Chairman Gray FOIA Request – Folllow Up

August 13, 2010

Dear Chairman Gray:

This is a reminder that your response to my Freedom of Information Act request is overdue. The District of Columbia Freedom of Information Act requires a response to FOIA requests within 15 working days, and it has been 19 working days since I filed my request regarding Councilmember Jack Evans. (My FOIA request is copied below.)

Please note that Kathy Williams, general counsel of the Office of Campaign Finance, has responded to my initial FOIA request to that office by informing me that Mr. Evans has not filed a statement with OCF explaining his June 2009 recusal from voting on legislation pertaining to the Marriott International Convention Center hotel. Kenneth McGhie, general counsel for the Board of Elections and Ethics, has not yet responded to my similar FOIA request to that agency. His response, like yours, is four working days overdue.

As I noted in my original request, D.C. law and regulations require that when a council member recuses himself because of the appearance of, or actual, conflict of interest, he must file a written statement explaining the recusal with your office, the OCF and the BOEE.

As I also noted in my FOIA request to you, if such a statement was not provided to you by Mr. Evans, I would ask that you take the appropriate, prompt steps to obtain such a statement from Mr. Evans and, once it is in hand, to provide me with a copy of it under the D.C. Freedom of Information Act. Continue reading


Jack Evans and Patton Boggs: Questions of Conflicts of Interest

From John Hanrahan

Does the mainstream press in the District of Columbia care about conflicts of interest and ethical problems for members of the D.C. Council other than Marion Barry? If so, why are members of the press corps, of which I was a long-time member, so incurious about the interlocking public-private interests of my Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans?

The facts, which point to a glaring, unmistakable appearance of a conflict of interest by Evans, relate to two recent matters of obvious special interest to Evans’s outside employer, the highly influential Patton Boggs law firm/lobbying firm, which pays Evans $240,000 a year for unspecified services:

1. Evans’s recent unsuccessful effort to provide $25 million — or more, if need be — in tax incentives to defense industry giant Northrop Grumman to move its headquarters to the District of Columbia, rather than to suburban Maryland or Northern Virginia locations that were being considered for the planned move. Evans’s actions helped spark a bidding war between the jurisdictions, as The Washington Post noted editorially. Interestingly, and unreported in the press, Northrop Grumman — which stood to benefit from the bidding war — is a client of the Breaux-Lott Leadership Group. Breaux Lott for the last two years has had a “strategic relationship” with Patton Boggs and, according to press reports in March, was in negotiations to be acquired by Patton Boggs. [NOTE: SINCE I WROTE THIS PIECE, NEWS ARTICLES AND A PATTON BOGGS PRESS RELEASE IN THE LAST COUPLE OF WEEKS REPORTED THAT PATTON BOGGS HAS INDEED ACQUIRED BREAUX LOTT AND ITS CLIENTS, INCLUDING NORTHROP GRUMMAN, PRESUMABLY.]  Appearance of a conflict of interest? Newsworthy? I think so. Continue reading