Jack Evans wants to swap the FBI for the Redskins

December 6, 2012

Jack Evans’s Redskins scheme is older than his bobbleheads are. (Roxanne Roberts/The Washington Post)

WRC-TV’s Tom Sherwood reports this evening, citing “officials” speaking privately, that D.C. would support moving FBI headquarters to Prince George’s County in return for the county allowing the Washington Redskins to break their stadium lease and move to a new stadium in D.C.

The only official quoted is D.C. Council member Jack Evans (D-Ward 2), which makes sense, because the FBI-for-Redskins scheme is one that he has floated in private conversations for years. The thinking was, and is, that the FBI’s relocation from its dismal Pennsylvania Avenue headquarters is the only chit D.C. has that’s big enough to trade to Prince George’s in return for terminating the Redskins lease, which otherwise runs until 2027.

The plan makes sense on a lot of levels — as long as you believe that luring the Redskins back to Washington as soon as possible is your top policy priority.

It’s not at all clear that is the top priority of Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D), who would have to go whole hog in support of the swap plan if it were to have any chance of success. A Gray administration official not interested in “fueling this stupidity” declined to even entertain the suggestion of a deal. Evans declined to name any administration officials who have joined in his quest.

Needless to say, Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III’s response to Sherwood indicated he has little interest in giving up his only pro sports franchise to win a regional derby he’s got a pretty good chance of winning anyway. A Redskins swap is further complicated by the fact that the federal government is contemplating a swap of its own: The current Pennsylvania Avenue site for a new headquarters elsewhere — and no sports team to be named later.

Evans said keeping the FBI inside the District borders remains his top priority, perhaps relocated to the St. Elizabeths campus or the former Walter Reed Army Medical Center site. In fact, Evans added, he plans to introduce a sense-of-the-council resolution in support of keeping the Bureau inside the District at the body’s Dec. 18 meeting.

But, he added, “If we’re going to give up the FBI, we better get something back for it.”

Mike DeBonis covers local politics and government for The Washington Post. He also writes a blog and a political analysis column that runs on Fridays.
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Mike DeBonis · December 6, 2012