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Jeffrey Thompson holds up his hands to indicate he will not speak to reporters as he leaves federal court March 10, 2014, in Washington. / Cliff Owen, AP

WASHINGTON - A Washington businessman pleaded guilty Monday to funding shadow campaign activity for several candidates, including Hillary Rodham Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign and the 2010 election of Washington's current mayor.

Jeffrey Thompson, 58, pleaded guilty to two conspiracy charges tied to allegations that he secretly funneled more than $3.3 million in illegal donations to political candidates and their campaigns.

Thompson's guilty pleas were part of a long-running probe into charges that Thompson helped engineer a shadow campaign to elect Democrat Vincent Gray as the city's mayor. Thompson used his companies to channel more than $668,000 to secretly aid Gray, prosecutors say.

He also spent about $608,000 to fund illicit get-out-the-vote efforts in several states and Puerto Rico to aid a presidential campaign. The documents do not name the candidate, but Clinton's campaign lawyer Lyn Utrecht has previously acknowledged that the probe into Thompson's activities included the Clinton's 2008 campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination. (Those allegations were detailed last year in court documents surrounding the guilty plea of a Thompson business associate.)

In a statement Monday, prosecutors said "there is no indication that the presidential candidate was personally aware" of Thompson's secret activities.

Utrecht did not respond to interview requests late Monday. Clinton currently is weighing another presidential bid in 2016.

In all, Thompson was involved in illegal campaign activity to aid more than two dozen candidates, prosecutors said.

Gray has not been charged with a crime. Federal prosecutors said Monday that he was aware of Thompson's shadow campaign. He has denied wrongdoing.

The charges come just weeks before the April 1 Democratic mayoral primary, in which Gray faces challenges from seven other candidates.

Follow @fschouten on Twitter.



Copyright 2014 USATODAY.com

Read the original story: Businessman admits secret campaign to aid Clinton, Gray

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