D.C. Council to consider sanctions against Marion Barry

Five D.C. Council members will decide whether Marion Barry should be dealt sanctions in addition to a fine he was issued as punishment for accepting gifts from city contractors.

Council Chairman Phil Mendelson on Friday appointed an ad hoc committee that will investigate Mr. Barry’s actions.

The committee is comprised of council members Yvette M. Alexander, Ward 7 Democrat; Anita Bonds, at-large Democrat; Mary M. Cheh, Ward 3 Democrat; David Grosso, at-large independent, and its chairman is Kenyan McDuffie, Ward 5 Democrat.

The District's Board of Ethics and Government Accountability on Thursday censured Mr. Barry and imposed a $13,600 penalty on the Ward 8 Democrat for accepting gifts from prohibited sources. Mr. Barry, 77, acknowledged in financial disclosure forms this year receiving $2,800 from Forney Enterprises, Inc. and $4,000 from the owner of F&L Construction. Council members, who are tasked with approving contracts worth more than $1 million, are prohibited from accepting gifts worth more than $20 from firms with business before the city.

The committee is expected to investigate and be ready to present any recommendations — whether or not they include any additional punishments — to the full council by Sept. 17.

While Mr. Mendelson could chose committee members from the full council body, absent from the committee are three council members running for mayor — Muriel Bowser, Ward 4 Democrat; Jack Evans, Ward 2 Democrat; and Tommy Wells, Ward 6 Democrat. Others not included in the committee are Jim Graham, Ward 1 Democrat, and Vincent B. Orange, at-large Democrat, who have both been investigated by the ethics board this year.

The board in February issued an opinion stating that Mr. Graham had violated the city’s code of conduct by intervening in the District’s lottery contracting process. Mr. Orange was admonished by the board in May for misconduct for intervening in a Department of Health inspection of a business.

Thursday’s ruling by the board marks the first time a council member has been subject to a fine.

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