HAVING LONG BEMOANED the patronizing way in which certain members of Congress have treated the District in general and its locally elected officials in particular, we hasten to cite a small but significant bit of progress in the local respect department. The news comes from the office of Rep. Stan Parris of nearby Virginia, who has not always been overly deferential to the D.C. government or to its exercise of political and administrative authority. This time Mr. Parris is letting the District handle a matter, for better or for worse.
It began last week, when Mr. Parris called for a General Accounting Office investigation into the District of Columbia's legalized gambling operations. The idea of an investigation is fine--given the confused and disturbing allegations of improprieties that various players in this field have been making against each other. And as it happens, the D.C. Council, the D.C. Office of Inspector General and the independent D.C. Auditor all are moving to check the lottery operations and make recommendations for improvements.
Council member Nadine Winter, who has oversight responsibility for the lottery board, so noted to Mr. Parris, assuring the congressman that the council would correct any lottery management problems that might be found. Mr. Parris then wrote a letter to GAO withdrawing his call for an investigation by that arm of Congress--and that is an encouraging reaction.
The quid pro quo, of course, is a thorough job by every local investigative agency involved, as well as a careful legislative look at proposals to change the makeup and structure of the D.C. Lottery Board and its considerable responsibilities. No one has yet proved that anything corrupt has taken place, and the lottery so far at least is proving to be a money- maker for the city. But if the District is to protect its political franchise and financial integrity, every allegation must be thoroughly checked.