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

Mr. Chairman: Time to Order Jack Evans to Comply with Conflict Laws

February 3, 2011

Dear Chairman Brown:

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

Washington Times – Ethics rules let D.C. Council members shield outside income

Excerpt:

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.

Washington Times Article – Ethics rules let D.C. Council members shield outside income

The FightBack.org – Jack Evans In Violation of D.C. Law?

Excerpt:

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.)

See The FightBack.org – Jack Evans In Violation of D.C. Law?

New Chairman Must Order Evans to Comply with Conflict of Interest Laws

November 28, 2010

Dear Chairman-elect Brown:

First off, congratulations on your election to be D.C. Council chairman. I wish you the best in leading the Council in the years to come.

My main purpose for writing you is to call your attention to a conflict of interest matter that has been lingering for 17 months regarding Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans and the convention center hotel public financing legislation. You may already be aware of this troubling matter.

Despite my repeated requests to outgoing Chairman (now mayor-elect) Vincent Gray, the Office of Campaign Finance and the Board of Elections and Ethics to do something about it, 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 the D.C. conflict of interest laws and regulations contained in the D.C. Official Code and the D.C. Municipal Regulations, as well as in D.C. Council Rule 202.(Various portions of the applicable law are quoted in this letter and in my various enclosed communications with Chairman Gray’s office.) Continue reading