Ad-Hoc Committee Votes to Expel Evans

Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen (D) offers his thoughts on the expulsion of Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans (D).

On Dec. 3, an Ad-Hoc Committee of DC Council voted 12-0 to support a recommendation expel Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans. Evans did not appear before the committee. If council votes to expel Evans, he would be the first Councilmember to be expelled.

Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen (D) recommended and supported the expulsion. He said that while he understood why Evans did not appear before the committee, in doing so he was avoiding taking responsibility for his actions.

Councilmember Allen remarks during ad hoc committee meeting on expulsion recommendation

Today, the Ad Hoc Committee charged with investigating Councilmember Jack Evans unanimously voted to recommend expulsion from the body. This is an unprecedented step, and it is not one we take lightly as a body. We are all sent here by constituents every four years to be the representatives of the people, and as often as possible, it should remain with the voters as to who they choose to represent them. However, the evidence is overwhelming and unquestioned that Councilmember Evans repeatedly violated and abused the powers of his office for his own personal gain. He worked votes and argued behind closed doors with all of us for years on a wide-range of issues, never disclosing that he was being paid by outside businesses to push a certain angle that had nothing to do with the merits of a given bill. The evidence is overwhelming and staring us right in the face. Prior to voting on expulsion, the Ad Hoc Committee voted against opening any new investigations into other instances of ethical wrongdoing. What more did we need to see before taking action?Here is video of my full remarks during the committee's meeting.

Posted by Charles Allen on Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Allen said that he couldn’t help but juxtapose the people he works with daily in his role as Chair of the Judiciary Committee with Evans. Those people, who have been harmed and commit harm, are held accountable, he said.

“I find it deeply disturbing that he would fight so hard to continue to criminalize people who can’t afford a $2 Metro fare yet spend hundreds of thousands of dollars –and spend hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars – and that’s without the potential recall and special election– trying to get off scot free,” Allen said, “while those who commit crimes of poverty ‘must be held accountable’, or as he put it during that debate, are akin to thieves who steal a $2 gallon of milk.”

Allen said that the standard for expulsion, that there was ‘egregious wrongdoing’ and a serious violation of the law that ‘substantially threatens the public trust’ has been met.

“We have two duties here,” Allen said. “One to the public, and one to the Council as an institution. To the public, the trust has clearly been broken by Mr. Evans and we must act to repair it. To the Council, how can any of us trust any legislation, issue, or action by Councilmember Evans at this point?”

In a statement released Tuesday, Council Chairman Phil Mendelson said the decision to expel was a serious consideration in the democratic context. “We were each elected to represent the public,” he wrote. “We were not elected to un-elect our colleagues”.

“The voters are supreme: they decide whom to elect, and whom to vote out of office. For each of us our compact with the public is unilateral. So, the circumstances must be extreme for the Council as a body to intervene,” he said.

Mendelson said that the revelations and investigative report by O’Melveny & Myers show that Evans’ went beyond inappropriate.

“The public’s trust in our government – in the Council, particularly – has been shattered,” he said.

Mendelson said that it was a sad day when legislators must vote to expel one of their colleagues as well as for Evans and his family. “But when it comes to the reputation of the Council, I have to put principle above friendship and partisanship.”

The Council Chairman said that he expected the full Council will receive The Ad-Hoc Committee’s report on Dec. 17, and will set a hearing for the first week in January. A formal vote on expulsion could take place two weeks later.