D.C. Council unanimously recommends expelling Jack Evans in historic vote

December 6, 2019

Conferring on expulsion for the first time in its history, the D.C. Council unanimously voted (12-0) on Dec. 3 to recommend that Councilmember Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) be expelled for repeated ethics violations.

The vote comes after a series of investigations into Evans which culminated in a Nov. 4 report that detailed 11 instances of Evans using his office to benefit his private employers and clients. 

At the meeting, D.C. councilmembers were firm in calling for his expulsion. 

“This is not just about Jack. We all became unwitting co-conspirators to this scheme,” Councilmember Elissa Silverman (I-At Large) said. “We all voted for bills without knowing he was getting paid by clients who would benefit. If we don’t expel Councilmember Evans for this, then I honestly don’t know what would rise to the level of expulsion.”

Councilmember Robert C. White, Jr. (D-At Large) recalled when members of the House of Representatives cited Evans as a reason why the district is too corrupt to become a state at the Sep. 19 Congressional hearing on D.C. statehood.

“Our government was belittled in the full view of the nation during one of the most significant steps in our fight for equality, representation and autonomy,” White said. “Right now, the only person in this city who doesn’t know Mr. Evans must resign is Mr. Evans.”

After the vote, Council Chairman Phil Mendelson (D) spoke with Evans, who was the only councilmember not present at the meeting, and urged him to resign.

“We had a long conversation, and I would say it’s unclear to me what he’s going to do, but that does not mean he was debating whether to resign,” Mendelson told The Washington Post on Dec. 4.

While Evans has yet to comment on the vote, his lawyers Abbe Lowell and Mark Tuohey argued in a Nov. 26 letter to the Council that expelling Evans would override the will of the voters.  

“The Council should not easily or readily disenfranchise the residents of a ward,” wrote Lowell and Tuohey. “That would create a precedent that could easily be expanded and misused against anyone who lets that occur.”

Evans’s June 2020 Democratic primary challengers released statements on the Council’s vote. 

“The DC Council made a powerful statement today that shameless corruption should be unacceptable in our government,” said candidate Jordan Grossman, a former staffer in the Obama administration, in a press release.

“The thoughtful remarks made by councilmembers today appropriately reflected the gravity of Councilmember Evans’ situation,” tweeted candidate Patrick Kennedy, D.C. Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2A Commissioner, on Dec. 3. “They made the right determination on expulsion, and it’s important for institutional integrity that they came to their decision unanimously.”

There has been rising public support for Evans’s resignation. According to a Nov. 19 poll in The Washington Post, 64 percent of residents say Evans should resign.

Jason Cuomo
Jason Cuomo is a sophomore in the college studying history and government. In his free time he's probably either obsessively reading FiveThirtyEight or making oddly specific playlists.

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