DC Dem Party chair ‘deeply disappointed’ in Evans; asks councilman ‘to take a step back’

There’s a choir of calls for scandal-plagued D.C. Council member Jack Evans to resign from his post, and now the D.C. Democratic Party has asked Evans to step down as a national committeeman.

On the heels of a report by the law firm of O’Melveny & Myers made public Tuesday, which cites nearly a dozen violations of District code and ethics, D.C. Democratic Party Chair Charles Wilson released a statement Wednesday detailing how he is “deeply disappointed” in Evans’ conduct.

Evans has been accused of using government resources to solicit business, luring them with his influence as a long-serving city lawmaker.

“In light of these accusations, I’ve asked Jack to take a step back and consider whether these continued distractions are beneficial to our organization,” Wilson wrote.

“Though I acknowledge these allegations are not directly related to his role as National Committeeman for the D.C. Democratic Party, I expect all members of our party to maintain the highest level of integrity in their activities and leadership positions both within the party and in the community.”

In light of the allegations against Evans, Wilson said the D.C. Democratic Party is examining its own internal policies and procedures.

Wilson said the group is finalizing a new code of conduct.

“We are also in the process of updating our bylaws to allow for more responsive action to conduct violations by our members in the future,” he wrote.

The Metro Board is set to change conflict of interest rules to increase required disclosures and promise a public accounting of any future ethics violations.

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.

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.

Council member Brianne K. Nadeau called for Evans to resign on Tuesday and, earlier this year, she introduced the “One Job at a Time” bill that would prohibit council members from holding second jobs while serving on the council.

And Council member Trayon White tweeted Wednesday evening, “What he should do is his choice, but I told him he should resign and focus on his family who solely depend on him.”

Phil Mendelson, 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.

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

WTOP’s Kristi King and Teta Alim contributed to this report.

Will Vitka

William Vitka is a Digital Writer/Editor for WTOP.com. He's been in the news industry for over a decade. Before joining WTOP, he worked for CBS News, Stuff Magazine, The New York Post and wrote a variety of books—about a dozen of them, with more to come.

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