Five D.C. council members will weigh Marion Barry’s fate


Barry, seen during his 2010 censure proceedings. (Linda Davidson – THE WASHINGTON POST)

Whether Marion Barry will receive further sanctions for accepting $6,800 in illegal gifts from city contractors will lie mainly in the hands of five of his D.C. Council colleagues.

Barry on Thursday agreed to be censured and fined $13,600 in a settlement reached with the city’s Board of Ethics and Government Accountability. It is now up to the D.C. Council to determine whether it will levy its own punishment.

To that end, Chairman Phil Mendelson (D) on Friday did what council rules require and named an ad hoc committee to investigate the matter and recommend potential punishments to the full council.

According to a memorandum circulated Friday afternoon, Kenyan McDuffie (D-Ward 5), the chairman pro tempore, will chair the special committee. Other members are Yvette M. Alexander (D-Ward 7), Anita D. Bonds (D-At Large), Mary M. Cheh (D-Ward 3) and David Grosso (I-At Large).

The potential penalties range from nothing at all to a reprimand to a more serious censure to expulsion, though the last is highly unlikely. The panel could also recommend Barry’s committee assignments be changed, such as when he lost his chairmanship of the Housing Committee after his censure in 2010. More recently, Jim Graham (D-Ward 1) was stripped of his oversight of liquor licensing when he was reprimanded in February,

Mendelson has ordered the committee to make its recommendations before the council’s next legislative meeting, on Sept. 17. It is unclear when the panel will meet.

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 | July 12, 2013