Open Letter To Chairman Kwame Brown and Councilman Jack Evans

March 27, 2011

Dear Chairman Brown and Councilmember Evans,

You and other council members have recently — and correctly — focused on a number of issues that raise ethical questions and open government issues in both the executive and legislative branches of the D.C. government. Both of you in particular have issued statements stressing the need for the D.C. government to put its ethical house in order.

Given this stated consideration for ethics, isn’t it about time that you, Councilmember Evans — after ignoring the requirements of the District’s conflict of interest laws and regulations for the past 21 months — finally comply with the law and explain in writing your recusals from voting on the Marriott convention center hotel public financing legislation on five separate occasions in late June and July 2009?

The law is clear: When a council member recuses himself or herself on a matter, D.C. laws (the D.C. Official Code, the D.C. Municipal Regulations and the Council’s own Rule 202) require that he explain in writing the nature of the conflict of interest (or appearance of a conflict) and the reasons for the recusal to the Council Chairman, the Board of Elections and Ethics and the Office of Campaign Finance. As all three offices have told me in answer to FOIA requests that I submitted, that you, Mr. Evans, have not submitted a written explanation as required by law. Continue reading