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After complaints from his D.C. Council colleagues and calls for him to resign, it looks like At-Large Councilmember Vincent Orange has decided he can’t run the Council’s business and regulations committee while also working for the business community’s leading lobbying group.
A week after taking an unusual second job running the D.C. Chamber of Commerce, Orangenow wants to relinquish his chairmanship of the D.C. Council’s committee on business and regulation. In an appearance this afternoon on WAMU’s The Kojo Nnamdi Show, the lame duck legislator said he has asked Council Chairman Phil Mendelson to absorb the committee into the Council’s Committee of the Whole.
Giving up the committee should mitigate at least some of the potential conflicts of interest facing Orange, and keep his committee staffers’ jobs. Of course, that likely would have happened anyway if Orange had just resigned from the Council instead of serving the four months left in his term.
“It takes care of everybody’s anxieties, but it also protects my staff,” Orange said.
Orange, once the Council’s loudest voice against a loophole that allows councilmembers to hold second jobs, insisted that his new gig doesn’t mean he’s had a “change of heart” on the issue.
While technically legal, Orange’s new job still presents a boatload of conflicts of interest. For one, there’s Orange’s work scheduling bill, which he insists he didn’t pull from Council consideration in June because of business community objections.
As for other legislation, Orange said there’s not much on the rest of the year’s Council agenda that he would want to lobby on, even if he could.
“It’s not like I’m going to be there forever,” Orange said.