City Council member Charlene Drew Jarvis (D-Ward 4), in an apparent attempt to quell controversy over the activities of her longtime political adviser Woodrow Boggs Jr., said yesterday that Boggs' future role in her political dealings will be greatly diminished.
City Council Chairman David A. Clarke had urged Jarvis Wednesday not to allow anyone who has a financial relationship with individuals or groups doing business with the council to represent her on issues involving those individuals or groups.
Clarke's advice followed revelations that Citicorp, the giant New York banking firm, paid Boggs $28,200 in consultant fees after Jarvis, whose council committee oversees bank licensing in the District, had directed bank companies to meet with Boggs.
Jarvis said the shrinking of Boggs' role in her political life did not come in reaction to Clarke's advice, and she repeatedly declined to say whether she thought that Boggs had done anything improper.
"I think he should spend much more time developing his business so he can survive financially, and that he should develop political relationships with many elected officials," said Jarvis.
Jarvis said that "perception is everything" in politics, adding, "How I view something is not necessarily what will carry the day."
Boggs, Jarvis' campaign manager for her 1984 reelection campaign and her 1982 mayoral campaign, also figured prominently in a D.C. Office of Campaign Finance audit that found 16 violations of the city's campaign finance law for the 1984 campaign. The audit recommended that Jarvis, Boggs and three campaign treasurers be fined for the violations.
Boggs said through Albert Turkus, an attorney representing Jarvis' reelection committee on the alleged campaign violations, that he intends to continue shifting his emphasis from politics to business.
According to Turkus, Boggs said that "the very fabric of democracy is voluntary participation of citizens, but that has not worked very well for me."
Boggs, who met Jarvis in 1978 when they worked on the campaign of former City Council chairman Sterling Tucker, has been active for years in D.C. political dealings as both a paid and unpaid adviser.
Representatives of five banking firms have said that Jarvis directed them to meet with Boggs to discuss their efforts to win council approval to do business in the District. Tenants who have gone to Jarvis for help in purchasing their apartment buildings also have been referred by her office to Boggs. In the past, Boggs has said that his work for Jarvis has caused him to lose money.
Jarvis said yesterday that she plans to assume some of Boggs' duties so that he can spend more time on his private businesses.
"A political adviser is always in the line of fire," Jarvis said, "so I would rather have people come directly at me . . . . He is a friend of mine and he will always be a friend of mine."
Michael Davis, Clarke's spokesman, said yesterday that Clarke visited Jarvis' office on Wednesday "after having had conversations with several of his colleagues."
Jarvis said she viewed Clarke's visit as a political act designed "to create a press story."
D.C. police and the U.S. Attorney's office began probes after the release of the audit of Jarvis' 1984 campaign finance reports. U.S. Attorney Joseph E. diGenova has said federal prosecutors have received allegations of possible improprieties involving Boggs and Jarvis in connection with out-of-state banks.