Evans has been one of the mayor’s closest allies on the council.
The council hired the law firm O’Melveny & Myers in July — 10 months after the city government learned that a federal grand jury was investigating Evans, two months after the Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority had completed its own ethics investigation of Evans, who had served as its board chairman, and about a month after the FBI searched Evans’s Georgetown home.
Evans, the city’s longest-serving lawmaker, has not been charged with a crime.
But the Metro investigation found that he breached that agency’s ethics rules. And the council’s investigation found 11 instances since 2014 of Evans’s violating the city’s ethics rules by using his public office to advance the interests of his consulting clients or private employers. He earned about $400,000 from 10 clients during the period under investigation, the report said.
Evans says he did nothing inappropriate and has resisted calls from a majority of the council to step down.
“I’m not going to resign, not today, not tomorrow,” Evans said in a brief interview Wednesday.
Also Wednesday, council members Kenyan R. McDuffie (D-Ward 5) and Trayon White Sr. (D-Ward 8) joined the growing number of D.C. lawmakers who said Evans should step down, bringing the total to nine of 13.
Three members — Elissa Silverman (I-At Large), David Grosso (I-At Large) and Robert C. White Jr. (D-At Large) — said they would vote to expel Evans from the council. Expulsion requires a vote of 11 members.
McDuffie said he will introduce legislation to bar lawmakers, who are paid $140,000, from holding outside employment.
“The O’Melveny report reveals a pattern of unethical conduct by Councilmember Evans, and his actions have irreparably breached the public trust,” McDuffie said in a statement.
McDuffie’s bill would also give council members a $25,000 raise. His office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Evans, a lawyer, has worked for several local law firms and formed his own consulting business in 2016. Investigators found that he had multiple clients with interests before city government but never disclosed their identities as required by city ethics rules and that he took official actions that benefited his private clients.
Bowser said council members should not hold outside jobs.
“I, like everybody, expect elected officials to act with the highest of ethical standards,” Bowser told reporters Wednesday. “I also know, though, that the council has the ability to rid itself of future members or current members being compromised by outside employment. And they should ban outside employment immediately.”
In April, council member Brianne K. Nadeau (D-Ward 1), acting with the support of a majority of the council, introduced legislation banning outside employment. Her bill exempts teaching positions held by council members and does not include a salary increase. Council member Mary M. Cheh (D-Ward 3) is the only other lawmaker with a side job; she teaches law at George Washington University.
Cheh and Council Chairman Phil Mendelson (D) have resisted the idea of prohibiting outside employment.
Mendelson noted Tuesday that the law firm that investigated Evans said there were merits to legislators holding other jobs.
“There is a value to having people who are not so disconnected from the community that would come with banning outside employment, but as the report notes, then there has to be a rigorous ethics regime to protect the integrity of the government,” Mendelson said.
Cheh, who has recused herself on votes related to the city’s negotiations with George Washington University for a new hospital, said her position is not problematic.
“Just about every legislature in the country allows its members to teach,” said Cheh, who is overseeing the council’s internal investigation into Evans. “When you get into a situation where you have clients and you are representing their interests before the council, that is a whole different scenario.”
Mendelson has refused to say whether he thinks Evans should step down but acknowledged that he has had recent private discussions with Evans about it.
Evans faced other fallout Wednesday when the chairman of the D.C. Democratic Party asked him to consider stepping down from a party leadership post. Party leaders had previously defended Evans when a quarter of the D.C. Democratic State Committee called on him to resign.
But Charles Wilson, the D.C. party chair, told The Washington Post that Evans refused his entreaties and insisted on letting the “process of the council play itself out.”
The nine lawmakers who have called for Evans to step down are McDuffie, Nadeau, Cheh, Silverman, Grosso, Robert White, Trayon White, Brandon T. Todd (D-Ward 4) and Charles Allen (D-Ward 6).
On Tuesday night, Trayon White had tweeted: “I spoke to @JackEvansWard2 about what I think he should do based on what I read. I don’t see the need to call the media or tweet about what I would advise Jack to do, instead I just called Jack.”
But on Wednesday, he changed his mind.
“Today I finished reading @JackEvansWard2 response to the accusations about him,” he tweeted. “Jack and I spoke and we do not agree. His responses don’t make sense. What he should do is his choice, but I told him he should resign and focus on his family who solely depend on him.”
Council members Vincent C. Gray (D-Ward 7) and Anita Bonds (D-At Large), who like Evans are longtime fixtures in D.C. politics, have declined to comment.
In a letter to Mendelson and Cheh, attorneys for Evans criticized the cascading calls for his resignation as a “steamroller now flattening any remote sense of fairness or due process.”
“We ask for a slow-down, for some deliberation, for some consideration of the real facts and applicable law,” wrote Abbe Lowell and Mark Tuohey, the lawyers. “It may be distracting or inconvenient or just tiresome for some on the Council to allow this process to go forward, but the Council has spent too much time and resources to simply allow fatigue or inconvenience to undermine the rule of law.”
In her reply, Cheh said Evans has had “considerable due process” and ample time to respond to the investigation.
“Cloaking your public relations campaign in legal jargon does nothing to advance your defense,” she wrote.