Loose Lips

Loose Lips Daily: Issa’s Coming Edition

A deliberative roundup of one city's local politics. Send your tips, releases, stories, events, etc. to lips@washingtoncitypaper.com. And get LL Daily sent straight to your inbox every morning!


  • Read: Tommy Wells' Opening Statement on SUVgate Hearings
  • House Oversight Committee Does Gray a Big Favor
  • Good morning sweet readers! LL picked Morehead State to go to the Final Four. Who is laughing now? News time:

    Congress Gets In Bed With Sulaimon: Well, we've now gotten to a point where Sulaimon Brown has become so well known that the The Washington Post can put his name in headlines. That's quite a journey for a guy who was working as a security guard a few years ago, then later ran for mayor and won only 209 votes. In today's installment of Sulaimania, the House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa, a California Republican, announced yesterday that it has launched a "full investigation" into Brown's claims that campaign and administration of Mayor Vince Gray gave him illegal cash payments and promised him a job. Issa says Gray's aides haven't been cooperative with an initial probe, and he doesn't have confidence the District can properly handle l'affaire Sulaimon. From the Post: "An investigator for the committee, chaired by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), said he has obtained evidence that Brown did not interview for his $110,000 job as a special assistant in the Department of Health Care Finance, He was simply placed there," an Issa spokesman said. The Post also reports that former Gray chief of staff Gerri Mason Hall has hired a lawyer and canceled a meeting with House investigators on Tuesday. The Gray aides accused of giving Brown money, Lorraine Green and Howard Brooks, as well as the mayor, have now all hired top-tier lawyers. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton said that Issa is overstepping and she plans to ask him to back off and let the U.S. Attorney's Office conduct its own investigation. Norton's got a point, but LL seriously doubts Issa's going to listen. LL wrote about how Issa's investigation gives Gray a good bad guy to push back on, but LL forgot to mention that the prospect of congressional hearings on the Gray administration's hiring practices might keep the mayor up at night. Meanwhile, Sulaimon Brown sits down with Fox5's Shawn Yancy for a bunch of no comments, and to say that District residents deserve to know if their mayor is a "crook."

    AFTER THE JUMP: Navigatorgate reborn; Brown Says No to Taxes; Orange Gets Patterson Nod ...

    Navigatorgate Reborn: What did Council Chairman Kwame "Fully Loaded" Brown do the day after he won his November election? Did he write thank you notes to his supporters? Maybe. Shake hands at Metro stops? Perhaps. But we do know for sure that he had his staff  ask DPW Director Bill Howland's staff for a Navigator, at least according to Howland's sworn testimony yesterday at an oversight hearing called by Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells. (Never mind that previously released e-mails have Brown's staff referencing a first request for a Navigator in October, before Brown even won the meaningless general election.) As much as Brown would like to put this whole Navigator story behind him, it's not going away. Witness the Post's lede: "D.C. Council Chairman Kwame R. Brown’s team requested a Lincoln Navigator from city officials within hours of winning the November election, a demand that could end up costing taxpayers more than $30,000 even though Brown drove the sport-utility vehicle for only a few weeks, top city leaders testified Thursday." Though much of Wells' hearing was on whether Howland has been following city laws, with some attention on why City Administrator Allen Lew is "borrowing" a brand new 2011 Chevy Tahoe from his old agency, the media focus was understandably all on Brown and his sweet, sweet former rides. The Examiner also reports that Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh has asked the city's procurement office for information as to why there have been multiple illegal prepayment on vehicle leases. "I find this highly troubling and very questionable," Cheh said.

    No Tax Increases: TBD's Bruce DePuyt reports that Chairman Brown says he's not going to support any type of income or property tax increase. "People are tired of their taxes going up, especially in these environments ... We need to cut programs that don't work and reallocate those dollars to programs that do work" says Brown. Given the scandals of recent days, especially Navigatorgate, Brown's stance should surprise absolutely no one.

    Everything is Coming Up Orange: LL was trapped in a timesuck at the Wilson Building yesterday, where a couple political pontificators whispered that they think moneyman Vincent Orange will be the likely winner of the April special election. And this morning, Jacque Patterson, President of the Ward 8 Dems and, until this week, a rival of Orange's, announced he's endorsing Orange. The Ward 8 Democrats will vote on who they are going to endorse tomorrow. It should be interesting vote given that Marion Barry is endorsing Sekou Biddle. Biddle meanwhile, just put out a release demanding that Kwame Brown reimburse the city for the "full costs" associated with the Navigators.

    Black Cat, Black Cat: Just breaking this morning is word that Washington City Paper, NBC4's Tom Sherwood, and WPFW's D.C. Politics (hosted by Chuck Thies) will co-sponsor a candidate forum in the at-large race on April 11 at the Black Cat on 14th Street NW in Ward 1. Look for more details whenever LL's bosses get around to providing them. And remember to tip your bartenders.

    Must Read: Wonderful reporting by Postie Stephanie McCrummen, who highlights tensions involved in DCPS's IMPACT teacher evaluation by just letting a conversation between a teacher and his evaluator breathe.

    In other news: Where the booze is. Man gets 18 years for $600 drug deal. District investigating special ed school.

    Gray sked: 2 p.m. hearing at D.C. Chamber of Commerce policy forum. Cabinet retreat starts at 4 p.m.

    Council sked: Judiciary and COW start at 10 a.m.

    • Wendy Washington

      "Meanwhile, Sulaimon Brown sits down with Fox5's Shawn Yancy for a bunch of no comments, and to say that District residents deserve to know if their mayor is a 'crook'."

      Do we really need to listen to Sillymon Brown (who may very well be a crook himself) respond with "no comment" while he contends that the Mayor is a crook.

      CP, where is your due diligence? You keep reporting around this issue, but WUSA and the WaPo have provided more extensive details about Sillymon's multiple brushes with the law. We have not heard a peep out of the CP or LL about Sillymon's foolishness.

    • NU78

      Why isn't someone questioning the competence at the CFO's office over the advance payments for the SUVs?? The CFO's office is the place where the checks get cut.

      When the CFO's office was created, wasn't part of the reason to make sure that someone was watching over D.C. taxpayers' money to make sure stuff like this didn't happen? The CFO isn't supposed to be simply a rubber stamp on things.

    • Mike Madden

      Wendy Washington --

      City Paper was the first place to report that Sulaimon Brown had a protective order filed against him; he was fired the next day. We were also the first to report he'd been fired. So the idea that you've "not heard a peep" about him here is a bit much.

    • itsjustamess

      @Mike Madden - Would I also be "a bit much" to assert City Paper has sat on its hands, feet, and toes regarding Cherita Whiting?

    • itsjustamess

      @Mike Madden and LL - Hot off the Washington Times press..."Gray Campaign Worker Comes Up Missing In Probe" -Guess who? Cherita Whiting. Interesting read. Check it out.

    • Rick Mangus


    • DCDem

      To say "Control Board Now!" is tantamount to say "PLEEZE MASSA, PLEASE COME BAK AND TAKE CONTROL OF MY LIFE!!!"

      Rick, you sound like Mammy.

    • Hall

      Looks like "DC One City" has a Facebook page now


    • Brightwood

      Control Board, Congress --- HELP !!!

    • Rick Mangus

      'DCDem', you sound like a uneducated bigoted asshole!

    • S.E.

      The last time I checked, Congress has a mess of it's own to deal with......like keeping the Federal Government operating for more than 2-3 weeks. How about getting your $hit together before stepping into somebody elses'.

    • Mike Madden

      @itsjustamess -- Sorry, we don't have time to chase down every report in every newspaper, we're busy working on our own stories.

    • hymesb

      I swear I remembe Truth Hurts talking about Gray's habit of working with Felons months before.the election.

      I dont know how a congressional investigation is good for Gray. Issa did not.make this stuff up. And neither did sullimon brown.

    • http://citypaper Tony

      Hey Rick Mangus,stay with your Ring-Wing brothers. Did i spell your name correctly?

    • Rick Mangus

      'Tony' yes you did now you can move on to pre-school!