Councilmember Evans Represents the 1%, Not the Occupiers in His Ward


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Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans represents the 1% much more than the 99. Ironically – or maybe appropriately – both of D.C.’s ongoing occupations, at Freedom Plaza and McPherson Square, are located in his ward.

Evans embodies precisely what the occupiers oppose: undue corporate influence on government. In addition to his $125,000 council salary, Evans earns $240,000 a year from Patton Boggs, but good luck trying to figure out what the councilmember does for the powerful law/lobby firm.

As chair of the Committee on Finance and Revenue, Evans consistently calls for cuts to safety net programs, while at the same time he steers hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars towards privately-owned projects like the baseball stadium ($700-plus million), the convention center ($850 million) and the convention center hotel ($272 million).

“I don’t think he’s seen a tax break he didn’t like for a big corporation,” journalist John Hanrahan told TheFightBack yesterday in an interview livestreamed from the Freedom Plaza occupation.

Hanrahan questions Evans’ role in the convention center hotel deal which provides $272 million in public subsidies to assist Marriott in building an 1,167-room monstrosity alongside the convention center in Ward 2. While Evans worked tirelessly on the deal for years, all of a sudden in the summer of 2009, he began recusing himself from voting on the matter. The Washington Examiner reported that Evans “recused himself from the vote because his law firm, Patton Boggs, represents Marriott.”

Well-respected civic organizations and others requested that Evans explain his actions, but to no avail. While ignoring constituents is bad form, Evans’ failure to explain his recusals to the Office of Campaign Finance, the Board of Elections and Ethics and the Council chair is a violation of D.C. law.

On five separate occasions over the past year, Hanrahan emailed the Council chair on this issue. In his latest email, sent yesterday, Hanrahan wrote:

“Stripping the issue down to its basics: Councilmember recuses himself. Law says councilmember must explain the reason for his recusal, in writing… Councilmember fails to file required written explanations for his recusals. To this day, councilmember remains in violation of the law. Period.”

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