All 12 D.C. Councilmembers issued a statement denouncing the decision by former Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans (D) to run for the seat that he vacated earlier this month after being pressured to resign from office.
The councilmembers had previously recommended that Evans be expelled from the Council over accusations that he repeatedly breached ethics rules by failing to disclose outside income and failing to recuse himself from votes affecting clients of his consulting firm who had business before the Council. Evans continues to deny any wrongdoing.
Facing public pressure and the prospect of being forcibly removed from office, Evans tendered his resignation on Jan. 17. Just before resigning, as his ostensibly “last” act in office, he introduced a bill to reimburse the Capital Pride Alliance and waive future administrative fees that they’ve had to pay in the past to carry out the annual Capital Pride Parade and Capital Pride Festival.
But on Monday, Evans announced he would run for his old seat, joining six others seeking the Democratic Party nomination for the Ward 2 seat. The primary is on June 2. Evans will also be running in a June 16 special election to fill the remaining five-and-a-half months of his unexpired term — which is estimated to cost District taxpayers about $1 million.
Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, a longtime Evans ally, told the Washington City Paper that he was “disappointed” with Evans’ decision, expressing concerns that it would only further erode public trust in the Council. Mayor Muriel Bowser, another Evans ally, dodged a Washington Post reporter’s question about Evans, saying that she wouldn’t be weighing in on the race.
Meanwhile, Councilmember Robert White (D-At-Large) called Evans’ decision “selfish and frankly embarrassing to the city,” saying that re-electing Evans to his old seat would allow him to dodge accountability and would “tarnish the reputation of the city.”
On Thursday, all 12 councilmembers signed their names to a statement blasting Evans’ actions.
“All of us agreed to expel Jack Evans from the DC Council after an exhaustive investigation found numerous violations of our Code of Conduct. Mr. Evans resigned before we could formally vote to expel him last week. His decision to run for Ward 2 Councilmember again, which we do not and cannot support, shows a willful and arrogant disregard for ethics and is not in the best interests of the District,” the statement reads.
“It is time to rebuild the public’s trust in the Council, which is why it is time to move on and focus on the issues that matter most to the residents and businesses of our city.”
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