The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has opened a full investigation into allegations of corruption against the office of Washington, D.C., Mayor Vincent Gray (D).

Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) announced the probe on Thursday after failed mayoral primary candidate Sulaimon Brown alleged that he was paid by two Gray staffers in exchange for attacking then-D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty (D). After the election, Brown was given a six-figure salary city job, but was later fired.


A subpanel on Issa's committee is in charge of overseeing the District's government. The California Republican said he had requested that staff members gather initial information on the situation and that more needs to be done.

"The initial findings of these efforts do not give me confidence that the District government can make this evaluation," he said in a statement. "As such, the Oversight and Government Reform Committee has begun a full investigation to determine the facts and will report its findings."

Gray's office said the mayor would co-operate with the investigation but believed the matter was being sufficiently looked into without congressional involvement.

"Gray reiterated his position that he welcomes any investigation into the matter. He previously requested the District of Columbia Attorney General to investigate the Brown allegations and said he would fully cooperate with that investigation and any others arising out of these allegations," his office said in a statement.

"Mayor Gray believes that there are sufficient investigative bodies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, addressing and responding to Mr. Brown's allegations. Congressional involvement is not likely to illuminate any additional issues or information. Although the Mayor, in his support for the autonomy of the District of Columbia, does not encourage congressional oversight of city matters, he and his administration will cooperate fully with this investigation."

The investigation could cause yet another headache for Gray, who took office just two months ago.

It also shows that the Republican-controlled House is taking a more active role in overseeing the D.C. government, which is led by Democrats. The Democratic House took a more laissez-faire approach to city affairs during its four-year stretch in power.

"Even after the Home Rule Act, the federal government still has significant responsibilities and federal taxpayer dollars fund a large portion of the District’s budget," Issa explained. The 1973 Home Rule Act delegated significant responsibilities away from Congress to the D.C. government.

Gray has already called for an investigation into the Brown allegations led by the D.C. Council and the city's attorney general. The mayor dismissed his chief of staff Gerri Mason Hall on Wednesday in the wake of the probe.

"Gerri and I discussed this matter extensively and we both agreed that the distractions of the past few weeks have overshadowed the important work of this government," he said in a statement. "We have agreed that this decision is in the best interest of the city."

The firing also came after The Washington Post reported that some officials in Gray's office were making almost $200,000, significantly more than top staff in Fenty's administration earned.

A statement from Issa's office said that investigators have spoken to city government officials, as well as some outside government, but said that attempts to speak with figures "close to the mayor," including Hall, have been unsuccessful.

-- This post was updated at 5:59 p.m.