Washington, D.C. Councilmember Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) announced in a Jan. 7 letter that he will officially resign from the council later this month following accusations of ethical misconduct.
Evans’ resignation comes after investigations into allegations that he used his council position to facilitate corrupt private legal and consulting work. A report commissioned by the council that outlined 11 ethical violations since 2014 was released Nov. 4, prompting Evans’ colleagues to call for his resignation.
Evans, who represents the Georgetown neighborhood on the council as well as other sections of the District, announced his intent to resign effective Friday, Jan. 17, in a letter to Council Chairman Phil Mendelson.
“After nearly 30 years of public service to the District of Columbia, I have advised the Board of Elections that I resign my position as Ward 2 Councilmember on the Council of the District of Columbia,” Evans wrote.
Evans has been accused of using his council position to promote the interests of clients of his consulting company since spring 2018. The FBI also raided his Georgetown home in June as a part of a federal investigation after allegations that Evans used his position as chairman of the Metro Board to help a company that was privately paying him $50,000 each year, according to The Washington Post.
Council leadership had long faced public scrutiny for failing to take action to penalize Evans, Councilmember David Grosso (I-At Large) wrote in a news release. His resignation will allow the council more time to focus on issues pertinent to constituents, according to Mendelson.
“I think this is the right decision for Mr. Evans to have made. It saves the council from going through more of this time and distraction from the business we ought to be doing. It’s also important in a step in restoring integrity of the institution and the trust of the public,” Mendelson said in a public address. “It’s very sad that we’ve come to this point.”
The council affirmed its intent to address Evans’ misconduct by voting unanimously to oust Evans from office Dec. 3. Evans’ resignation halts the expulsion process, which, if successful, would have made Evans the first lawmaker to be removed from office in D.C. Council history, according to The Washington Post.
Termination from the council was the only appropriate way to reprimand Evans, according to Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie (D-Ward 5).
“His resignation is a necessary step that brings to a conclusion this unfortunate episode in the history of the District of Columbia,” McDuffie wrote in an email to The Hoya. “This process has reached what has become the only acceptable outcome and Councilmember Evans will no longer serve on the District of Columbia council. With this now behind us, the council can begin to rebuild the public’s trust.”
Despite the ethics inquiries, Evans has sat on the council since 1991, making him the longest-serving councilmember in the history of Washington, D.C. Since then, Evans has served on the Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety, the Committee on Transportation and the Environment, and the Committee on Business and Economic Development, among other committees, according to the council website.
Evans’ has taken pride in the work he has done serving on the council, which has helped support the District, he wrote in the letter announcing his resignation.
“I believe Washington, DC to be the pride of the nation and I am proud of the contributions I have made in helping create a vibrant city,” Evans wrote. “It has been an honor and a privilege to serve the District of Columbia and the residents of Ward 2.”
Evans did not respond to The Hoya’s request for comment.
A special election to fill Ward 2’s open seat will be held June 16, with the victor serving out the rest of Evan’s term, which ends in January 2021, according to WAMU. Additionally, the Democratic primary for the Ward 2 seat will be held June 2. The race has already drawn six candidates. Evans is not barred from entering either race.
Georgetown University College Democrats is pleased with Evans’ resignation and awaits responsible representation on the council, according to AJ Williamson (COL ’21), chair of GUCD.
“Our organization is glad to see Councilman Evans resign. The councilman’s ethical violations were entirely unacceptable, and we strongly condemn them,” Williamson wrote in an email to The Hoya. “We look forward to Ward 2 having representation that reflects our community’s values.”