Nine members of the Council of the District of Columbia are calling for the resignation of Councilmember Jack Evans (D-Ward 2), after the release of a report Nov. 4 detailing 11 ethics violations by the councilmember since 2014.
The council retained the law firm O’Melveny and Myers to independently investigate Evans, the District’s longest serving councilmember, and ultimately compile the report. Evans has been accused of corruption in using his council position to promote the interests of clients of his consulting company since the spring of 2018. He is also the subject of a federal investigation, which led to the FBI raiding his Georgetown home in June.
Evans declined to comment for this story.
After the release of the report, a majority of Evans’ colleagues on the council swiftly condemned the wrongdoings described in the document and called for his resignation. Councilmember Charles Allen (D-Ward 6) was one of the first councilmembers to call for Evans’ resignation Nov. 5, with seven of his colleagues joining him that day. Evans has lost the trust of his constituents, according to Allen.
“I believe the findings demonstrate a deliberate intent to personally profit from his elected office and represent a pattern of breaching public trust that cannot be repaired. This process has wasted too much time, money, and trust, and it is time he resign,” Allen wrote in an email to The Hoya. “With the investigative report’s findings now complete, I believe it is in the best interest of the District of Columbia that Councilmember Evans step down and allow for a special election to provide the residents of Ward 2 an opportunity for new leadership and representation.”
Prior to the more recent calls for resignation, Councilmember David Grosso (I-At Large), who recently announced he will not run for reelection in 2020, was the first councilmember to call for Evans’ resignation back in July. Grosso expressed frustration at the council’s lack of disciplinary action concerning Evans in a July 8 news release.
“I believe the public trust in Councilmember Evans is irreparable and it is in the best interest of the Council and the residents of the District of Columbia that Jack Evans resign as the Ward 2 Councilmember,” Grosso said in the news release. “This is an unfortunate situation of our own making. The Council failed to address the allegations of Councilmember Evans’ corruption, conflicts of interest, and misconduct when they first surfaced in early 2018.”
Evans’ district, Ward 2, includes the Georgetown neighborhood and main campus. While Georgetown University College Democrats will not take a position on the Ward 2 election race, the group condemned Evans’ actions as unethical and also called for his resignation, according to GUCD Chair Rebecca Hollister (COL ’21).
“GUCD is not taking a position in the Ward 2 election race. However, we too condemn Jack Evans’ unethical actions and agree with the calls for his resignation. We deserve to be represented by someone who at the very least can comply with basic ethical rules,” Hollister wrote in an email to The Hoya. “It is clear from the overwhelming evidence that Jack Evans does not respect the office he holds. Ward 2 deserves better representation, including Georgetown students.”
The calls for Evans’ resignation are not unanimous among his colleagues. Councilmember Vincent Gray (D-Ward 7) will decline to call for a resignation until the investigative process is complete. Evans still deserves due process, according to Gray, a former D.C. mayor who came under investigation for illegally financing his 2010 campaign but was never charged.
“I have profound concerns about the conduct of Councilmember Evans, following the release of the O’Melveny & Myers LLP report. I encourage Councilmember Evans to consider what is best for the residents of Ward 2, his family and himself,” Gray wrote in an email to The Hoya. “However, I will not be calling for Councilmember Evans’ resignation at this time. I firmly believe in due process and can appreciate better than most what it feels like to not be afforded that.”
If Evans is proven guilty, he should resign, according to Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2E Commissioner Matias Burdman (COL ’21).
“Although Councilmember Evans has done a lot for the city over his years in office, the allegations against him are extremely serious,” Burdman wrote in an email to The Hoya. “Should they be proven to be true, he should step down.”