DC Council Chairman Asks Council to Vote to Reprimand Councilman for Personal Use of Government Email

D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson introduced a resolution to reprimand Councilman Jack Evans, who chairs both the Metro Board of Directors and the D.C. Council Committee on Finance and Revenue, for using a government email account for personal business.

Mendelson declined to comment Monday on whether Evans' actions violated the ethics or broke the law, but he released a statement Tuesday about the situation. He claims Evans violated the Council’s Code of Conduct when he had his chief of staff use her government email to send business proposals to law firms seeking outside work in 2015 and 2018. The proposals touted Evans' influence as a council member and chairman of Metro's Board of Directors.

Although council members are allowed to hold other jobs, they are not allowed to use their government position for personal benefit.

“Our Code of Conduct states explicitly that a council member ‘may not knowingly use the prestige of office or public position for [his] private gain,’ and that government resources shall not be used for personal business,” Mendelson said.

In his press release, Mendelson said he would introduce a resolution to reprimand Evans for his actions. Shortly after, Evans apologized for his actions.

“In retrospect, I would have done a lot of things different,” Evans said. “I certainly made some major mistakes.”

Mendelson released his resolution to reprimand Evans Tuesday afternoon. 

Still, Councilman David Grosso wants to see Evans face stronger repercussions for his actions.

“He peddled influence with the Finance and Revenue Committee chairmanship,” Grosso said. “He should no longer be in charge of that committee.”

Meanwhile, Evans is being investigated by the Board of Ethics and Government Accountability and a federal grand jury for other allegations, according to Mendelson. Additional sanctions are possible as those investigations continue.

Asked if his apology was for those allegations or the use of government email for personal business, Evans declined to comment further.

“The Council must constantly be mindful that citizens have a right to expect its elected representatives to uphold high standards of ethical conduct,” Mendelson said. "The recent revelations about Mr. Evans' emails do just the opposite, and he must be reprimanded for it.”

The D.C. Council is set to vote on the reprimand within the next two weeks.

Metro's ethics officer is reviewing the matter to see if Evans violated Metro's Code of Ethics.

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