But less clear, and in a way more unsettling, is Graham’s conduct in this affair. Until we have a better understanding of what he said or did not say in a 2008 meeting with lobbyists and representatives of a lottery contract bidder, there’s no way to turn the page on this chapter in the scuzzy life of the D.C. government.
To recall, Willoughby reported receiving allegations that an unnamed council member — reported to be Graham — offered to drop his opposition to one of the bidders on the lottery contract if a member of that bidder’s group withdrew from a separate real estate deal with Metro. If true, the inspector general wrote, such conduct by a council member could “give the appearance that he lost complete independence or impartiality, and may have affected adversely the confidence of the public in the integrity of government.” The report said, however, that the IG had insufficient evidence that the council member had acted improperly.
A series of e-mails obtained by The Post’s editorial board suggest reasons to be concerned about possible misconduct. The e-mails show, as The Post stated in one editorial, that the lottery seekers who met with Graham on May 29, 2008, “were concerned about what they viewed as an inappropriate, if not illegal, demand from Mr. Graham.”
Graham has said that he has “no recollection of anything like this occurring.” He also told The Post that he did not intervene in the lottery contract award process as alleged in the IG’s report.
Graham’s declaration notwithstanding, the situation cannot be left at that. The implications in the e-mails are serious.
The council’s code of conduct says that a member cannot use the government’s power for a private purpose, nor show partiality or give preferential treatment in the performance of his or her duties. Above all, council members are not to act in ways that adversely affect public confidence in the integrity of government.
The code of conduct also instructs council members to report “immediately” to the inspector general any information concerning conduct that he or she knows, or should know, involving corrupt or other criminal activity or conflicts of interest by another council member.
Apparently, no council member is sufficiently concerned about the allegations to request an investigation.