It’s amazing that Evans wants back in when investigations authorized by the council and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority clearly established that, as a council member and WMATA board chairman, he had crossed lines beyond which no behavior could conceivably be considered ethical.
Predictably, city lawmakers were incensed upon learning that Evans is seeking to return to the council.
After barraging the public with a tweetstorm of criticism (Ward 1 council member Brianne K. Nadeau (D) took the prize with: “F-ING OUTRAGEOUS”), council members signed on to a formal statement drafted by Chairman Phil Mendelson (D) decrying Evans’s decision and accusing him of showing “a willful and arrogant disregard for ethics.”
Would that the council’s pain and suffering stopped there.
Pouring salt into their wounds, Evans intends to make his comeback through use of a council-created public campaign financing program.
It’s no joke. Evans hopes to regain his vacated Ward 2 seat using precious public dollars coughed up by taxpayers citywide, courtesy of an apoplectic council that desperately wants him gone.
Only in the District.
Evans may be in it to win it, but victory is far from certain.
If he is the beloved public figure that he thinks he is, Evans ought to be able to get 150 D.C. residents to give him small-dollar donations totaling at least $5,000 so he can collect more than $65,000 from the D.C. Treasury after a large qualifying bonus is factored in.
After certification, every $50 contribution he collects gets matched at a 5-to-1 ratio by the city. With that prize money, Evans will probably have all the financial support he needs to wage a competitive campaign. He may be counting on name recognition and a nearly 30-year record of constituent service to get him past the scandal and disgrace that he visited upon himself. They may not be enough to overcome the stumbling block that lies between him and the good graces of Ward 2, as well as the rest of the city.
There is a Trumpian quality to Jack Evans.
As with President Trump, Evans cannot admit he has done something wrong.
It’s a fair question whether his gross ethical violations rose to the level of censure or expulsion by the council. Just as it’s worthwhile weighing whether Trump’s abuse of his office warranted impeachment, conviction and removal from the presidency.
However, there is little question that both Evans, in using his public office to benefit companies that paid money to a private consulting firm he owns, and Trump, in using his power as president to pressure a foreign government to slime a political opponent, both acted in their own self-interest.
Evans wronged the council and his ward. He does not seem to understand that the errors are not with the council or its rules. The error is with him. And that may be the barrier to regaining the elected office that once was his.