Politics

Jack Evans Resigns from D.C. Council

Effective Jan. 17, Jack Evans, the longest-serving elected official in the District’s history, will no longer represent the residents of Ward 2.

The embattled politician announced his decision Tuesday in a letter to D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson (D). The transition will take place just days before the council would have wrapped up deliberations on Evans’ fate.

“I believe Washington, D.C. to be the pride of the nation and I am proud of the contributions I have made in helping to create a vibrant city,” Evans said in his letter. “It has been an honor and a privilege to serve the District of Columbia and the residents of Ward 2.”

Evans had been scheduled to address the council about his alleged violations. For months, he avoided questions from constituents and colleagues alike about what had been documented as to his abuse of political power for financial gain. He recently went as far as declining to appear before the ad-hoc committee reviewing the facts of an ongoing investigation.

During the earlier part of last month, that committee, composed of Evans’ 12 council colleagues, recommended that he no longer serve Ward 2. In less than two hours, and without any input from Evans, they concluded that a punishment of that magnitude would best serve the public interest.

Weeks earlier, a report that two attorneys from O’Melveny & Myers presented to the D.C. Council cited more than a dozen ethics violations committed by Evans within the last five years, including failing to disclose tens of thousands of dollars in outside income and recuse himself from votes affecting entities compensating him.

Evans, via his attorneys, has denied any knowledge of rule-breaking.

While the ad-hoc hearing had been scheduled so as to decide whether to continue the investigation into Evans’ business dealings, council members who spoke early on agreed that information collected from the law firm and Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority on which Evans served as a board member would suffice.

Council member Elissa Silverman (I-At large) in particular told her colleagues that such evidence confirmed Evans’ ability to rally support among other council members for legislation that lined his pockets and that of his business partners.

“Where’s the ethics violation in making all of us a part of this? she said. “The explanation that [Evans] misunderstood doesn’t pass the smell test. We have to look at what happened and if we don’t expel Council member Evans for this, we would be showing residents this is how business is done in the Wilson Building.”

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