Loose Lips

Congressional Black Caucus Opposes Gas Bill (At Least Briefly)

Last week, D.C. councilmembers got a letter from the Congressional Black Caucus calling on them to oppose legislation that could put a big dent into the bottom line of the District's biggest gas magnate, Eyob "Joe" Mamo.

Mamo and his gas business, which are the subject of an ongoing investigation by the attorney general's office, as well the subject of a recent Washington City Paper profile, is waging a full court press against Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh's "Retail Service Station Act of 2011." Cheh's bill, at least at one point in time, could force Mamo's company to divorce itself from running city gas stations while being a gas wholesaler at the same time.*

As part of Mamo's aggressive lobbying strategy, he's called in the big guns for help. The Rev. Jesse Jackson, a long-time Mamo supporter and beneficiary, has already written the councilmembers (and called at least one) to get them to oppose Cheh's bill. Jackson cast the fight against Cheh's bill as a civil rights issue.

The CBC letter, signed by CBC chairman Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II, D-Mo, and CBC Secretary Yvette Clarke, D-NY, is written in the same vein.

"We also believe the gains made through the hard work of the civil rights groups and others should not be wiped out by such legislation," the letter says.

D.C.'s Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, a member of the CBC, says the letter was not approved by the full caucus and has since been withdrawn. She says the letter was mistakenly sent to the council due to a "staffing error." Cleaver wrote a brief letter addressed to the council on Wednesday using the same "staffing error" language. 

LL heard Norton was angry about the first letter being sent to the council. "You better believe it," said Norton, whose whole political career is premised on trying to keep congressional interference out of local affairs.

"The caucus would never to that," Norton says. "They are the ones who protect Home Rule."

Sounds like one heck of a "staffing error."

The letter is below. LL is writing about the frenzied lobbying (and the money behind it) on both sides of this bill for next week's column (call LL if you have tips).

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Photo by Darrow Montgomery

*This post has been updated.

  • Skipper

    That CBC letter - and the Rev. Jackson's support - is the best that money can buy.


    Well Muirel Bowser supports letting MAMO buy all the gas stations in DC snd charge 4.oo or more because he feeds her campaign with us paying over rated prices at the gas stations he is always allowed to buy....so thank again Bowser for NOTHING!

  • hello…

    @Skipper, no kidding. It's actually not that expensive to get the Rev. to show up for your cause, having been on both sides of him (or his pocketbook) on a few issues.

  • Goat

    It's the CBC that protects home rule? That's rich. Someone has an overdeveloped sense of self worth and is fishing for accomplishments to maintain support.

  • Southeast Ken

    The CBC should stay out of our city's affairs. This is a local issue, not a federal one.

  • Sarah

    It will be interesting in this case if the ususal suspects -- Barry, Gray, etc. -- do their ususal carping about members of Congress keeping their noses out of DC matters!

  • NE John

    peeeeeeuuuuu, who fared? Oh the gasman

  • tony

    What's odd is that the same people who have been clamoring for federal intervention of some sort are now singing a different tune.

  • Typical DC BS

    Jesse Jackson, noted race baiter and extortionist, (snort) pulling the old race card. As Bugs Bunny would say, "What an ultra-maroon".

    The only color it's about is green.

  • NE John

    true that Typical

  • NE John

    We need the almighty god of thunder, THOR, to come down hard with his hammer. However, Maxwell will do!

  • Southeast Ken

    @NE John; the movie THOR rocked. Let's call on Charlie Sheen. Charlie Sheen for DC Council Chair or mayor. LOL

  • Samantha

    Word is that Cheh's legislation is to reverse minority gains in business that the so called "independents" want is a part of the Tea Party Racist Agenda . Of course these owners charge as much as $1.00 more than the others and are in Ward 3 . Capitalism is the American Way unless you are minority living in America.Then the agenda of the "Constitutional Lawyer" is dictated by a 1940's view that no black man should have any vestage of honest, legal involvment in supply and demand from an equal playing field .Sounds like we may have our own brand of Michele Bachmanon the DC Council .

  • tony

    @Samantha, AMEN!

  • seDCdude

    Bravo Samantha...

    Way to bring sense to the peanut gallery...starring SARAH!

    Tony these hypocrital white sheets continue to cut their noses to spite their faces, unbelievable yet so apparent, dumbasses!