Reached Tuesday, Smedberg said the transit agency “will definitely comply” and provide the records by the July 30 deadline.
Evans, a Ward 2 Democrat and the longest-serving D.C. Council member, resigned from the Metro board after disclosures that an outside firm hired to investigate his conduct had found a pattern of ethics violations.
The agency had commissioned the investigation after The Washington Post reported that Evans offered to use his influence and connections as a lawmaker and chairman of the Metro board in job pitches he sent to local law firms.
The four Metro members who made up the board’s ethics committee discussed the probe and agreed on one violation: that Evans had failed to disclose a conflict of interest when he tried to oust LAZ Parking from Metro contracts while he was secretly being paid $50,000 a year by Colonial Parking, one of its competitors.
Metro initially declined to disclose the results of the probe of Evans but then released a summary under pressure from the governors of Maryland and Virginia. The summary contradicted assertions by Evans and his lawyer that the ethics committee did not find any violations.
The Post later obtained a confidential memo by the law firm that investigated Evans. It alleged “a pattern of conduct in which Evans attempted to and did help his friends and clients and served their interests, rather than the interest of WMATA,” and said he did so “knowingly” and not by accident.
The letter from Meadows and Jordan seeks records related to the investigation, including interview transcripts and underlying evidence, and documents related to the decision to not produce extensive written findings. Metro officials have given conflicting information about the existence of a written report or other records relating to their investigation.
“The apparent lack of documentation about the investigation raises questions about whether this effort was a genuine one, or simply a whitewash,” Jordan and Meadows wrote in their letter, which was obtained by The Post.
In an interview, Smedberg said he wants the Metro board to improve the way it handles ethics investigations. “There were some things we thought we could do to help make that process better and a little more transparent,” he said.
Since Republicans do not control the U.S. House, they lack subpoena power. Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.), who chairs the committee overseeing the District and Metro, did not immediately respond to requests for comment about the letter from Republicans.
Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (D-Va.), who chairs the relevant subcommittee and has been critical of Evans, declined to discuss the letter. He said in a statement that he has “long supported bringing transparency and accountability to the Jack Evans ethics inquiry” and would work with Meadows and Jordan as they prepare for a hearing on Metro in September.
Since at least last fall, Evans has been the target of an investigation by a federal grand jury, which has been examining his actions as a public official and his private business dealings. Last month, the FBI searched his Georgetown home, and two weeks ago, the grand jury issued subpoenas for testimony from two Metro board members.
The letter from Meadows and Jordan suggests they may cite the scandal as an argument against D.C. statehood. “We write to request more information about the conduct of former Chair Evans, who had said that D.C. has ‘pulled (its) act together’ and is ready to become a state,” they wrote.
Russell Dye, a spokesman for Republicans on the House Oversight and Reform Committee, said that lawmakers “should have all the facts about Councilmember Evans’s misconduct” before acting on statehood legislation.
But Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D), the District’s nonvoting representative in Congress, said that “the alleged misconduct by one member of the local jurisdiction has no bearing on whether D.C. residents deserve statehood.”
Lawmakers were to discuss D.C. statehood next week at the first House hearing on the topic in a quarter-century, but that has been postponed until the fall.
Jordan and Meadows, leaders of the conservative Freedom Caucus, have long taken an interest in the affairs of the D.C. government. While the District elects its mayor and council, Congress retains power to overturn local laws and restrict spending.
Steve Thompson and Jenna Portnoy contributed to this report