“Nothing can stop our communities’ progress faster than a continued culture of corruption.”

From Council Member Tommy Wells’ office:

Councilmember Tommy Wells issued the following statement after yesterday’s guilty plea by former Councilmember Michael Brown on bribery charges and last evening’s presentation of facts by U.S. Attorney Ron Machen.

Councilmember Wells’ statement:

“This is pay-to-play laid bare.

The culture of corruption appears deep and pervasive — and it has broken the public trust with our city’s elected leaders.

This is why I continue to call for tougher medicine for DC elected officials. The Council passed the buck on meaningful ethics reform and it must be fixed. This Council voted 12-1 to defeat every effort to curb pay-to-play that I put forward and instead chose to protect business as usual, and protect their privilege. Nothing can stop our communities’ progress faster than a continued culture of corruption.

This is the time for leadership. This Council must move forward with strong and aggressive reforms that have real teeth to fill the gaps where so-called reform left the city coming up short.”

From a Washington Post Editorial:

Brown accepted $55,000 in return for helping what he thought was a business seeking contracting opportunities. In reality, representatives of the business were undercover FBI agents. Mr. Brown faces up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000, although sentencing guidelines call for less.

14 Comment

  • Somebody’s running for mayor!

  • tommy for mayor!

  • Wells will never be mayor, for a multitude of reasons. I’m sure well all see, by the time this race is over, that he doesn’t exactly have a clean record either.

  • We’ll vote Tommy Wells for mayor but end up with Anita Bonds =/

  • andy

    Council Member Wells: what do you think of the CBE program?

    Is it another avenue for pay-to-play?

  • Please fix the juvenile crime, gun culture, and lax homicide sentencing problems first.

  • What a self-serving & obfuscating load of crap. We don’t need “ethics reform.” Ethics are clear and simple. Don’t steal. Don’t lie. Don’t cheat. Don’t take bribes. Anyone that knows anyone who does needs to report them.

    • andy

      While that’s true, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t eliminate opportunities for crime.

      Eliminating opportunities to seek favors from the DC government – like Michael Brown telling these guys, “it takes something to get put on top of the pile” – is a positive. Contracting practices that allow rent-seeking behavior or allow Councilmembers to steer or manipulate results in favor or against particular individuals or operators attract bad behavior.

      In a political system that requires elected officials to get money from those with deep pockets to get the funds to pay for ads, signs, organizers, nuisance candidates, etc., cynical or even criminal behavior should be expected. Who would be interested in paying for candidates’ expenses more than those who have a stake in City spending?

      The one that bothers me is the Certified Black Enterprise (CBE) program. I would love it if it meant black business owners, or anyone disadvantaged, frankly, who built a business in a given area would get a good shot at business with DC government.

      But from the little I’ve seen it seems to resemble what happens with Native American/Alaska Native corporations in making deals with the federal government. People goes out and gets the certification who are little more than facilitators for major companies to get a leg up in contracting, e.g., a two-man “construction company” or “education consultancy” who gets a seven-figure contract with a bid put together with an exponentially larger “subcontractor” and, surprise, surprise, the subcontractor does all the work and the CBE just walks away with its slice of the pie.

      Oh, and of course, the CBE and the subcontractor need to make sure to organize a little fundraising for the right candidates as well as provide funds for their private constituent funds that they dole out to constituents as Councilmember largesse or use for their own benefit with little oversight.

      You see how things get going, and how the momentum is sustained, right?

Comments are closed.