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Tom Howell Jr.

Tom Howell Jr.

Tom Howell Jr. covers politics for The Washington Times. He can be reached at

Articles by Tom Howell Jr.

Security plans developing for smaller inauguration

President Obama's second inauguration is expected to draw less than half the number of visitors who descended on the Mall for his historic oath-taking in 2009, the top D.C. security official said Thursday. Published December 6, 2012

A man passes by a fallen tree on 14th Street SW on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012, the day after Hurricane Sandy slammed into the region. (Rod Lamkey Jr./The Washington Times)

D.C. gets federal aid for Sandy clean up

President Obama has signed a disaster declaration that will help the District defray $4 million in clean-up and recovery costs after Hurricane Sandy swept through the northeast United States at the end of October, closing schools and government offices in the nation's capital. Published December 6, 2012

D.C. moves forward on budget autonomy

While Congress keeps its daggers drawn over the best way to avert the "fiscal cliff," city lawmakers are forging ahead with a novel plan to divorce their local spending from budgetary stalemates on Capitol Hill — despite warnings about its legal validity from the D.C. mayor and a powerful House member. Published December 5, 2012

Bill authorizing WWI memorial advances in House

A House committee approved a bill on Wednesday to establish a World War I memorial in the District — a plan that has faced controversy despite its noble goal of honoring those who served in the Great War. Published December 5, 2012

Former D.C. Council chairman's brother charged with bank fraud

The brother of former D.C. Council Chairman Kwame R. Brown has been charged with bank fraud — the same offense that brought down the erstwhile lawmaker — on accusations he submitted documents to a mortgage company to make it look as if he earned $35,000 in income he never actually received. Published December 5, 2012

D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray says the city should 'double down' on its gun laws in the wake of the school shooting in Newton, Conn. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)

D.C. Council moves to lower fines for speeding, most by $50

D.C. lawmakers on Tuesday signaled they will lower fines for speeders and other scofflaws caught by traffic cameras even as the city expands the program across the city — a trade-off that reflects the fragile business of letting machines issue tickets instead of live officers. Published December 4, 2012

D.C. Police Chief Cathy L Lanier, with Mayor Vincent C. Gray, discusses an initiative for phone-service carriers to disable stolen smartphones as soon as the theft is reported. Chief Lanier is a leading advocate of the FCC-coordinated program. (Rod Lamkey Jr./The Washington Times)

Smartphone thieves lose connection

Smartphones can hail a cab, stream football games and take high-quality photos, so the wireless industry's latest trick may seem as out of place as it was long in coming — rendering the phone as useless as a plastic brick. Published December 3, 2012

Interest shown in buying shadowy campaigner's managed care firm

A Philadelphia-based health company is interested in purchasing a managed care firm in the District owned by the man at the center of a federal probe into Mayor Vincent C. Gray's 2010 campaign, D.C. insurance officials said Monday. Published December 3, 2012

Marion Barry

Barry: ‘It is wrong’ to deny ex-cons jobs

Former D.C. Mayor Marion Barry has joined a chorus of lawmakers across the country pushing legislation that prohibits employers from discriminating against applicants with a criminal record unless there is a significant nexus between the crime and the job. Published December 2, 2012

D.C. joins states on synthetic drug ban

The nation's capital has joined more than 40 states in calling for a ban on synthetic marijuana and bath salts, a pair of drug genres that have raised eyebrows among law enforcement, parents and antidrug advocates alike because of their off-the-shelf accessibility and frightening effects. Published November 29, 2012

The Metropolitan Police Department's Asian Liaison Unit is scheduled to be relocated from it's current office on H Street NW, in the heart of Chinatown, in Washington, D.C., Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012. (Rod Lamkey Jr./The Washington Times)

Police take liaison unit away from Chinatown

The Metropolitan Police Department is moving a liaison unit that works with the city's Asian community from its longtime home in Chinatown, a quiet change that ignited fears the police chief plans to tinker with another specialized crew despite vows that little will change except where the officers store their gear. Published November 28, 2012

During his biweekly press briefing Wednesday, D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray and state schools superintendent Hosanna Mahaley talk about how a 4-year-old special-needs student was left alone on a school bus for several hours Tuesday. (Rod Lamkey Jr./The Washington Times)

Driver, aide fired after 4-year-old is left on school bus

A D.C. school bus driver and attendant who left a student with special needs alone on their vehicle for hours on Tuesday ignored set protocols — including disengaging a safety buzzer with an off switch at the back of the bus — and overlooked the 4-year-old boy, who stayed on the bus between the morning and afternoon runs, city officials said. Published November 28, 2012

School buses.

Driver, attendant fired after leaving special needs student on bus

A D.C. school bus driver and attendant who left a student with special needs alone on their vehicle for hours on Tuesday ignored set protocols — including disengaging a safety buzzer with an off switch at the back of the bus — and overlooked the 4-year-old boy who stayed on the bus between the morning and afternoon runs, city officials said. Published November 28, 2012

Bill Bregenzer of Flemington, N.J., shows off his winnings while standing in line for a cashier near the gambling floor last week in Parx Casino, near Philadelphia. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)

Inaction on Hill seen as jackpot for states with online gambling

Months after D.C. lawmakers repealed a measure that would have allowed first-in-the-nation online gambling on home computers and at select sites in the shadow of Capitol Hill, several states are forging ahead with online games of chance while a harried Congress remains unlikely to pass a federal bill that would regulate the practice. Published November 27, 2012

Missing out on ‘Lincoln’ film costly to D.C.

Abraham Lincoln took on bloodshed among the states and the shame of slavery during his four years in the White House, thwarting plans of the Confederacy headquartered 90 miles to the south in Richmond. Published November 26, 2012

Michael A. Brown

D.C. statehood project put on hold

An uphill initiative to promote D.C. statehood in handpicked pockets of the country is in limbo as state lawmakers gear up for sessions in their respective capitals. Published November 22, 2012

Charles J. Willoughby

Audit cites ex-D.C. Council member in ticket-fixing scheme

The D.C. office of the inspector general says a former council member tried to get 10 traffic tickets voided last year by leveraging a law that exempts legislators from parking rules while on official business -- a common political perk that has led to confusion and abuse across the country. Published November 21, 2012

Committee on Government Operations Chairman Muriel Bowser, Ward 4 Democrat, asks a question of D.C. Attorney General Irvin B. Nathan on ways to improve campaign finance rules during a meeting Tuesday with other D.C. Council members. (Rod Lamkey Jr./The Washington Times)

Crafting D.C. ethics bill proving difficult

When D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson got up Tuesday to leave a meeting on campaign finance reform with city Attorney General Irvin B. Nathan, colleagues at the conference table joked he was running out to raise money before the proposed legislation kicks in. Published November 20, 2012

Decision upheld keeping Wilson out of Turkey Bowl

The D.C. State Athletic Association on Tuesday upheld a decision to bar Woodrow Wilson High School's football team from the Turkey Bowl on Thursday for using an ineligible player in the run-up to the public school system's championship game, citing evidence the student used Metro to commute to school from Maryland and held a driver's license from the Old Line State. Published November 20, 2012