Phil Mendelson: D.C. Council chairman, straw hat enthusiast, and lately, Wall Street player. LL wrote earlier this month about Mendelson’s roughly $200,000 worth of shares in oil companies, and now the Board of Ethics and Government Accountability has weighed in on another part of Mendelson’s portfolio. Though the chairman has around $17,500 in shares in Pepco, BEGA says that Mendelson can vote on legislation that would benefit the utility without breaking conflict of interest rules.
The legislation in question is the Tax Clarity Equity Amendment Act of 2013, which, if passed, would result in Pepco receiving some $16 million in tax refunds. In July, Mendelson asked the board whether his shares meant he couldn’t be involved in the bill.
BEGA responded last week with the obvious: suggesting that Mendelson would make money from the refund “would be to stretch the bounds of reasonableness.” If Mendelson wants to take what BEGA calls “the conservative course,” he can recuse himself from the bill or sell $2,500 worth of shares to be under a $15,000 threshold.
Mendelson tells LL he won’t be doing either. After all, he doesn’t recuse himself from debates on income taxes, even though lowering them would benefit him. “I believe that we’ve gotten hyper-sensitive to this notion of a conflict of interest,” Mendelson says.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery