of Commerce.[8]

Early life[edit]

Brown was born in Kassel, West Germany, while his father was stationed there for the Army.[2] He moved to the District of Columbia at age six.[2] He graduated from Mackin Catholic High School in Washington,[9] then received a Bachelor of Science degree from Clark University in 1987.[10] He received a law degree from Widener University School of Law in 1991,[10] but he did not pass the bar.[11]

In 1993, he served as political director of America's Fund, a fund-raising network for political candidates of color.[12]

In 1997, Brown pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor of making a contribution to the 1994 reelection campaign of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy that exceeded the $2,000 limit.[13] He was required to perform 150 hours of community service and pay $7,818 to cover the cost of supervised probation.[13]

Brown considered running for mayor of the District of Columbia in 1998,[14] but he ultimately decided against it, saying his mother was adamantly against it.[15] At the time, he was a lobbyist for Patton Boggs and president and chief executive of the Ronald H. Brown Foundation.[14]

From 1996 to 2005,[16] Brown was vice chairman of the District of Columbia Boxing and Wrestling Commission.[17] His efforts to bring a Mike Tyson-Lenox Lewis boxing match to the District were ultimately unsuccessful.[18]

In 2005, Brown's wages were garnished by a court for defaulting on payments on a lease of an MCI Center suite.[19] At the time, Brown was a managing partner for the lobbying firm of Alcalde & Fay.[20]

2006 mayoral candidacy[edit]

In September 2005, Brown announced the beginning of his campaign for mayor of the District of Columbia.[21] Brown polled at 3 percent in August 2006 and was considered a long shot at best to become mayor in the election held that year. In an interview, his sister remembered that, at age 9, Brown had expressed his dream to be mayor someday.[22]

After consistently trailing the pack of mayoral candidates, Brown dropped out of the race September 7 and announced his support for another candidate, council chair Linda W. Cropp, saying "I cannot watch a political novice, a man without the courage and strength required to run the city, attempt to steal this race from someone who has seen the city through its worse times."[23] Federal prosecutors later said that Jeff Thompson paid Brown $350,000 to drop out of the race and endorse Cropp.[24]

Cropp lost to Adrian Fenty 57 to 31 percent in the Democratic primary five days later.[25]

2007 council candidacy[edit]

Brown ran to represent Ward 4 on the Council of the District of Columbia. The seat was vacated by Adrian Fenty when he became mayor. Brown lost the May 1 special election in a field of 19 candidates to Muriel Bowser after she received the mayor's endorsement, receiving 27 percent of the vote to Bowser's 40.[26]

Brown later admitted that he accepted a $20,000 illegal donation from Jeff Thompson during this campaign.[27]


As certified by the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics:[28]

    Name Party Votes Percentage
Muriel Bowser Democratic 5,064 40%
Michael A. Brown Democratic 3,433 27%
Charles Gaither Democratic 683 5%
Dwight E. Singleton Democratic 602 5%
Renee Bowser Statehood-Green 583 5%
Graylan Scott Hagler Democratic 468 4%
others 1,734 14%

2008 council candidacy[edit]

In 2008, Brown ran for a seat as an at-large member of the council.[7][29]

Unlike Brown's previous candidacies when he ran as a Democrat, Brown ran as an independent candidate.[29] District law allows only three of the five at-large Council seats, including Chair, to be affiliated with the same political party.[30] Chair Vincent Gray and Phil Mendelson, both Democrats, were not up for reelection in 2008, so only one of the seats up for reelection could be won by a Democrat. Democratic incumbent Kwame R. Brown was running for reelection and was likely to win, which made it nearly assured that the other seat up for election would go to a non-Democrat.

Brown later admitted to accepting an illegal $125,000 donation from Jeff Thompson during this campaign.[31]


As certified by the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics:[32]

    Name Party Votes Percentage
Kwame R. Brown Democratic 172,272 48%
Michael A. Brown Independent 71,720 20%
Write In (including Carol Schwartz) 39,493 11%
Patrick Mara Republican 37,447 10%
David Schwartzman Statehood-Green 18,596 5%
Mark H. Long Independent 14,603 4%
Dee Hunter Independent 7,311 2%

2012 council candidacy[edit]

In 2012, Brown ran for reelection as an at-large member of the council.

During the campaign, The Washington Post reported that Brown had received five notices of foreclosure on his house in Chevy Chase, Washington, D.C. between 1996 and 2010.[33] It was also reported that Brown was delinquent in paying property taxes on his house in January 2011.[33] In April 2011, the Internal Revenue Service filed a lien against Brown for nonpayment of over $50,000 of income taxes between 2004 and 2008.[33]

In July 2012, Brown announced that there had been large unauthorized expenditures.[34] Brown fired his campaign's treasurer,[34] who was indicted for the crime in March 2014.[35] Two months later, Brown said that over $110,000 was missing from his campaign's bank account, and he apologized to his supporters and contributors.[36] An audit by the Office of Campaign Finance found $126,000 of unreported expenditures and $8,446 in unreported contributions.[37] Between 2005 and 2010, Brown's driver's license had been suspended several times due to unpaid traffic citations and moving violations.[38]

Independent candidate David Grosso defeated Brown. Grosso received more votes than Brown in wards 1, 2, 3, 4, and 6, while Brown received more votes than Grosso in wards 5, 7, and 8.[39]


Unofficial results from The Washington Post:[40]

    Name Party Votes Percentage
Vincent Orange Democratic 122,762 38%
David Grosso Independent 68,362 21%
Michael A. Brown Independent 50,335 15%
Mary Brooks Beatty Republican 23,160 7%
A.J. Cooper Independent 21,535 7%
Leon J. Swain Jr. Independent 21,535 7%
Ann C. Wilcox Statehood-Green 18,985 6%

2013 council candidacy[edit]

Brown was one of seven candidates running for an at-large seat on the council in a special election held on April 23, 2013.[41] He dropped out of the campaign on April 2, too late to remove his name from the ballot.[42] Brown received two percent of the vote; Anita Bonds won the election with 31 percent of the vote.[43]

Federal prosecution and conviction[edit]

On June 7, 2013, federal prosecutors charged Brown with bribery.[44] Between July 2012 and February 2013, then-Councilmember Brown allegedly sought and accepted $55,000 in cash from representatives of a business to help the business receive contracts and preferential government certification.[44] The representatives were actually undercover employees of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.[44] Brown described it as a "loan arrangement", not a bribe.[44][45] The charge was issued with a document that usually indicates that there has been a plea deal.[44] Federal prosecutors sought a $35,000 judgement against Brown.[46]

In February 2014, federal prosecutors said that Jeffrey E. Thompson illegally paid $100,000 of Brown's campaign's bills, to which Brown admitted.[27][47] Brown also admitted to accepting a $20,000 illegal donation from Thompson during his 2007 campaign and an illegal $125,000 donation from Thompson during his 2008 campaign.[27][31] Brown was also accused of accepting a bribe from Thompson to drop out of the 2006 election for mayor.[48]

Brown pleaded guilty to the charge of accepting a bribe from the undercover agents.[49] As part of the plea deal, he did not face charges on accepting bribes and illegal contributions in 2006, 2007, and 2008, allowing him to avoid the minimum 15-year sentence he could have received had he been convicted by a jury.[3]

Prosecutors asked for Brown to be sentenced to 43 months in prison at his sentencing hearing on May 8, 2014.[27] Brown's defense attorneys requested that Brown be sentenced to less than 37 months, less than the minimum sentence under federal guidelines.[27]

On May 29, 2014, Brown was sentenced to 39 months in prison, two years of supervised release, and 200 hours of community service.[3] Brown's attorney said that Brown would not run for public office again.[50]


Brown was incarcerated at Federal Prison Camp, Montgomery, a minimum security prison in Alabama.[51] Brown was originally scheduled to be released in May 2017,[52] but he was released from prison to a halfway house in Baltimore in 2016.[53] In February 2017, Brown moved to home confinement at the home of his fiancée, Jessica Herrera-Nunez.[53]


Michael A. Brown is not to be confused with Michael D. Brown, who is the District's shadow senator.


  • Special Committee on Statehood and Self-Determination - Chairperson
  • Finance and Revenue
  • Housing and Workforce Development - Chairperson
  • Aging and Community Affairs
  • Human Services
  • Public Services and Consumer Affairs


  1. ^ Debonis, Mike (September 3, 2010). "M.D. Brown, The Real One, Stands Up". The Washington Post. p. B.2. ProQuest 749297655.
  2. ^ a b c "Michael A. Brown". The Washington Post. February 16, 2006.
  3. ^ a b c "Son of Former Commerce Secretary Ron Brown Pleaded Guilty to Federal Bribery Charge". The Afro. May 29, 2014.
  4. ^ Heil, Emily. Former city councilman Michael Brown is out of prison for bribery, and he wants to get married. The Washington Post. 2017-05-15.
  5. ^ Woodlee, Yolanda; Silverman, Elissa. Hopefuls Begin Staking Out Fenty's and Gray's Seats. The Washington Post. 2006-09-20.
  6. ^ Silverman, Elissa; Woodlee, Yolanda. Fenty's School Takeover Plan Gets Rough Reception. The Washington Post. 2007-03-02.
  7. ^ a b DeBonis, Mike. Brown Officially Enters At-Large Race. Washington City Paper. 2008-04-29.
  8. ^ Woodlee, Yolanda. Top Fundraisers Feel the Heat in Ward 4. The Washington Post. 2007-04-27
  9. ^ "Michael A. Brown". Washington Post. February 16, 2016.
  10. ^ a b Weingarten, Reid H.; Heberlig, Brian M.; Armstrong, Scott P. (April 24, 2014). "Michael Brown defense sentencing memo". Steptoe & Johnson LLP. The Washington Post.
  11. ^ "Corrections". The Washington Post. February 12, 2005. p. A2. ProQuest 409780416.
  12. ^ Cooper, Kenneth J. (August 29, 1993). "America's Fund for Minorities Joins the Campaign Bundle". The Washington Post. p. A8. ProQuest 307671417.
  13. ^ a b "Ron Brown's Son Given Probation for Illegal Contribution". The Washington Post. November 22, 1997. p. A6. ProQuest 408337759.
  14. ^ a b "Brown Takes Step Toward Mayoral Campaign". The Washington Post. July 3, 1998. p. B3. ProQuest 408388191.
  15. ^ "Brown Won't Run for D.C. Mayor". The Washington Post. July 8, 1998. p. B8. ProQuest 408385954.
  16. ^ Woodlee, Yolanda (April 23, 2005). "Williams Pulls Possible Rival's Posting: Boxing Panel Reappointment Withheld After Media Appearances". The Washington Post. p. B2. ProQuest 409764869.
  17. ^ Timberg, Craig; Pollack, Micah (March 13, 2002). "In Unanimous Vote, Tyson Wins License to Box in D.C.; Panel's Decision Could Bring Title Bout to MCI Center". The Washington Post. p. A1. ProQuest 409313266.
  18. ^ Chan, Sewell; Harris, Hamil R. (March 28, 2002). "Park Police Report on Barry Prompts Passionate Reaction". The Washington Post. p. T2. Archived from the original on September 24, 2015.
  19. ^ Kovaleski, Serge F. (March 4, 2005). "Possible Candidate In Default; D.C. Lobbyist's Wages Garnished". The Washington Post. p. B1. ProQuest 409949961.
  20. ^ "Fenty Releases Donors List; Other Campaigns Refuse". The Washington Post. February 10, 2005. p. T12. ProQuest 409891456.
  21. ^ Montgomery, Lori (September 15, 2005). "Lobbyist Enters Mayor's Race: Son of Late Commerce Secretary Vows to Alter D.C. Priorities". The Washington Post. p. B1. ProQuest 409881026.
  22. ^ Woodlee, Yolanda (September 5, 2006). "Brown Runs an Uphill Mayoral Race; Long-Shot Status Doesn't Worry Him". The Washington Post. p. B1. ProQuest 410102242.
  23. ^ Woodlee, Yolanda (September 8, 2006). "Brown Pulls Out, Endorses Cropp". The Washington Post. p. B02. Retrieved August 2, 2008.
  24. ^ "Feds claim D.C. mayor knew of illegal 'shadow campaign'". The Associated Press. WKBP-TV. March 10, 2014.
  25. ^ District of Columbia Board of Elections and Ethics (2006-11-21). "Election Year 2006: General Election Results". Archived from the original on 2008-07-30. Retrieved 2008-08-02.
  26. ^ "Results: Washington, D.C. Special Election May 1". The Washington Post. May 1, 2007. Retrieved July 26, 2008.
  27. ^ a b c d e DeBonis, Mike; Marimow, Ann E. (April 24, 2014). "Michael Brown should serve more than 3 years, prosecutors say". The Washington Post.
  28. ^ "Special Election: Certified Official Results Report" (PDF). District of Columbia Board of Elections and Ethics. May 11, 2007.
  29. ^ a b DeBonis, Mike. Finally! Schwartz Announces Re-Election Bid. Washington City Paper. 2008-06-09.
  30. ^ "District of Columbia Home Rule Act, Section 401(d)(3)" (PDF). Government of the District of Columbia. May 10, 2013. Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, at no time shall there be more than three members (including the Chairman) serving at large on the Council who are affiliated with the same political party.
  31. ^ a b Marrimow, Ann E.; DeBonis, Mike (May 29, 2014). "Former D.C. Council member Michael A. Brown gets more than 3 years in bribery case". The Washington Post.
  32. ^ "General Election 2008: Certified Results". District of Columbia Board of Elections and Ethics. November 24, 2008. Archived from the original on January 25, 2009. Retrieved November 26, 2008.
  33. ^ a b c Craig, Tim (April 19, 2012). "Missed Rent Payments Add to Michael Brown's Financial Woes". The Washington Post.
  34. ^ a b Craig, Tim (June 29, 2012). "Michael Brown: 'Substantial' Amount Missing from Campaign Account". The Washington Post.
  35. ^ Sommer, Will (March 12, 2014). "Former Michael Brown Treasurer Charged With Blowing Campaign Fund on Jet-Setting". Washington City Paper.
  36. ^ Craig, Tim (September 11, 2012). "More Than $110,000 Missing from D.C. Councilman Michael A. Brown's Campaign Coffers". The Washington Post.
  37. ^ Craig, Tim (September 24, 2012). "Michael A. Brown's Former Treasurer Was Instructed to Take Money from Campaign Account, Lawyer Says". The Washington Post.
  38. ^ Craig, Tim (September 15, 2012). "D.C. Council's Brown Lost Driving Privileges Repeatedly for Violations, Unpaid Tickets". The Washington Post.
  39. ^ DeBonis, Mike (November 7, 2012). "Mapping David Grosso's D.C. Council Victory". The Washington Post.
  40. ^ "Election Results 2012". The Washington Post. November 12, 2012. Archived from the original on December 26, 2014. Retrieved September 4, 2017.
  41. ^ District of Columbia Board of Elections and Ethics (2013-03-01). "Updated List of Candidates in Ballot Order for the April 23, 2013 Special Election". Retrieved 2013-03-17.
  42. ^ The Washington Post (April 2, 2013). "Michael A. Brown ends D.C. Council comeback bid". Retrieved April 3, 2013.
  43. ^ "Special Election 2013: Certified Results". District of Columbia Board of Elections. May 10, 2013. Archived from the original on January 21, 2015. Retrieved May 30, 2014.
  44. ^ a b c d e DeBonis, Mike; Marimow, Ann E. (June 7, 2013). "Michael A. Brown Is Charged With Bribery". The Washington Post.
  45. ^ "USA vs. Michael Brown". United States District Court for the District of Columbia. via The Washington Post. June 7, 2013.
  46. ^ Ackland, Matt (June 7, 2013). "Bribery Charge Filed Against Ex-DC Councilman Michael Brown". Associated Press. myFoxdc.com. Archived from the original on April 2, 2015.
  47. ^ DeBonis, Mike; Marimow, Ann E. (February 7, 2014). "Jeffrey Thompson is said to have secretly pumped $100,000 into 2008 Brown campaign". The Washington Post.
  48. ^ Sommer, Will (May 29, 2014). "Michael Brown Apologizes, Sentenced to 39 Months". Washington City Paper.
  49. ^ Sommer, Will (June 10, 2013). "Michael Brown Pleads Guilty to Bribery". Washington City Paper.
  50. ^ Freed, Benjamin (May 29, 2014). "Former DC Council Member Michael A. Brown Gets 39 Months in Jail". Washingtonian.
  51. ^ DeBonis, Michael (August 19, 2014). "Michael A. Brown, now-jailed D.C. lawmaker, continues to fight ethics charges". Washingtonian.
  52. ^ "Jailed former city councilman Michael Brown's Chevy Chase home sold at foreclosure".
  53. ^ a b Heil, Emily. "Former city councilman Michael Brown is out of prison for bribery, and he wants to get married". The Washington Post. May 15, 2017.
Council of the District of Columbia
Preceded by
Carol Schwartz
At-Large Member, Council of the District of Columbia
Succeeded by
David Grosso