TROUBLING QUESTIONS surround the interactions between D.C. Council member Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) and a company seeking legislation favorable to its business interests. Mr. Evans, who also serves as chair of the Metro board, owes the public a fuller explanation of his actions. Authorities who are said to be investigating this matter should show urgency in determining whether Mr. Evans is guilty of more than bad judgment.
At issue are events in 2015 and 2016 when Mr. Evans, the longest-serving member of the council, was starting a consulting firm, and a digital sign company was trying to enter the D.C. market. Reporting by The Post’s Steve Thompson and Jeffrey Anderson of the District Dig website detailed how Digi Outdoor Media apparently sought to curry favor with Mr. Evans in pushing for legislation that would have allowed it to install its signs in the District. In addition to contributing to Mr. Evans’s constituent services fund, the firm offered Mr. Evans a summer job for his son, two $25,000 checks for consulting work and the opportunity to purchase shares of the company’s stock.
Mr. Evans’s son did not accept the job offer, the checks were returned after Mr. Evans determined there was “potential conflict,” and the stock certificate was returned as soon as it was received. Good that Mr. Evans appropriately turned down these offers. But did he — should he — have reported these interactions? And why did he subsequently promote the idea of legislation that would have benefited Digi? No legislation was ever introduced, but was that because Mr. Evans realized he didn’t have the votes for passage?
The D.C. Board of Ethics and Government Accountability reportedly opened an investigation into these events in January, but it suspended its inquiry in recent months without providing a reason. It appears the city’s inspector general may be doing its own review. Mark Tuohey, a lawyer representing Mr. Evans, told us there were no violations of any rules or regulations and that any investigation will bear that out. Some comment from the ethics board is needed and, if the inspector general is examining this matter, there needs to be a timely resolution.