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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.

A Pepco electrical engineer attempts to repair and replace downed power lines. (Andrew S. Geraci/The Washington Times)

D.C. residents rail against Pepco at council hearing

Pepco officials told a D.C. Council committee on Friday they are ready and willing to enter serious talks with customers and the city government about burying power lines in the District, an expensive proposition that is viewed as an antidote to power outages like those that afflicted the region during a heat wave this month. Published July 14, 2012

"People are innocent until they are proven guilty; they aren't guilty until they're proven innocent," D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray said Thursday. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)

For D.C. Mayor Gray, 'what did he know and when?'

D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray on Thursday said the swirl of suspicion around an off-the-books effort during his 2010 campaign is "as frustrating for me as it is for others." Published July 12, 2012

D.C. mayor deflects 'shadow campaign' questions

Mayor Vincent C. Gray defended his integrity and the reputation of his administration on Wednesday in his first public comments since federal prosecutors outlined a politically damaging "shadow" effort by members of his 2010 campaign. Published July 11, 2012

D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray is surrounded as he answers reporters' questions about campaign operative Jeanne C. Harris who pleaded guilty Tuesday to funneling undocumented campaign funds to his campaign. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)

Three on D.C. Council ask Mayor Gray to resign

Three D.C. Council members called on embattled Mayor Vincent C. Gray to resign Wednesday, just hours after he defended his integrity in his first public comments since federal prosecutors outlined a politically damaging "shadow" effort by members of his 2010 campaign. Published July 11, 2012

D.C. Council member David A. Catania (The Washington Times)

Three D.C. Council members call for Gray's resignation

Three D.C. Council members called on embattled Mayor Vincent C. Gray to resign on Wednesday, mere hours after the mayor defended his reputation in the wake of startling revelations about a "shadow" effort by members of his 2010 campaign. Published July 11, 2012

In a guilty plea Tuesday, Jeanne Harris, 75, admitted she funneled the undocumented campaign funds through one of her companies and culled "straw donors" who contributed to the Gray campaign in their names but were reimbursed for their donations. (Raymond Thompson/The Washington Times)

'Shadow' campaign for D.C. Mayor Gray detailed

D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray's 2010 campaign took part in a secret and illegal effort that funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars to the candidate — a scheme the city's top prosecutor on Tuesday said "compromised" the election. Published July 10, 2012

D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)

Gray probe widens as big donor's associate charged

Federal prosecutors on Monday accelerated their ongoing probe into Mayor Vincent C. Gray's 2010 campaign by charging an associate of one of the District of Columbia's most prolific political contributors. Published July 9, 2012

Initiative 70 delivered 30,000 signatures to ban corporate contributions to local politicians during a press conference held at Judiciary Square on Monday, July 9, 2012, in the District (Raymond Thompson/The Washington Times)

About 30,000 sign petition to ban corporate money in D.C. politics

Activists hoping to eliminate pay-to-play politics in the D.C. government dropped off 30,000 signatures at the D.C. Board of Elections on Monday in support of a ballot initiative that would ban direct corporate contributions to local political campaigns. Published July 9, 2012

D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, a Democrat, says the city has gone through a detailed, science-based review  of its breath-testing program since it "fell apart" two years ago. On Tuesday, the council will vote on reviving the program as part  of "a fairly busy" agenda before the summer recess. (Rod Lamkey Jr./The Washington Times)

D.C. Council to consider breath testing return

The D.C. Council will consider a bill Tuesday that clears the way for breath testing by police, a critical component of drunken-driving cases that has been dormant for more than two years. Published July 9, 2012

**FILE** A woman walks through a line of cabs outside of Union Station in Washington, D.C. (Rod Lamkey Jr./The Washington Times)

D.C. takes steps to make cabs more rider-friendly

The District has selected Verifone Systems to install credit card readers, GPS tracking and news programming in the city's taxicabs as part of promised reforms to make the system as rider-friendly as those in cities like New York, officials said Thursday. Published July 5, 2012

Woman sexually assaulted on Arlington trail

A man sexually assaulted a 23-year-old Arlington woman at knifepoint on Tuesday during her job along the Four Mile Run bike trail, according to police. Published July 4, 2012

Utility workers secure power lines on a pole as their team repairs lines downed by fallen trees in Springfield. (Associated Press)

Power finally back on for 90% of Pepco's customers

Pepco boasted on Wednesday it had "beat by two days" its estimate for restoring power to 90 percent of its customers in the wake of a fierce storm that devastated the region on Friday night. Published July 4, 2012

D.C. Council member Michael A. Brown (right), at-large independent, and D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray (far right), a Democrat, take part in the nonpartisan parade, in the Northwest neighborhood of Palisades.

D.C.'s Palisades Parade is canon on Fourth of July

"It's got a patriotic quality about it," Even if they don't know how or why it became a tradition, politicians in the District know they'd better head to the Palisades for its annual Fourth of July parade. Published July 4, 2012

Hugo Rodriguez, courtesy Montgomery County Police

Silver Spring man charged in stabbing death

A 38-year-old Silver Spring man was charged with first-degree murder after police say he stabbed a man multiple times on Tuesday during a dispute that escalated into a knife fight. Published July 4, 2012

D.C. Council member Muriel Bowser

D.C. Council committee approves ethics panel nominees

A D.C. Council committee Tuesday approved a trio of nominees to serve on the city's newly created Board of Ethics, despite lingering concerns about the number of times its chairman-to-be must recuse himself from cases. Published July 3, 2012

D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray stressed accountability as he swore in Sandra Mattavous-Frye on Tuesday to her reappointment as the D.C. People's Counsel, an advocate for ratepayers in their disputes with utilities such as Pepco. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)

D.C. Council member calls for Pepco investigation

D.C. Council member Mary M. Cheh is calling for a formal investigation into Pepco's response to the storm that thrashed the D.C. area Friday and caused widespread power outages, a multiday trial that has city leaders talking about a piece-by-piece effort to bury power lines underground despite an astronomical price tag. Published July 3, 2012

An electrical engineer from Pepco electric company attempts to repair and replace downed power lines, in Bethesda, Md., Monday, July 2, 2012. The storm left hundreds of thousands of people without power and caused wide spread property damage. (Andrew S. Geraci/The Washington Times)

Outages put Pepco on multiple hot seats

D.C. Council members planned to meet face-to-face with officials from Pepco as soon as Tuesday to address the "unacceptable" pace of the utility's recovery efforts after Friday night's fierce storm swept through the region and left hundreds of thousands without power in stifling heat. Published July 2, 2012

D.C. DOH director to take leave of absence

D.C. Department of Health Director Mohammad N. Akhter will request a leave of absence from his Cabinet post to serve on a board governing the city's health care exchange, a key ingredient of President Obama's reforms that were upheld last week by the U.S. Supreme Court. Published July 1, 2012