D.C. Ethics Getting Complaints Almost Daily

Chairman wants more power to investigate contracting

The head of the District's ethics office said he may seek new powers to investigate some of the city's contracting deals.

Though less than a year old, the ethics panel is receiving complaints almost every day, Chairman Robert Spagnoletti said.

Last July, Mayor Vincent Gray nominated former D.C. Attorney General Spagnoletti to head the three-member panel with broad powers to investigate any ethics wrongdoing.

On the WAMU Politics Hour with Kojo Nnamdi Friday, Spagnoletti said his office has been busy since first formally taking complaints in January.

“We have about two dozen or so investigations that are either going on or just concluded,” he said. “Some were more high profile than others, but they come in every day.”

The panel may ask for more power to look into city contracting and subcontracting -- often a source of favoritism or corruption.

Despite some high-profile cases, D.C. is no better or worse than other governments with ethics issues, Spagnoletti said. He added that his office has been given a free hand, experiencing no pressure nor attempts to influence decisions.

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