Loose Lips

Loose Lips Daily: Name on the Streets 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!


  • Mayor Gray Fires Back At Council
  • OIG Report Finds Crummy Oversight of HIV/AIDS Programs
  • Good morning sweet readers! LL is no financial expert but is pretty sure the best thing to do right now is cash in what's left of your 401(k) and start buying sacks of rice and beans. News time:

    If Not Now, When?: The Post editorial board calls out embattled Ward 5 Councilmember Harry Thomas Jr.'s name on the street, saying he's too chicken to explain himself and the $300,000 settlement with the attorney general's office over alleged fraud and misspending of city funds. “Ever since questions were first raised about his fundraising for a supposed charity, Mr. Thomas has blamed his troubles on political enemies and vindictive media. This woe-is-me defense seeks to obscure the facts, including that Mr. Thomas has yet to provide an explanation for his activities.” The editorial also has Thomas' attorney saying there hasn't been an "appropriate" setting for Thomas to offer his defense. Hmm, maybe the U.S. Attorney's Office can fix that.

    AFTER THE JUMP: Evans' Money; More on Yvette; All Hands on Overtime;

    Jack's Cash: It must be hard raising so much money for a re-election campaign when the maximum contribution limit is $500 for ward races. Not so, if you have developer friends with multiple LLCs. WAMU's Patrick Madden shines a spotlight on the ubiquitous practice of campaign bundling, a practice that Ward 6 Councilmartyr Tommy Wells is trying to curb. Madden combs through recent campaign finance disclosure forms and finds that one Maryland-based realty company gave Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans a dozen donations of $500 each, which adds up to $6,000—considerably more than the law looks, on the face of it, like it would allow, but for some reason, entirely legal when done this way.

    Not Over?: Did the Office of Campaign Finance muff its investigation of Ward 7 Councilmember Yvette Alexander? So suggests TWT's Jeffrey Anderson, who says "OCF neither requested nor received any of the receipts that office holders are required by law to maintain." Anderson lists some small checks that don't have memo lines before putting OCF's spokesman Wesley Williams on the hot seat: 'Asked why OCF did not request supporting documentation for tens of thousands of dollars in expenditures after having received a constituent complaint and request for investigation, Mr. Williams replied, 'It wasn’t an audit, so it wouldn’t be so detailed to include that type of information.' Asked whether any of the interviews conducted during the investigation were accompanied by documentation to support the claims of Ms. Alexander and her staff, he replied, 'No, but they were under oath.'"

    All Hands On Overtime: More confusion over the legality of one of Police Chief Cathy Lanier's signature crime fighting tools, the all hands on deck initiative. The District's Public Employees Relations Board ruled Friday that hundreds of officers are due retroactive overtime pay. The police union says the ruling means AHOD is dead, while Lanier says it's not.

    In Other News:

    • Harry Jaffe: D.C. brass takes aim at street cops.
    • Watch an old dry cleaning commercial, starring Sinclair Skinner.
    • Former IG official sentenced on fraud charges.
    • Seven MPD officers could be fired over anti-lesbian attack.
    • Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh drafting a proposal for new middle school in Ward 3.
    • Did D.C. test scores fall as security tightened?
    • DYRS human resources manager fired amid questions about hiring practices.
    • Elections board chairman Togo West resigns, no reason given.

    Gray sked: 10 a.m. Ribbon Cutting at Chevy Chase Recreation Center. (On a side note, this overly dramatic note arrived in the Chevy Chase listserv: "I just returned from our evening visit to the park, and was astounded to see contractors busily painting the grassy areas green that DPR has not seen fit to water since they were planted. File that one away in the 'I can't believe what I just saw' category. My wife, who grew up in communist China commented that this reminds her of the efforts undertaken to repaint everything in anticipation of when the communist party bosses would visit her town.")

    Council sked: recess.

    • Skipper

      So Neil Stanley gets his buddy hired by violating DYRS' hiring requirements, and the one that takes the fall is the lowly agency HR person? What a joke.

      One City. Zero Standards.

    • Skipper

      And surely Tommy Wells knows of the recent Supreme Court cases dealing with campaign donations by corporations? It's not like he just pulls stuff out of his ass without doing any research, right? Good luck moving that bill since most of your Councilmembers can't stand you.

      And you know the Greater Greater Wells groupies just got a collective erection.

    • Jacka$$

      Skipper...I am one of the lurkers here who just kind of laughs at your b-s- posts. As you should know (because you are an expert in EVERYTHING) the recent Supreme Court decision centered around FEDERAL candidates and donations by corporations - you know those elections for House of Reps, Senate and Prez? Because of your vast expertise in all things political, you must know that each state, and the District of Coulmbia, has it's own campaign finance laws...in DC's case they are set by the Council.

      You are right this issue is a non-starter and truthfully I am on Jack's side on this one...but at least get your facts straight.

    • DC5

      @Jacka$$: The same First Amendment that the Supreme Court cited to protect federal campaign contributors applies in the District of Columbia. Because we live in a federal jurisdiction, all acts of the Council are subject to constitutional review by the federal courts.

    • Anonymous, Too


      Heh, heh, heh... bullseye.

      Kinda amusing, too, that a brief review of JackPAC's latest contributors reveals that 95% of them don't live in Ward 2.

    • cminus

      I presume Skipper is referring to Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which struck down the McCain-Feingold ceilings on corporate funding of independent political advertising on First Amendment grounds. Citizens United is binding on the District and Council acts are subject to federal judicial review, as DC5 points out; in fact, this is true of every subnational jurisdiction in the US, not just DC -- Maryland or Virginia couldn't pass state-level campaign finance laws that violated Citizens United either.

      Note, however, that the Citizens United decision governs independent political advertising. Citizens United still allows for caps on contributions made directly to a candidate or a campaign. So long as Wells doesn't try to prohibit a big property developer from providing unlimited funding to an organization totally unrelated to Jack Evans that uses the money to explain that whoever runs against Jack Evans eats puppies or something, Wells should be in the constitutional clear.

    • Skipper

      @Jacka$$ - Your name aptly describes your intelligence on the subject matter. Please go lie down in the street.

    • incredulous

      Brava for Mary Cheh:

      Oh, the horror of Ward 3 parents making claims to get public education for their kids; what their taxes, and their landlords pay for.

      But, since when has Hardy MS been a city-wide ONLY school? With 500+ enrollment, there isn't room there for 200 within-boundary Ward 2 and Ward 3 students, leaving it, like Ward 3 Deal MS and Wilson HS, still majority minority and out of boundary?

    • FormerDCer

      Oh, silly, that "green paint" is the hydroseeding mix. Sheesh.

    • Truth Hurts

      WaPo's editorial rightly called out Harry "f... the kids" Thomas and his lobbyist lawyer on their perpetual b.s. HTJ's scumbag antics were meticulously detailed in the AG's lawsuit.

      Those who still continue backing and enabling HTJ simply are jerkoffs.

    • Honest Abe

      I can't wait until it is time to sign a recall. I am glad the Post & City Paper are staying on top of this important issue. Tax payers and children have been robbed by Harry Thomas and he should be held accountable.

    • Drez

      Deal pulls from parts of 4 also.

    • Drez

      I generally like Jack, but just because he's in technical compliance with the rules doesn't mean he's doing the right thing.
      He should join those looking to end the shenanigans and so far he's not. In fact, this is an example of him exploiting them to the fullest limits of the law.
      Hate the game, player, change the rules.

    • Drez

      Can't wait 'till Thomas is officially a dead horse.

    • Southeast Ken

      City Paper all the D.C. outlets are reporting, muscle bound former MPD SOD Commander Hilton Burton has been demoted to a Captain. Burton is quoted as saying, it's retailiation against him by Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier. Why haven't you reported this local hot story?

      Burton is a disgruntled vindictive bully.

    • Really?

      Brief review is correct on Jack (in-the-box) Evans. Jacky poo is one of the main ones that need to be called on the carpet for his past and present transgressions.

      So Deal and Hardy aren't enough...wonder if this new middle school will be one of those new application only schools.

      Tommy "nobody puts baby in the corner" needs 99 post on his own participation in campaign bundling..Just take a look a business man Joe Elglert.

      Joe Englert
      2010 Re-election Campaign

      Joe Englert and Scott Magnuson
      2010 Re-election Campaign

      Rock and Roll Hotel
      Joe Englert
      2010 Re-election Campaign

      Joe Englert
      2010 Re-election Campaign

      The Red & Black
      Joe Englert
      2010 Re-election Campaign

      Palace of Wonder
      Joe Englert
      2010 Re-election Campaign

      H St Country Club
      Joe Englert
      2010 Re-election Campaign

      Joe Englert
      2010 Re-election Campaign

    • LongTimeRez

      "I generally like Jack..."

      LOLOL... sure changed yer tune since 2008, eh, drez...

    • LongTimeRez

      "HTJ's scumbag antics were meticulously detailed in the AG's lawsuit."

      Yeah, Truthy... and they don't hold a candle [HJT > $300,000+ vs. Lew/Lomax > $31,000,000+] to the scumbag antics of Allen Lew and Fenty BFF Keith Lomax.

      From the 5-11-2011 Auditor's Report on the Office of Public Education Facilities Modernization:

      "Thus, there was a $31 million difference between the total project expenditures reported by OPEFM to the Council and actual vendor pay requests contained in DCPEP PM project files."