Morning Roundup: Aug. 4

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Emails obtained by The Washington Times provide more insight into the troubled process to award the District’s $38 million D.C. Lottery contract. The emails, obtained by Jeffrey Anderson of The Washington Times, show how Fenty ally and original lottery partner Warren C. Williams was approached by Maryland businessman Emmanuel Bailey and warned that “forces that be” did not want him to hold the lucrative contract. Shortly after Mr. Bailey sent emails to Mr. Williams suggesting that Mr. Bailey be cut in on the deal, the entire contract would be rebid and Mr. Bailey would usurp Mr. Williams as the local partner to the Greek gaming company that won the contract. A month after that decision, D.C. Council member Michael Brown would quietly slip a proposal to legalize online gambling run through the D.C. Lottery into a massive budget bill.

The wife of slain lawyer Robert Wone speaks with The Washington Post after settling a $20 million wrongful death suit against three men who were accused and acquitted in a criminal case brought in connection with the 2006 killing. The men, “who were involved in a sexual relationship with one another,” said someone broke into the house and killed Wone. No one has ever been charged in the actual stabbing. “‘I miss Robert every day,’ said Kathy Wone, an attorney at the American Health Lawyers Association.” Terms of the civil settlement were not disclosed.

The D.C. Office of Campaign Finance has largely cleared council member Yvette M. Alexander of charges she abused her constituent services fund, Tom Howell Jr. reports in The Washington Times. OCF investigators decided that thousands of dollars in self-promotional expenditures and additional thousands for rental of an office space the D.C. government was obligated to provide for free were appropriate ways to spend money from a fund designed to help the most needy constituents. The OCF likewise was untroubled that the lease on the office, whose landlord was former Ward 7 council member H.R. Crawford, came with a rent that seemed to change seasonally. The impetus for the investigation was a complaint by some Ward 7 residents after reports about the questionable expenditures in The Washington Times. Ms. Alexander was fined $4,000 for two minor infractions. She failed to report some expenditures and used her constituent fund to pay for robocalls informing residents of a community appreciation day.

Candidates are lining up in Ward 5 in case someone needs to suddenly replace D.C. Council member Harry Thomas Jr., City Paper reports.

Likely Republican candidates have a slight early edge over potential Democratic opponents in the 2013 Virginia governor’s race, new poll figures released Wednesday show. The liberal-leaning PPP shows that both Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling and Attorney General Kenneth T. Cuccinelli poll better than former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe and former Rep. Tom Perriello, two oft-mentioned potential Democratic candidates. David Sherfinski has the results in The Washington Times.

D.C. Council member Mary Cheh is unhappy. Mayor Vincent C. Gray with little notice or attention declined to sign a compromise measure that would have postponed collection of a tax on out-of-state bonds held by D.C. residents until January, Tom Howell Jr. reports in The Washington Times. The tax was a point of contention in the budget debate but ultimately survived. Amid grumbling that it was unfair to collect the tax retroactively to the beginning of this year, the council passed a compromise that would postpone the collection until January 2012. That made Mrs. Cheh happy, since the vast majority of D.C. residents holding out-of-state bonds live in her affluent Ward 3. But after all that work, Mr. Gray issued a “pocket veto” letting the council-approved compromise expire without a signature. His rationale? The $13 million the tax would have collected this year would have to be repaid from the city’s general fund. And that would make Wall Street bond raters see the District as spend-happy and threaten the city’s credit rating. Bull****, Mrs. Cheh and D.C. Council Chairman Kwame R. Brown (more or less) said Wednesday in response. The council could revisit the issue either in special session or when it reconvenes in September. And that could open the door to any number of lingering budget-priority debates.

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