June 12, 2011
Dear Chairman Brown, Councilmember Evans, and other members
of the D.C. Council:
Chairman Brown, on March 27, 2011 you responded to my email
of the same date concerning Mr. Evans’ continuing violation of the District’s
conflict of interest laws and regulations. This violation, as I explain in
detail in the attached emails, was in connection with his June and July 2009
recusals from voting on five separate occasions on the Marriott convention
center $272 million public financing legislation. You informed me then that you
would “look into this matter.” (See your email response below.) Since
11 weeks have gone by and I have heard nothing further on this matter, I wanted
to recontact you and ask: What have you found out? And specifically: Is it
correct, as the Examiner newspaper reported on July 1, 2009, that Mr. Evans’
outside law firm employer, Patton Boggs, represents Marriott? If not, what was
the reason for his recusal?
Examiner Article on topic: D.C. tentatively OKs paying $72M more to finance convention center hotel.
As I said then, and as I repeat now:
“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.”
Mr. Evans IS in violation of the law — a matter that should concern all of the members of the Council as you convene hearings tomorrow (June 13) on Chairman Brown’s new ethics legislation.
For you other councilmembers, let me also note what it says on the ethics page of the Council’s web site: “A Councilmember shall report immediately to the Office of the Inspector General, or other appropriate authorities any information concerning conduct which he or she knows, or should know, involves corrupt or other criminal activity, or conflict of interest of another Councilmember or employee of the District of Columbia or person dealing with the District. (See section 1803.8-11)”
From this email, and from my March 27 email on which you were all copied, you other councilmembers do, in fact, have knowledge of “a conflict of interest of another Councilmember” — namely, Mr. Evans — and should act accordingly to report this as prescribed above. Unlike all of the other ethics matters currently plaguing the Mayor and various councilmembers, this one is of a simple, straightforward nature that can be
dealt with very quickly and would stand as an example that perhaps the council
can, after all, help police its own ethical house on matters of concern to the public.
Chairman Brown, I look forward to hearing from you shortly on this matter. Thank you.