Unpaid fines should keep Evans from using public financing, organizer says.
Washington, D.C. (March 11, 2020) — The failure to pay outstanding ethics fines should keep former Councilmember Jack Evans from running in the upcoming special and general Ward 2 elections, according to the D.C. Working Families Party. A WFP organizer and Ward 2 resident filed an ethics complaint with the Office of Campaign Finance and the Director of the Board of Ethics and Government Accountability.
The Working Families Party contends that Evans current $20,000 fine should prohibit him from using the District’s public financing for his campaign until it is paid.
“He should not be certified as an eligible fair elections candidate until he pays off this fine,” Working Families Party Organizer and Ward 2 resident Makia Green writes in the complaint.
The special election to replace the seat Evans resigned from to prevent expulsion will cost the city $200,000.
“I ask that appropriate corrective action be taken to ensure that such violations and abuses of the district’s public campaign financing do not continue,” Green also writes.
The D.C. Working Families Party has endorsed Jordan Grossman in the race to succeed Evans. Grossman is running in both the special and general election.
The Full Text of the Complaint is below:
The Office of Campaign Finance Wednesday, March 11 2020
Frank D Reeves Municipal Building
2000 14th St, NW, Suite 433
Washington, DC 20009
Re: Complaint re: Ethics Violation by Jack Evans for Ward 2 Campaign
To the Director of the Office of Campaign Finance
Jack Evans was ordered to pay $20,000 to the Board of Ethics and Government Accountability (BEGA) for using government resources and his position as an elected official for private gain. According to the Negotiated Settlement, the District’s Office of Government Ethics (OGE) will not pursue further actions against Evans if the balance of the fine is fully paid off by December 8, 2020 (the “Maturity Date”). The Negotiated Settlement further states that the “Respondent acknowledges and understands that this Negotiated Disposition is only binding on himself and OGE in resolution of the specific violations described hereinabove….”
The “Maturity Date” does not mean that the $20,000 fine is not outstanding until December 8, 2020. The Maturity Date merely designates a deadline when the legal right to enforce payment of the outstanding fine becomes vested. The fine remains outstanding until such time as it is paid off in its entirety.
As of February 18th, 2020, Jack Evans has not paid off the $20,000 fine and is thus not current on his fines. Chapter 11A of DC Code Ethics and Accountability Act states that a candidate must be current with respect to any fines or penalties owed for a violation under the “Government Ethics and Accountability Act,” which certainly includes Jack Evan’s fine from BEGA. He should not be certified as an eligible fair election candidate until he pays off this fine.
At the Office of Campaign Finance oversight hearing, Ward 6 Councilmember and Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Allen made clear that he disagreed with OCF’s interpretation that the $20,000 fine does not become outstanding until after the Maturity Date. Allen clearly expressed that Jack Evan’s campaign should not be viewed as “current ” on fines with respect to a violation of the Ethics and Accountability Act until such time as it is paid off in full.
I request that the Office of Campaign Finance and Board of Ethics and Government Accountability clarify that the legal term “Maturity Date” does not designate that a fine is not outstanding until such a date is reached. I further request that the Office of Campaign Finance and Board of Ethics and Government Accountability further reaffirm the clear meaning of Sec. 1-1163.32c(a)(2)(E) of the District’s Fair Elections Campaign finance law and rule that Jack Evans is not “current” with respect to any fines or penalties owed until such time that the $20,000 fine is paid off in its entirety.
I ask that appropriate corrective action be taken to ensure that such violations and abuses of the district’s public campaign financing do not continue.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Ward 2 Resident
Nationally, the Working Families Party has driven a progressive wave in local elections across America during the last two cycles. The party won a historic victory last year in Philadelphia when Kendra Brooks became the first third-party candidate elected to the city council in 100 years. The WFP helped elect longtime tenant organizer and progressive champion Jumaane Williams as Public Advocate in New York City, swelled the ranks of Chicago city council progressive caucus, put public education champions on the school board in Milwaukee, helped insurgent Latinx LGBTQ activist Candi CdeBaca oust a longtime incumbent on the Denver City Council, and elected other council members from Morgantown, W.Va., to Phoenix. In 2018 it helped to drive the progressive wave up and down the ballot, flipping state senate chambers in New York and Colorado, and ousting Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wis.).