Former Ward 2 D.C. Councilmember Jack Evans was fined $35,000 by the District’s ethics board for breaking the D.C. Council’s code of conduct.
The Board of Ethics and Government Accountability fined Evans Friday for supporting council legislation that benefited companies he was performing consulting work for at the time, the Washington Post reported. The Post reported that the fine constitutes the largest penalty the agency has ever levied and concludes the two-year-long ethics investigation that prompted Evans to resign from his Ward 2 seat in January after a nearly 30-year term.
The fine penalizes Evans’ failure to alert the council of his ties to businesses and clients when he was voting on legislation that could advance their interests within the city’s government, the Post reported. Evans introduced legislation in 2016 that would benefit Digi Media, a digital sign company that granted Evans’s law firm 200,000 shares of stock a month earlier.
“Respondent failed to seek specific ethics advice as guided, failed to maintain a high level of integrity in connection with the performance of his official duties and adversely affected the confidence of the public in the integrity of the District government,” the settlement between the board and Evans states.
Evans is in the middle of a bid to regain his former Ward 2 seat in the D.C. primary scheduled for June 2, as early voting for the race opened Friday. A special election will occur on June 16 to fill the vacancy on the Council for the remainder of Evans’ term.
Evans said his code of conduct violation was caused by an unintentional “misunderstanding of the rules,” in a statement he released Friday. He said the fine revealed nothing new regarding his ethics violations and will enable him to move past the investigations into his mishandling of private business dealings.
“I am sorry for any mistakes I made and hope D.C. residents will allow me to continue to work for them in solving the many issues D.C. will have as we try to get back to normal lives soon,” he said in the statement.
The board fined Evans $20,000 last year for failing to follow the council’s conflict of interest guidelines when he advertised his political power when applying for jobs outside the D.C. government.
Jordan Grossman, who is running for the Ward 2 post, called for Evans to drop out of the race in light of the $35,000 fine in a statement Friday, claiming that Evans has failed to “take responsibility” for his violations.
“Working in government is a privilege, not a business opportunity,” Grossman said in the statement. “Jack Evans should drop out of the D.C. Council race immediately. Ward 2 deserves a clean break from Jack Evans and his political machine on June 2nd.”
Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen tweeted Friday that he will vote to expel Evans after further investigating his ethics violations if he is re-elected to the council in June.
“We’re prepared to continue the investigation into his pattern & practice of ethical violations that we cut short last year to go ahead vote to expel him,” he said in the tweet.