D.C. Councilmembers David Catania, Mary Cheh and Muriel Bowser have told FOX 5 News Wednesday that they believe that Mayor Vincent Gray should resign from office after federal prosecutors revealed a $653,000 shadow campaign helped elect him into office.
"His legitimacy as Mayor is finished," Catania told FOX 5's Matt Ackland. "These illegal contributions, not a few contributions, this illegal shadow campaign underminded our entire Democracy. It cast the legitimacy of the election in doubt. And certainly, whether he knew it or not, he should step down."
While live on the air on FOX 5 News at 5, Cheh was asked to give her reaction to the latest developments of the latest shadow campaign revelations.
"I'm very, very sad, and I will announce to you now that I am going to join Councilmember Catania in asking the Mayor to resign," said Cheh.
She also issued the following statement on Mayor Gray and his 2010 mayoral campaign:
"Today, I join Councilmember Catania in calling on Mayor Gray to resign. Whether or not he knew of the massive election fraud that was taking place in his name, he is responsible for it. I cannot overemphasize the sadness that accompanies this action on my part. I came to know Vincent Gray as Chairman of the Council, and during the four year that we served together, I did not know of a single person with more integrity and commitment to the people of the District of Columbia. Indeed, that is why I endorsed him when he ran for Mayor. But the facts cannot be ignored and what has happened since has caused incalculable harm to the District. I believe that he would do a great public service if he would step aside now."
Ward 4 Councilmember Muriel Bowser confirmed to FOX 5 Wednesday evening that she is also calling on Mayor Gray to resign.
"I think that it's frankly in the best interest of our city if the Mayor concentrates on his legal concerns so that we can get on with the business of government," Bowser said.
On Wednesday, Mayor Gray says he never knew about illegal fundraising taking place behind the scenes.
"This is not the campaign we intended to run," Gray said.
When asked if he planned to finish his term, he said, "I have no plans to do otherwise."
FOX 5 has been told Mayor Gray asked Council Chairman Phil Mendelson to his office late Wednesday evening. Soon, Mendelson issued a statement saying it was premature to ask for Gray to step down.
"The suspicion that there was a "shadow campaign" in the 2010 Mayoral race is not new news. However, yesterday's confirmation of the suspicion is news, and it is disturbing."
"I applaud the U.S. Attorney for his investigation and his continuing efforts to expose and prosecute wrongdoing in the 2010 campaign."
"I am not privy to any more information than what all of us are learning from news reports. Importantly, the U.S. Attorney has not accused the Mayor of having broken the law, and absent that charge the call for Vince Gray to resign is premature. Indeed, typically people say that the process should play itself out. That is all the more reasonable when there isn't even a criminal charge."
"Moreover, given the facts we know, the call for the Mayor's resignation creates instability at a time when we need just the opposite."
"I will not defend criminal behavior, and I do not defend what we now know about the 2010 campaign. But I also urge restraint in the seeking of another resignation until the U.S. Attorney actually asserts that the Mayor himself did something wrong."