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Jack Evans isn’t admitting to anything.
The Ward 2 councilmember was slapped with a $20,000 fine as part of a settlement with the D.C. Board of Ethics and Government Accountability. Evans is also required to undergo ethics training.
A statement from Evans’ office emailed to reporters this afternoon emphasizes that Evans is “not admitting any violation of the D.C. Council Code of Conduct, [but] recognizes that these issues needed resolution in order to avoid a protracted and costly dispute resolution process.”
The agreement stems from business pitches Evans and a member of his staff sent from his Council email address to legal and lobbying firms in 2015 and 2018. In the pitches, first reported by the Washington Post, Evans attempted to leverage his relationships and influence gained as the District’s longest serving elected official into a job. Evans also touted his role as chairman of the Metro board, a position from which he resigned in June after a law firm found he “knowingly” violated Metro’s ethics rules. Evans’ annual Council salary is about $140,000, though he’s augmented that with private consulting for nearly the entire time in office.
The D.C. Council voted unanimously to reprimand Evans in March for sending the pitches. The reprimand, which Evans voted in favor of, specifically says he violated the section of the Council’s conduct code that prohibits using government resources for nongovernmental business, directing a government employee to do so, and using the prestige of his public office for private gain.
Ahead of the Council’s vote, Evans went on an apology tour of sorts, telling reporters that “in retrospect I would have done a lot of things differently. I certainly made a lot of mistakes.”
The hefty fine is only the latest hit in what has been a rough year for the veteran politician. In 2018, BEGA opened an investigation into Evans’ relationship with a digital sign company but later suspended their inquiry in order to make way for federal law enforcement. The $20,000 fine is not related to BEGA’s original investigation, and the feds are still working on it. Agents raided his Georgetown home in June. In July, the Council voted to strip Evans of his committee chairmanship following the Metro board’s conclusion that he violated its code of ethics. The Council also hired a law firm to conduct their own investigation, which is expected to wrap up within the next month or two.
Evans has drawn five challengers in the 2020 election, and is facing a recall campaign. Evans has yet to file for reelection, though he has previously said he plans to run.
D.C.’s director of government ethics, Brent Wolfingbarger, says via email that the ethics board will release a statement along with the signed settlement later today. LL will update this post when he receives it.
Update: BEGA posted the settlement document after 5 pm Thursday.