The D.C. Council is preparing to reprimand one of its own this week.
On the docket for a Tuesday meeting is Chairman Phil Mendelson’s proposed reprimand of Jack Evans, who’s accused of violating the council’s code of conduct by using his public office for personal gain. Evans is under fire for using his government email to seek business opportunities with law firms that lobby the D.C. government.
“He knowingly used the prestige of his office and public position seeking private gain,” the reprimand says.
But some on the council plan to push for a harsher penalty when the vote on the reprimand comes up.
“I’ve been pretty clear that I think it doesn’t go far enough,” said council member David Grosso. “It’s not being responsive to the whole situation that we have before us.”
Grosso wants the council to establish a special committee that would investigate Evans’ current situation and any developments as they happen. He also is hoping Evans gets thrown out of his position as chairman of the Committee on Finance and Revenue.
“He, in my opinion, should not be trusted with the chairmanship of that committee right now,” Grosso said. “He is going to be distracted from his job and that doesn’t serve the public well.”
The reprimand claims that Evans, on several occasions, directed a council employee to use government resources to email business proposals seeking employment. Evans said that he could use his “tenure, accomplishments and stature” to “generate business” for the law firms, according to the reprimand.
“Hopefully we’ll get some confirmation from Chairman Mendelson that he will expand the punishment,” Grosso said. “It’s on the chairman. It’s up to him to be in the lead here and do the right thing.”
Evans’ conduct is under investigation by a federal grand jury and by the District’s Board of Ethics and Government Accountability.
Earlier this month, Evans apologized to his constituents and colleagues.
“In retrospect, I would have done a lot of things differently,” Evans said. “I certainly made some major mistakes.”