The problem with almost every DC government employee is they act like everything is running just fine. It’s not fine and it hasn’t been since at least the 2nd Barry administration. The worst example of this complacency is the Council. Their job is to oversee the 30,000 executive branch employees and the 9 billion dollars they spend each year. The Council has no momentum to improve the profound dysfunctionality. We have a ridiculous employee to citizen ratio. We have a ridiculous police officer to citizen ratio. If you don’t properly oversee the road construction contractor, you have to pave the road more frequently. They can only say the budget has been cut to the bone. Well, you have to fix those agencies who are spending twice as much and using twice the number of people to get much to get as much done as other governments.
And, surprise surprise, the Council is turning out to be just as dysfunctional and corrupt as the people it is supposed to be regulating. All the attention is on $300,000 going to a Councilman or $200,000 going to the Chair’s brother. What about the $50 million that Gandhi let slip out the back door? (Another $400,000 went out his back door recently.)What about Jack Evans refusing to explain why he recused himself on $190 million dollar subsidy vote that benefits a corporation that his lobbying firm represents? Surprise, Marriott is coming back for more. Does anyone have any hope that any combination of the 9 ethics bills floating around the Council will fix the executive branch, the regulators (like the Bureau of Elections and Ethics, the Taxi Commission) or the Council? Or is all Bread and Circuses?
Your intro mentioned you are covering tax breaks for development deals. I don’t understand why no big media outlets are covering Jack Evans’ conflict of interest in deals that adds up to bigger corruption than the rest of the Thomas, Brown, and Gray scandals combined. It’s certainly bigger in what it costs the taxpayers by more than a hundred-fold. It make me think of the phrase “steal a little and they throw you in jail; steal a lot and they make you king”.
Many of us wondered if CM Evans was working for us or his lobbying firm, Patton Boggs, on the stadium, the convention center, and all those Disney-like Gallery Place deals. Dupont resident John Hanrahan did the research that finally appears to implicate our Councilman in a massive conflict of interest scheme where developers get rich and the tax payers (his supposed constituents) don’t get represented.
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?
“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 →
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 →
This is to follow up on my November 28, 2010 email to you, to which you have not yet responded. My purpose in writing you again is to call your attention once more to an appearance of conflict of interest matter that has been lingering for 19 months regarding Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans and the Marriott convention center hotel public financing legislation. Specifically, I call your attention again to Mr. Evans’ failure to comply with the laws requiring full disclosure of the reasons for his recusals on five occasions in June and July 2009. As you and other council members all take an oath to uphold the law, I trust that you will give this matter your immediate attention and require Mr. Evans to comply with all requirements of the D.C. conflict of interest laws.
Despite my repeated requests to former chairman-now Mayor Vincent Gray, the Office of Campaign Finance (OCF) and the Board of Elections and Ethics (BOEE) to perform their duties and require Mr. Evans to comply with the law, all of those offices have ignored my requests. I would hope — in the spirit of transparency, adherence to the law, and conflict-of-interest-free good government — that you (unlike your predecessor) would take appropriate action to require Mr. Evans to comply with provisions of the D.C. Official Code and the D.C. Municipal Regulations, as well as D.C. Council Rule 202. As an attorney and member of the D.C. Bar, Mr. Evans has an additional duty to adhere to that organization’s ethical standards. Continue reading →
D.C. Council Chairman Kwame R. Brown last year reported earning $45,000 in outside income on top of his six-figure government salary for 2009, but who paid him and why is anybody’s guess. City ethics rules don’t require Mr. Brown to say.
Mr. Brown, a Democrat and at-large council member before his recent election as chairman, is among a group of five council members who last year reported earning tens of thousands of dollars in outside income in 2009.
Today, along with voting to close a $188 million budget shortfall, the D.C. Council is scheduled to vote on a $46 million tax abatement for a proposed luxury boutique hotel in Adams Morgan to be operated by Marriott. Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans, who earns a second six-figure salary from the law and lobbying firm Patton Boggs, recused himself from voting on the last deal involving taxpayer subsidies for a project involving Marriott, possibly because his firm represented Marriott (details below). It will be interesting to see whether Mr. Evans recuses himself today as well. (Update: Mr. Evans did not recuse himself and the measure passed by a 9-3 margin, with one abstention (Muriel Bowser). Councilmembers David Catania, Phil Mendelson and Mary Cheh opposed the tax abatement.)