The Daily Feed, Ward 5, WTF?!

Report: Ward 5 Councilmember to resign in plea deal

Photo courtesy of itjournalist
D Block, Alcatraz
courtesy of itjournalist

We only gave Harry Thomas Jr the #3 slot in 2011’s Worst of Scandals list, but it appears he will be the number one figure in DC politics for the next few weeks. WUSA9’s Bruce Johnson is reporting that Councilmember Thomas will resign as part of a plea deal that will send Thomas to prison for 2-3 years. In addition, according to comments obtained by the Washington Post, Thomas failed to make his second scheduled $50,000 payment this week.

Thomas’ resignation would leave Ward 5 without a seat on the council (excepting At-Large Councilmember Vincent Orange, who also lives in Ward 5) until a special election could be called. The District, according to law, must hold the election on the Tuesday after 114 days from the certified vacancy. Should Thomas’ vacancy be certified by Friday of this week, that election would take place on April 30th, but a May election date is more likely. Thomas faced three challengers in the 2010 primary, with none gathering more than 19%. No word yet on if any of his 2010 challengers would make a run for his seat.

Should Thomas resign, it would be nice to see the Council take efforts to, give the financial situation, amend the charter to add more flexibility to the special election options, including alignment to nearby primary and special elections, as well as provisions to allow for the Board of Elections to avoid days that could limit voters for religious reasons.

The Daily Feed

CM Yvette Alexander fined $4,000 by OCF for misuse of constituent funds

Photo courtesy of
courtesy of ‘dbking’

Ward 7 Councilmember Yvette Alexander was fined $4,000 by the Office of Campaign Finance, related to the findings that “Councilmember Alexander’s Constituent Services Fund (CSF) made an expenditure for campaign activities; and that her Constituent Services Program (CSP) failed to report certain expenditures on required quarterly reports, both in violation of the D.C. Campaign Finance Reform and Conflict of Interest Act. A fine of $4,000 was imposed for these violations.”

It appears that Alexander was acquitted of responsibility for the most serious charges levied against her in the complaint, but some of the more minor charges, which include using $300 from her constituent services funds to pay for robocalls for her campaign, still cost the council member’s campaign $4,000 in fines.

Alexander joins several other members of the City Council on the wrong side of scandals this year.

Anatomy of a Scandal

Anatomy of a Scandal: Parks Department

Photo courtesy of
‘Green. Very Green.’
courtesy of ‘kimberlyfaye’

Hi there, and welcome to the first of an occasional series called Anatomy of a Scandal. There’s always something to fight about when it comes to DC politics, and that’s just the local stuff, not what happens over at the Capitol. Unlike national politics, though, not every local political adventure has a clear set of sides and players. We’re here to help figure some of this stuff out. First up? Department of Parks and Recreation. It’s been sort of a long drawn out cluster of scandals, and you should probably know some of the people involved.

Dramatis Personae
Adrian Fenty, Mayor of the District of Columbia
Peter Nickles, His Attorney General
Vincent Gray, Chairman of the City Council, rival to Fenty
Kwame Brown, At-Large Councilman
Marion Barry, Hizzoner Emeritus
Ximena Hartsock, Interim/Acting Director of the Department of Parks & Recreation, appointed by Mayor Fenty (twice…)
DC Housing Authority, a quasi-governmental entity
Omar Karim, friend of the Mayor, fraternity brother to Adrian Fenty.

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Life in the Capital, The Hill, WTF?!

Somebody Going To Emergency, Somebody’s Going To Jail

Kilmainham Jail (Gaol) by Sean Munson

There’s Politics, there’s politics, and then there’s Rod Blagojevich, Governor of Illinois. He was arrested this morning on a Federal warrant for corruption charges. You can read the press release (PDF) or you can read the whole complaint (PDF).

It reads like a bad novel. Seriously, writers couldn’t make up corruption this blatant, this ridiculous, this hubristic. The blatant “pay for play” and pure escapist’s collusive fantasy, it’s hard to take in without thinking, as my friend PJ does, that Illinois no longer deserves the right to hold free elections.

There are as many as five potential senate candidates listed in the complaint, though none by name. I suspect the big name journalism outfits are attempting to do a game of “who’s goin’ to the pokey” by identifying characteristics from the complaint and attaching them to actual names. This one will likely get uglier and uglier, and may very well taint some of the President Elect’s campaign and advisors before we get too much further.

The Post’s Carrie Johnson has a detailed examination of the situation, and I suspect that this one is going to get much, much uglier before it gets any better.

Just a sampling, so you can see just what kind of Jail this guy belongs in, assuming he doesn’t get strung up by the masses, please check out this choice quote:

“[I]ntercepted phone conversations between ROD BLAGOJEVICH and others indicate that ROD BLAGOJEVICH is contemplating rescinding his commitment of state funds to benefit Children’s Memorial Hospital because Hospital Executive 1 has not made a recent campaign contribution to ROD BLAGOJEVICH.”

Yep. He’s just that sleazy.