Council member Jim Graham (D-Ward 1), who is facing intense political pressure after his chief of staff was arrested on bribery charges last week, sent a note to his constituents late last night explaining why he once paid for a woman to have an abortion.
Graham said in the e-mail that Ted G. Loza, his chief of staff, needed the money to pay for an abortion. The money was "promptly paid back," Graham said.
"As anyone can imagine, this was an extraordinarily difficult time for them and the financial burden would have only compounded their challenges," Graham said in the email. "I was in a position to help. I have always supported a woman's right to choice."
On Thursday, the Washington City Paper reported the woman had the abortion in 2006 at Loza's request. Graham, the City Paper reported, paid for the abortion on his credit card, according to court documents unearthed by the newspaper.
Loza was arrested last Thursday on allegations he accepted $1,500 in bribes from the taxicab industry. Earlier today federal authorities arrested 27 people and charged nearly 40 in the case.
Graham, first elected in 1998, frequently reaches out to his constituents via email. In an interview today, he said there has been an "overwhelmingly positive" response to his latest missive.
"I just wanted to reassure my constituents that I was just trying to help out a friend in need, that is the truth, and it was promptly paid back," Graham said.
-- Tim Craig