Why is the D.C. Council holding a closed-door meeting on Ward 5 council member Harry Thomas Jr.? We all know by now that the FBI and the Internal Revenue Service raided his home Friday in connection with a federal probe into charges that he has diverted public money for his own personal use. We now also know that Thomas’s council colleagues are getting together on Monday to discuss his situation. Council member Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3) told the Washington Examiner that the entire body should “talk about the situation and what we all think should be done from the institutional perspective.”
What isn’t known, and what makes no sense, is why council chairman Kwame Brown (D) and his colleagues want to shut voters out of their meeting. The meeting is closed to the public.
Voters are entitled to know what their representatives think about Harry Thomas, as well as the steps — if any — that they are considering taking to address his situation. Should Thomas be censured, stripped of his committee memberships, asked to resign? They are all questions that should be discussed openly, allowing the public an opportunity to learn the positions of their representatives. An open and transparent process also allows the media an opportunity to question the elected leaders about their positions.
The public has a right to know what the council is thinking. Open those doors.