DC GOP Wants Graham to Join Chief of Staff on Leave

Councilman's chief of staff facing bribery charges

By Chris Gordon and Matthew Stabley
|  Wednesday, Sep 30, 2009  |  Updated 11:58 PM EDT
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GOP Wants Graham on Leave

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GOP Wants Graham on Leave

D.C. Republicans want Councilman Jim Graham to take a leave of absence while the FBI investigates his chief of staff.
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WASHINGTON -- Republicans in D.C. want Councilman Jim Graham to join his chief of staff in taking a leave of absence following last week's bribery arrest.

Ted Loza was indicted on bribery charges, accused of accepting cash and gifts for promoting taxicab legislation. His administrative leave isn't enough for Republicans, who want to use this scandal as a reason to try out the newly written code of ethics for council members.

The D.C. Republican Committee sent Council Chair Vincent Gray a letter asking him to tell Graham to take a break until the FBI concludes its investigation.

"The appearance of corruption surrounding Councilmember Jim Graham's office is becoming more serious each day," Committee Chair Robert J. Kabel wrote in the letter. "The very issue that caused the arrest of Graham's Chief of Staff is in the Legislation before Graham's own Committee.  District residents deserve a DC Council free of the appearance of corruption."

Loza is accused of accepting compensation to help someone with an interest in the taxi industry promote legislation limiting the number of cabs in the city and a proposal currently under consideration that would grant exceptions for hybrid taxis. Loza pleaded not guilty.

Two other Graham staffers have been served with subpoenas to appear before the federal grand jury investigating the case. David Vacca and Steve Hernandez both served the committee on public works and transportation, which Graham chaired.

"Jim Graham hasn't been charged with anything," a spokesperson for Gray said. "The chairman is monitoring the  developments of this investigation very closely. Should there be an appropriate occasion to take action, then action will be considered."

The investigation into D.C.'s taxi industry has been going on for more than a year. There have been reports that payoffs amounting to more than $100,000 are being reviewed.
 

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