At Thankgiving, All Is Quiet on the Evans Front

Thanksgiving is just about here. We can give thanks for that.

Peace on earth will descend a little early, at least in terms of the daily deluge of debates, impeachment and whatever else ails the body politic these days.

The singular exception will probably again be President Donald Trump, the Twitter machine who has somehow managed to inveigle himself and the rest of us in an imbroglio involving the U.S. Navy, the Navy SEALs and the military establishment in general.

Other than that, a certain amount of quiet has settled in over the capital. Politicians, senators, congressmen, their aides and fellow workers and the media and the rest of us have started to think about …

Football. Thanksgiving. Black Friday. Cyber Monday.

A pregnant silence also seems to be hovering over the unresolved thicket of the political scandal surrounding Ward 2 Council member Jack Evans, the longest-serving Council member in Washington history.

Last week, a lengthy report on an investigation into Evans’s private business dealings — including through his consulting firm — in relation to his work on the Council was released. It found there were 11 instances in which Evans took official action or voted in a way benefitting his private clients, according to various news reports.

These were considered violations of city ethics rules and the Council’s own rules of conduct. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson said: “Mr. Evans has obliterated the public trust.”

Evans, who represents Georgetown as part of his Ward 2 constituency, answered with a 42-page report of his own, saying that he had broken no rules. His lawyers’ defense read, in part: “Evans has always conceded that things he did and did not do he wished he had done better … He has always stated that some things appear worse than they are.”

Another Council meeting with Evans is scheduled for December. Meantime, a majority of the Council has proposed that Evans resign, but the Council has not so far moved or indicated that it might oust him.

There is a recall petition being circulated, and a number of candidates have already announced that they will run for his seat next year in the 2020 elections. Over the course of his career to date, Evans has handily won or surmounted any such challenges.

The choice of a voluntary resignation obviously appeals to the Council, but Evans has given no indication that he is planning to take that action. He still has some support in the community from people who have known him throughout his political career.

Even if it does not remove him from his office, the Council could strip more of his power.

But for now, at least, with Thanksgiving and all that goes with it coming up, things appear quiet on the Evans front.



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