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Tom Howell Jr.

Tom Howell Jr.

Tom Howell Jr. covers politics for The Washington Times. He can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

Articles by Tom Howell Jr.

**FILE** Former D.C. Council member Harry Thomas Jr. (Andrew S. Geraci/The Washington Times)

In Ward 5 special election, no Thomas on ballot

Electioneering door-to-door, Ron Magnus likes to remind Ward 5 voters there has been a "Thomas" on their ballots since 1986. That won't be the case May 15, where 11 candidates hope to replace former D.C. Council member Harry Thomas Jr. in a special election. Published April 5, 2012

D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray (Andrew Harnik / The Washington Times)

Effort to recall D.C. mayor is dropped

A D.C. man who was organizing a recall of D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray and council Chairman Kwame R. Brown because of ethics scandals that hit shortly after their election in 2010 has abandoned his effort. Published April 4, 2012

A voter passes a gantlet of campaign supporters as she makes her way to her voting precinct at St. Timothy's Episcopal Church in Washington as the nation's capital holds its primary election on Tuesday, April 3, 2012. (Rod Lamkey Jr./The Washington Times)

Voters trickle to polls for D.C. primary races

Modest numbers of voters hit the polls throughout the District on Tuesday to potentially alter the make-up of the beleaguered D.C. Council and decide who will carry their political party's flag into the general election in November. Published April 3, 2012

D.C. Council member Yvette Alexander, Ward 7 Democrat, casts her vote at the Randle-Highlands Elementary School precinct in Southeast on Tuesday. (Rod Lamkey Jr./The Washington Times)

No big shakeup on D.C. Council

Modest numbers of voters hit the polls throughout the District on Tuesday with the potential for altering the makeup of the beleaguered D.C. Council and decide who will carry their political party's flag into the general election in November. Published April 3, 2012

Pollworker Tim Sudbury sets up voting booths Monday in the gymnasium of Lamond Recreation Center in Northwest Washington for Tuesday's D.C. Council primaries. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)

Some fear low turnout in early D.C. primary

Candidates vying for party nominations and an eventual spot on the D.C. Council say most city voters are familiar with the dark cloud that has gathered over city hall amid a series of ethics-related scandals, even if they can't explain what "bundling" is or why money orders are suddenly a key part of campaign-finance reform. Published April 2, 2012

**FILE** In 1998, voters in the District approved the Medical Use of Marijuana Initiative. (The Washington Times)

D.C. OKs first six applicants to grow pot

The D.C. Department of Health has notified six applicants they can register to grow medical marijuana in the city, jump-starting an effort to aid the sick and dying that had languished under congressional interference and complex rulemaking since voters approved the program in 1998. Published April 1, 2012

**FILE** In 1998, voters in the District approved the Medical Use of Marijuana Initiative. (The Washington Times)

Six applicants selected to grow marijuana in D.C.

The D.C. Department of Health has notified six applicants they may register to grow medical marijuana in the city, jump-starting an effort to aid the sick and dying that had languished under congressional interference and complex rulemaking since voters approved the program in 1998. Published March 30, 2012

Before the D.C. Council on Tuesday, (from left) Chief Financial Officer Natwar M. Gandhi, Mayor Vincent C. Gray and budget director Eric Goulet arrive to testify on the mayor's fiscal 2013 budget. Mr. Gray's budget proposal would close a $172 million gap through $102 million in cuts and $70 million in new revenue. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)

Gray eyes city full of traffic cameras

Mayor Vincent C. Gray told the D.C. Council on Tuesday he hopes to cover "the entire city" with traffic cameras, providing fuel to critics who feel his pro-safety message is a smoke screen for reaping greatly needed revenue. Published March 27, 2012

**FILE** D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray's proposal to raise $30 million by expanding a traffic-camera program is a "ruse" to take advantage of out-of-state motorists, said AAA Mid-Atlantic spokesman John B. Townsend II. (The Washington Times)

AAA says D.C. 'addicted to revenue' from tickets

D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray's plan to raise $30 million by expanding a traffic-camera program is evidence the city is "addicted to revenue" and balancing its books on the backs of out-of-District drivers with no say in city hall, AAA Mid-Atlantic says. Published March 26, 2012

D.C. Council member Jack Evans (The Washington Times)

Budget belt-tightening concerns D.C. lawmakers

Contentious battles over police staffing and tax increases that marked last year's D.C. Council budget debate likely won't be repeated this year, but competing priorities for future revenue again will offer an invitation for mischief. Published March 25, 2012

A D.C.-based photo-radar camera (BARBARA L. SALISBURY/THE WASHINGTON TIMES)

Gray's D.C. budget calls for many more traffic cameras

D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray presented a $9.4 billion spending plan on Friday that does not impose any new taxes or fees but relies on about $30 million in new traffic fines generated by automated-enforcement cameras. Published March 24, 2012

**FILE** Former D.C. Council member Harry Thomas Jr. (Andrew S. Geraci/The Washington Times)

Thomas pays $20,000 toward settlement

Former D.C. Council member Harry Thomas Jr. came up with $20,000 this week to chip away at the $300,000 sum he agreed to pay back to the District for stealing public funds from 2007 to 2009, the D.C. Office of the Attorney General said Thursday. Published March 23, 2012

Federal authorities have been reviewing D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray's 2010 campaign since last year. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)

D.C.'s campaign-finance law rife with gray areas

A serious turn in the federal probe of D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray's 2010 campaign and a recent trickle of subpoenas to D.C. Council members is delving into the tricky — and supposedly arms-length — role that candidates play at the roulette wheel of political funding and influence. Published March 22, 2012

D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray (Rod Lamkey Jr./The Washington Times)

Campaign finance fix 'daunting,' Gray says

D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray said Wednesday that it is time to take a "broad look" at staffing levels in the Office of Campaign Finance and the laws that govern political contributions to city races. Published March 21, 2012

** FILE ** D.C. Council members Vincent B. Orange and Yvette M. Alexander. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)

New limits put on D.C. medical marijuana

The D.C. Council on Tuesday imposed new limits on the city's medical marijuana program about two weeks before the long-awaited initiative is expected to begin in earnest. Published March 20, 2012

D.C. Council member Mary M. Cheh (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)

Cheh targets money orders

D.C. Council member Mary M. Cheh is set to introduce legislation on Tuesday that puts contributions in the form of a money order on par with cash, capping them at $25 to avoid the suspicions and federal inquiries that shook the D.C. campaign process last week. Published March 18, 2012

D.C. Council member Jim Graham (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)

Graham's treasurer says he has complied with subpoena

A campaign treasurer for D.C. Council member Jim Graham says he has already complied with a subpoena the U.S. Attorney's Office sent on Wednesday in connection with a broad investigation into one of the city's most prolific political donors. Published March 16, 2012

D.C. Council member Mary M. Cheh (Rod Lamkey Jr./The Washington Times)

Nominee for D.C. utility regulator defeated

A sharply divided D.C. Council committee rejected Mayor Vincent C. Gray's nominee to a three-member commission that oversees public utilities, citing her temperament and the need to recuse herself from more than half of the current caseload. Published March 15, 2012