DC councilman accused of trading power for backing

WASHINGTON (AP) — The leader of the Washington, D.C., Council is accused of trading roles and responsibilities to other council members in exchange for backing.

The Washington Post reports Chair Phil Mendelson is accused of using the quid pro quo to pass a no-bid sports betting and lottery contract and block harsh penalties for a member accused of ethics violations.

The allegations highlight the growing divide between the council’s older, moderate and mostly black leaders and more recently elected members, who are mostly white and younger than 50.

Only white members of the 13-member council raised concerns including cronyism against the betting contract, which uses predominantly black subcontractors. Councilman Robert C. White Jr. provided the crucial seventh vote that passed the contract. Mendelson recently gave the black lawmaker Jack Evans’ WMATA seat.

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Information from: The Washington Post, http://www.washingtonpost.com

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