Count this one as a victory for civilization. Councilman Marion Barry today was unanimously censured by the City Council for his role in a kickbacks scandal, unanimously referred to prosecutors for misconduct related to the kickbacks scandal, and unanimously removed as chair of the housing committee.
Councilman Barry was loathe to admit his own responsibility in these matters, instead pushing off blame on the Council for the Bennett Report, on Bennett and his staff, and on Council Chair Vince Gray. Barry was looking for someone, anyone, to drag down with him, trying to drag Councilman Jack Evans and Jim Graham and Council Chair Gray down for what Barry felt were similar ethical lapses, no matter what the reality of the situation was.
As Geoffrey Hatchard pointed out on twitter, it was if Barry was saying “you do this, and you try to run for mayor, i’ll make sure no one votes for you,” to Chairman Vince Gray, which is no small threat given Barry’s clout in distressed Ward 8. Given that the Democratic Party is still afraid of Barry, this is no small measure of revenge for Barry, to attempt to frighten and impose upon the council in retribution for censure.
Barry continued to defend his innocence, to defend his record as “clean”, and then went on to challenge the very censure process that he’d just underwent. Barry said that he was “not dismayed” by the process, which largely means to me that we need to give these censure proceedings further teeth.