CFO Natwar Gandhi in 2004

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The U.S. House committee tasked with oversight of the District government is taking a close look at the D.C. Chief Financial Officer Nat Gandhi‘s office, according to former OCFO employees.

The attorney for Eric Payne, the former contracting officer who has sued the city over allegations that he was fired for resisting political pressure over the lottery contract, says in recent court records that the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee “has launched a probe” of Gandhi and his office.

Payne declined to discuss details of the probe, but said that he’s grateful that federal authorities, including the FBI and the House, “have decided to look at the highly suspect actions of district officials.”

The FBI’s been investigating the lottery contract since at least early this summer. The Post also recently reported that the FBI is looking into the OCFO’s commercial real estatate tax division.

Another former OCFO employee, who asked not to be named, has had phone conversations with House oversight staff recently and is scheduled to meet them in the near future, the former employee said. The former employee added that the committee staff’s interests in Gandhi appeared to be wide-ranging.

“I think they’re looking at the entire ball of wax,” the former employee says, indicating that the committee staff is interested in learning about the lottery deal, the commercial tax issues, and other topics.

A staffer for the committee said a spokesman would not be available until Tuesday. Ditto for Gandhi’s office.

Oversight committee Chairman Darrell Issa, a Republican from California, has been an unexpected ally of the District in the last two years. He’s promoted budget autonomy and has opened the door to looking at a commuter tax. But the committee has also looked into Gray administration’s hiring practices, and issued a finger-wagging report related to the hiring of former nuisance candidate Sulaimon Brown.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery