You didn’t think you could get rid of Carol Schwartz that easily, did you? After making an unlikely and ill-fated mayoral run last year, the idiosyncratic former councilmember is getting back in District government with the help of her onetime mayoral foe, Muriel Bowser.
After ditching her longtime affiliation with the Republican party, Schwartz came in a distant third in last year’s mayoral general election with seven percent of the vote. Now Bowser has nominated Schwartz for the open spot on the District’s Board of Ethics and Government Accountability.
Bowser making nice with her one-time rival might seem strange, but it’s really not. Schwartz spent most of the 2014 general election exercising her murky mutual grudge with fellow ex-Republican David Catania, who once backed the successful effort to oust Schwartz in Republican primary. Rather than take on Bowser, Schwartz spent the race relitigating 2008-era D.C. Republican intrigues, letting Bowser walk into the mayoral suite in the process.
In a Schwartzian twist, Schwartz tells LL that Bowser aides initially wanted her for what Schwartz considers to be a lesser city government board. Schwartz declined, but hinted that she might take something weightier like BEGA. The next day—voilà—a phone call about the ethics board.
“I was pleased,” Schwartz says. “I can’t say ‘surprised.’”
In 2013, BEGA disciplined two sitting councilmembers, Marion Barry and Vincent Orange. Things have been a little sleepier since then, with the board focused on shady gift deals and conflicts of interest with city bureaucrats.
Between Schwartz’s yellow Pontiac Firebird and the obvious pleasure she takes in being herself, Schwartz promises to bring some flair to the comparatively sedate ethics board, lead by chairman and former District Attorney General Bob Spagnoletti. Schwartz says she won’t hold back reprimanding on her former Council colleagues if they do the city wrong.
“I believe in rewarding good behavior and punishing bad behavior,” Schwartz says.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery