Loose Lips

Vincent Orange: The Post Did Me Wrong

At-Large Councilmember Vincent Orange can't get a break from the media. In the past, he's filed a lawsuit and threatened to launch a D.C. Council investigation to get satisfaction.

Now Orange has found a new injustice: a Washington Post columnist acting like the admonishment that Orange received from the District's ethics board still exists.

Orange's gripe stems from an Aug. 22 Washington Post column from Colby King that mentions Orange's interference in a city health inspection on a list of Council lowlights. Orange is unhappy that King didn't mention that the punishment he received for it was later expunged.

"Yes, I was admonished by the ethics board," Orange writes in a letter to the editor he claims the Post refused to print. "But, Mr. King failed to disclose it was expunged six months later. That is, the record was wiped clean."

Indeed, after Orange completed an ethics training course, the Board of Ethics and Government Accountability took down evidence of his admonishment. LL notes, though, that it is still a thing that actually happened.

Orange then goes on to point the columnist, matador-like, at Council colleagues David CataniaJim Graham, and Marion Barry instead. If King wants to talk about the Council's failings, Orange writes, mention Catania's former outside job for a city contractor, or that Graham and Barry had some of their responsibilities delegated to Orange after their own ethics punishments:

Mr. King also failed to disclose when my colleague was stripped of oversight of the Alcohol Beverage Regulation Administration and another colleague stripped of oversight of the Department of Employment Services/Workforce Development, those oversight responsibilities were transferred to my Committee on Business, Consumer and Regulatory Affairs.

Post editorial page editor Fred Hiatt isn't swayed.

"I thought Colby’s column was accurate and well within the bounds of judgments a columnist is entitled to make," Hiatt writes in an email to LL. "I understand Councilman Orange would weigh things differently."

As for why the Post didn't publish Orange's letter, Hiatt notes that Orange was already in the paper earlier last month over another dispute with King.

Orange's full press release:

“Just...Tell the Whole Story”

Colbert I. King Fails to Disclose All the Facts

(Washington, DC) – Vincent B. Orange, Sr. (D-At-Large) requested the Washington Post to print the following letter to the editor which was declined. The letter is as follows:
Colbert I. King's August 23 op-ed "In D.C. politics, it pays to follow the money" fails to "tell the truth and nothing but the truth".

Yes, I was admonished by the ethics board. But, Mr. King failed to disclose it was expunged six months later. That is, the record was wiped clean.

Mr. King also failed to disclose when my colleague was stripped of oversight of the Alcohol Beverage Regulation Administration and another colleague stripped of oversight of the Department of Employment Services/Workforce Development, those oversight responsibilities were transferred to my Committee on Business, Consumer and Regulatory Affairs.

Mr. King advocates in D.C. politics, it pays to follow the money and points to Democrats but fails to mention an independent candidate for Mayor, whom he fondly writes about, earned in excess of one million dollars from a DC government contractor who has generated in excess of one hundred million dollars in DC contracts. Mr. King also fails to mention that I introduced several pieces of legislation to ban outside employment by Councilmembers, ban contractors from doing business with the District if a Councilmember is on the entities' payroll, and require Councilmembers to report the number of outside employment hours worked and the amount of compensation received therefrom on a monthly basis to the Board of Ethics and Government Accountability. We have not seen nor heard of Mr. King advocating for the passage of these pieces of legislation.

If you are going to tell the truth, "tell the truth and nothing but the truth. Only the truth shall set you free". While we appreciate Mr. King’s story, just… tell the whole story.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

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