| November 11, 2019 09:20 AM
A Washington, D.C., council member is refusing to step down from office despite an investigation that found nearly a dozen instances in which he violated ethics rules.
Democratic Ward 2 Councilman Jack Evans is clinging to power after it was determined last week that he used his public role to benefit private clients on at least 11 occasions, including using his office to assist clients who paid him upward of $800 an hour.
“Mr. Evans has obliterated the public trust, and that would speak as well for the trust from his colleagues,” said Council Chairman Phil Mendelson at a press conference last week. “I think the report is damning. When you think about it, there’s no good news in it.”
However, Evans has maintained that he has committed no wrongdoing, responding to the investigation with a 42-page report rejecting the findings.
“None of his lapses were intentional; none reflected any corrupt agreement with friends and clients; and none ever compromised Mr. Evans’ position, votes, support or work on long-standing issues for which he has been consistent for almost 30 years,” his response read.
Despite the revelations that he “repeatedly participated in his official capacity in ‘particular matters’ in which his outside employers or his personal clients had direct financial interests” and “failed to recognize the inherent conflict that should have been disclosed and addressed,” Evans has refused to step down, and just three out of 13 council members have said they’d vote to expel him if he does not remove himself.
Mayor Muriel E. Bowser, a fellow Democrat, has similarly declined to call on Evans to resign, sparking suspicion that he could have leverage on her and his colleagues.
“They’re asking, ‘What does Jack have on the rest of the council?’” Adam Eidinger, who is leading the recall effort against Evans, said. “That’s what we hear all the time.”
Eidinger’s efforts to force a recall vote depend on his ability to gather 4,952 valid signatures from Ward 2 by the Nov. 18. deadline. As of Friday, they had collected just 4,700.