Ethics on the Council

For many of us, Twitter has become our breaking news source. I just saw on Twitter that DC Council Chairman Phil Mendelson has said that he supports a reprimand of Ward 1 Council member Jim Graham, which will include taking away his oversight of the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration or ABRA.

I am glad the council is taking action. I supported Council member Wells' call for the creation of an ad-hoc committee to pursue the very serious allegations regarding Mr. Graham, with the power to make recommendations that the full Council must consider. It is time for our elected leaders to do their job and to obey the laws they put in place. At least from initial reports, it appears Chairman Mendelson will make the recommendation himself. I'd prefer to have a committee of councilmembers make the recommendation, but I am glad that the council is holding itself accountable.

I have read the reports, and given the public record by credible investigative agencies, I would vote to censure Graham and agree with the Chairman's recommendation that he should be removed from ABRA oversight.

I have worked with Mr. Graham closely on human services issues, and in my opinion, he has been a very proactive and attentive chair of that committee. He has been a champion for homeless families and parents and kids on public assistance. His work has been critical. But that does not cancel out the very serious ethics issues, and that's why I believe censure is appropriate.

Elissa.