Kwame R. Brown

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Kwame R. Brown (born 1970) was the Chairman of the District of Columbia Council until he resigned to plead guilty to bank fraud and campaign finance charges in 2012.

Brown is the son of another District of Columbia politician. He was born October 13, 1970, at Columbia Hospital for Women in Washington, D.C. Brown graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School and participated in the Mayor's Youth Leadership Program. Brown then studied at Morgan State University in Baltimore, earning a Bachelor of Arts in Marketing. Brown is a graduate of both the Minority Business Executive Program, & Advanced Business Executive Program at the Amos Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth College and the Senior Executives in State & Local Government Program at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.[1]

In 2002, Brown purchased a home in the Hillcrest neighborhood of Southeast Washington.[2] In 2004, Brown was elected to the D.C. Council defeating long-time Councilman Harold Brazil.[3] Brown was the first council member living east of the Anacostia River to be elected citywide.[2]

Brown was up for reelection in 2008 and faced no opposition in the Democratic primary. In that election, Brown raised nearly $1 million. The D.C. Office of Campaign Finance audited the campaign's books and found $270 million of unreported fund raising and spending. The audit also determined that $239,000 had been passed along to a consulting firm run by Brown's brother Che Brown.[2]

During his tenure as an at-large member of the City Council, Brown served as Chair of the Council's Committee on Economic Development.[4]

In 2010, there was speculation that Brown would run against incumbent Adrian Fenty for mayor of D.C. However, on March 31, 2010, one day after Council Chair Vincent C. Gray announced that he would run against Fenty, Brown announced that he would run for Gray's Council Chair position.[5] However, by 2010, Brown was in financial trouble with at least $700,000 in personal debt.[2] On September 14, 2010, Brown won the Democratic primary for Chairperson, receiving 55 percent of the vote to former Ward 5 Councilman Vincent Orange's 39 percent and school board member Dorothy Douglas' 6 percent. He faced no opposition in the November 2 general election, and Brown was sworn in as Chairperson of the DC Council on January 2, 2011.[6]

In the midst of a significant revenue shortfall for the District, as Chairman-elect of the Council, Brown requested the District order a Lincoln Navigator L for his use.[7] The vehicle costs the city $1,963.28 a month to lease and it was shown that Brown rejected an earlier model that did not have a "black on black" interior.[8]

As the investigation into the 2008 campaign expanded, authorities discovered that Brown had falsified records to boost his claimed income on applications for bank loans. The false application helped Brown get a home-equity loan to purchase a $50,000 power-boat that Brown named "Bullet Proof".[2] On June 5, 2012, Brown announced, "I have no plans to resign. That is all I am going to say ... I have no plans at this time to resign."[9] On June 7, Brown resigned, and the D.C. Council will elect an interim replacement on June 13. On June 9, 2012, Brown plead guilty in Federal District Court to felony bank fraud and in D.C. Superior Court to a misdemeanor charge of violating a D.C. campaign finance law.[10] Brown's guilty plea comes just two weeks after two aides to Mayor Gray admitted that they funeled funds to a minor candidate to keep him in the race to attack then mayor Adrian Fenty.[10] Harry Thomas, Jr, another D.C. councilman also resigned and plead guilty for stealing more than $350,000 in city funds.[10]

On November 13, 2012, Brown was sentenced to one day in custody, six months of home detention, and two years of probation. Brown must also serve 480 hours of community service.[11]

Election history

2004 Council of the District of Columbia, At Large, Democratic Primary Election[12]

Kwame R. Brown (D) 54%
Harold Brazil (D) 32%
Sam Brooks (D) 13%
Write-in 0%

2004 Council of the District of Columbia, At Large, General Election[13]

Kwame R. Brown (D) 55%
Carol Schwartz (R) 31%
Laurent Ross (STG) 8%
A.D. "Tony" Dominguez (I) 5%
Write-in 1%

2008 Council of the District of Columbia, At Large, Democratic Primary Election[14]

Kwame R. Brown (D) 100%

2008 Council of the District of Columbia, At Large, General Election[15]

Kwame R. Brown (D) 48%
Michael A. Brown (I) 20%
Write-in 11%
Patrick Mara (R) 10%

2010 Council of the District of Columbia, Chairperson, Democratic Primary Election[6]

Kwame R. Brown (D) 55%
Vincent B. Orange, Sr. (D) 39%
Dorothy Douglas (D) 6%

2010 Council of the District of Columbia, Chairperson, Democratic General Election[16]

Kwame R. Brown (D) 88%
Ann C. Wilcox (STG) 10%
Write-in 2%


  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Quentin Wilber, Del. "Ex=council chief charged with violating D.C. Campaign law", Washington Post, June 8, 2012, p. A6. 
  3. District of Columbia: Board of Elections and Ethics: Election Results
  4. Council Period 17 Committees. Council of the District of Columbia. Retrieved 2008-06-09.
  5. Marimow, Ann E.. "Brown makes his play to be D.C. Council's captain", The Washington Post, July 26, 2010. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 Marimow, Ann E., and Kumar, Anita. Kwame Brown handily defeats Orange in primary contest for council chairman's spot. The Washington Post. 2010-09-15.
  7. DeBonis, Mike. "'Fully loaded' SUV puts D.C. Council Chairman Kwame Brown on the spot", The Washington Post, February 20, 2011. 
  8. Gray and Brown’s SUVs Cost More Than Your Rent (Updated)
  9. Craig, Tim. "Charges coming to D.C. Council", Washington Post, June 6, 2012, p. B1. 
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Del Quentin Wilber and Keith L. Alexander. "From D.C. Council chief to convicted felon", Washington Post, June 9, 2012, p. A1. 
  11. Del Quentin Wilber and Keith L. Alexander. "Brown gets one day in custody", Washington Post, Novmeber 14, 2012, p. B1. 
  12. Certified Results. District of Columbia Board of Elections and Ethics (2004-09-14).
  13. Certified Summary Results (PDF). District of Columbia Board of Elections and Ethics (2004-11-18).
  14. Primary Election. DCist (2008-09-09).
  15. D.C. Council Elections Yield Victories for Kwame R. Brown, Lavon Williams. WJLA (2004-11-18).
  16. "Certified Results", D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics Certified Results. 2010-11-19.