Mayoral Candidate Evans Accused of Ethics Violations
Published: Monday, September 16, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, September 17, 2013 00:09
Recent allegations of ethics violations against Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans may threaten his bid for mayor.
George Washington senior Jackson Carnes recently accused Evans of giving The George Washington University an alley for its housing expansion in return for support in the upcoming election. Evans, however, denied these allegations.
“The gentleman made a false statement,” Evans told The Hoya. “That’s our understanding. We have never been contacted by anybody on anything.”
The Washington Post reported that Evans is currently under investigation by the D.C. Office of Campaign Finance. Allegedly, the councilmember violated campaign finance rules by collecting three separate donations from the same donor. Evans also denied these allegations.
Despite the recent publicity around these ethical allegations, Evans said that neither the Office of Campaign Finance nor the city’s ethical board have contacted his office.
“What happens is there’s a poor choice of words. There were never any ethics violations. There were never any questions,” Evans said. “There were just some inquiries that were being made, and they were satisfied. There are no ongoing discussions on any issues at this time.”
Nevertheless, these allegations could be potentially damaging for Evans, who is chair of the D.C. Council’s Finance and Revenue Committee. Evans launched his campaign based on his record of clean behavior and ethical decisions. In addition, according to The GW Hatchet, Evans has previously helped the D.C. Council pass legislation that would increase bookkeeping transparency.
Office of Campaign Finance Public Affairs Manager Wes Williams said that his office would not discuss any ongoing investigations.
Evans, who will run in the April 1 Democratic primary, will speak at an event sponsored by the Georgetown University College Democrats in November.
GUCD President Trevor Tezel (SFS ’15), who has been an outspoken critic of Evans’ campaign, said that the accusations were disturbing, although he cautioned against forming judgment until solid evidence comes to light.
“What we’re initially hearing is a little bit alarming, but [it] ties into past concerns that a lot of people, including myself, have had with the way Jack Evans spends constituent money,” Tezel said. “So I would say it’s another allegation in what is an alarming trend with … our local council member.”
Evans came under fire in 2011 for using constituent funds to purchase season sporting tickets when the Post found that between 2002 and 2011, Evans spent $135,897 on tickets to the Washington Nationals, Washington Wizards and Washington Kastles, a Mylan World TeamTennis team. In comparison, Evans directed $101,564 toward charitable organizations, neighborhood associations and arts groups. When Ward 4 Councilmember Muriel Bowser — who will run against Evans in April — introduced an ethics overhaul bill in 2012, Evans aggressively pushed to amend the bill to allow him to continue buying season tickets, individually lobbying several councilmembers.
Regardless of the accusations’ validity, however, Tezel said that they could have an effect on Evans’ campaign.
“Any time this kind of stuff comes out, it definitely has an impact on the race,” Tezel said. “That being said, D.C. has sort of had a longstanding reputation of providing opportunities for politicians who may be embroiled in scandals or controversies to still see success at the polls.”