DC Council member Jack Evans asked to resign following release of report on ethics probe

FILE- In this May 31, 2019 file photo, D.C. Council member Jack Evans joins D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, right, at the podium during a news conference announcing a dedicated bus lane in downtown Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

An investigation on behalf of the D.C. Council into the conduct of Ward 2 Council member Jack Evans details a pattern of pay to play in which Evans used his elected position for personal gain.

The report by the law firm of O’Melveny & Myers made public Tuesday cites nearly a dozen violations of District code and ethics violations, such as failing to disclose tens of thousands of dollars in outside income he was being paid, and failing to recuse himself from votes in actions on behalf of clients who were paying him at the time.

Evans’ attorneys have submitted to the D.C. Council a point-by-point response to each alleged violation, stating for example that the report selectively misquoted Evans’ testimony and stating that the rushed process of the investigation allowed errors that affected conclusions.

Calls for Evans’ resignation rolled in Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning..

D.C. Council member Charles Allen, however, has confidence in the validity of the report.

“This process has wasted too much time, money and trust, and it is time he resign,” Allen said in a statement. “With the investigative report’s findings now complete, I believe it is in the best interest of the District of Columbia that Council member Evans step down and allow for a special election to provide the residents of Ward 2 an opportunity for new leadership and representation.”

D.C. Council member Mary Cheh said six of her colleagues have called for Evans’ resignation.

“I had withheld my view so as to not color their impressions of the law firm report in any way. However, it is now clear that will not be the case,” Cheh said in a statement released Wednesday.

“I think resignation would be a wise and appropriate step for Mr. Evans to take, and I encourage him to do so,” she said.

Cheh, who chairs of the council’s ad hoc committee on the matter, plans a hearing on the report Nov. 19 with the lawyers who conducted the investigation into Evans. The committee could then ask for further investigation, or invite Evans to respond.

“Should Mr. Evans not resign, the Ad Hoc Committee is still in the midst of its investigation. It will continue its work in a fair, judicious, and transparent manner and will craft recommendations for sanctions,” Cheh said.

If, after the committee is satisfied all evidence is in, the council decides to take action against Evans, it could censure or expel him, Cheh said.

“We’ve already reprimanded him,” she said.

“It is clear that he has irreparably harmed the public’s trust by using his office to benefit private clients and himself,” At-Large Council member Robert C. White Jr. tweeted. “In the best interest of the city, Mr. Evans must resign.”

And At-Large Council member Elissa Silverman, in response to a Twitter thread from The Washington Post’s Fenit Nirappil, tweeted, in part, “… I would vote in favor of expulsion and hope CM (sic) Evans would resign before we have to take such an action by the ad hoc committee.”

Before the D.C. Council recessed for the summer, it disbanded its Committee on Finance and Revenue that Evans chaired to essentially strip him of the position, but it rejected a proposal to remove him from all council committees with a tied vote of 6 to 6 — one member was absent.

“But at that point, we neither had the WMATA lawyers’ investigation, we didn’t have the Board of Elections settlement report with him, and we didn’t have our own now investigation with the layers we had looking into this, so I think it’s a changed landscape entirely,” Cheh said.

An investigation into Evans’ conduct by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for D.C. continues.

Kristi King

Kristi King is a veteran reporter who has been working in the WTOP newsroom since 1990. She covers everything from breaking news to consumer concerns and the latest medical developments.

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