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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.

D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray (second from right) holds a press conference to announce his nominees to the new Board of Ethics and Government Accountability Robert J. Spagnoletti (left) Deborah A. Lathen (second from left) and Laura M. Richards (right) at the John A. WIlson Building on Tuesday, June 5, 2012. (Rod Lamkey Jr/The Washington Times)

Gray nominates 3 to ethics board

D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray on Tuesday named three attorneys to serve on the newly created D.C. Board of Ethics and Government Accountability, which emerged as part of legislative reforms intended to restore faith in city hall after a year of scandals and ongoing criminal probes by the U.S. Attorney's Office. Published June 5, 2012

D.C. Council Chairman Kwame R. Brown (second from left) chats with council member Mary Cheh, Ward 3 Democrat, as other lawmakers arrive for a meeting at the John A. Wilson Building in Washington on Tuesday, June 5, 2012, to discuss and vote on the fiscal 2013 budget. (Rod Lamkey Jr./The Washington Times)

D.C. Council unanimously approves $9.4B budget

D.C. Council Chairman Kwame R. Brown on Wednesday shepherded unanimous approval of the city's $9.4 billion fiscal 2013 budget hours before he was forced to address mounting questions about his political future amid a federal probe into the finances of his 2008 campaign. Published June 5, 2012

On the steps of the John A. Wilson Building on Monday, Arash Karimi of the District lets his views be known as D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray outlines the city's response to the federal Secure Communities program, which kicks in Tuesday. (Rod Lamkey Jr./The Washington Times)

D.C. prepares to walk fine line on deportations

D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray assured immigrant groups Monday that the city is doing all it can to make sure a program aimed at deporting violent aliens does not erode trust between residents and law enforcement after it goes into effect on Tuesday. Published June 4, 2012

Medical marijuana

Pot policies in California can't rely on D.C. program

A decision by Congress in 2009 to stop blocking the District's medical marijuana program should not be construed as federal permission to grow and use the drug, according to a recent legal opinion from California. Published June 3, 2012

Former D.C. Council member Harry Thomas Jr. makes his way to a waiting car after his sentencing at the E. Barrett Prettyman United States Courthouse in Washington, D.C., Thursday, May 3, 2012. (Rod Lamkey Jr/The Washington Times)

Judge sides with Thomas on restitution payments

A federal court judge sided with lawyers of former D.C. Council member Harry Thomas Jr. on Thursday by ordering the prison-bound Ward 5 resident to pay $353,000 in restitution to the District instead of a higher figure demanded by prosecutors. Published May 31, 2012

Washington, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray speaks at a news conference on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, May 29, 2012, to object to actions by House Republicans whom he and Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton say are targeting D.C.'s home-rule authority. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

D.C. will defend resident hiring law

Mayor Vincent C. Gray and D.C. officials are girding for a legal battle over a highly touted law that ensures city residents are hired to work on projects that receive public assistance from the District. Published May 31, 2012

Alexander Kinyua (Harford County Sheriff's Department)

Man tells officers he murdered, ate roommate

A 21-year-old Maryland man charged with murder told authorities he killed his roommate and then ate his heart and portions of his brain, according to court papers. Published May 31, 2012

D.C. Council member Michael A. Brown (The Washington Times)

Brown to introduce plan to repay furloughed employees

D.C. Council member Michael A. Brown will introduce a proposal on Tuesday that would compensate city workers for four furlough days it took in 2011, only to see the District gain a windfall of revenue by the end of the year. Published May 30, 2012

Mayor Vincent C. Gray and D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton will be on Capitol Hill on Tuesday to outline a network of 100 organizations pledged to protect the District's home rule during federal budget talks. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)

D.C. officials optimistic about getting budgetary independence

D.C. officials remain upbeat about their prospects for getting the right to spend local funds without prior approval from Congress, despite a lack of tangible progress on Capitol Hill more than a year after a powerful House member floated a plan to grant the city “budget autonomy.” Published May 29, 2012

**FILE** Sulaimon Brown (Rod Lamkey Jr./The Washington Times)

In Gray government, questions won't stop

Federal prosecutors provided answers last week to one of the most-pressing questions about D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray's 2010 primary campaign - whether or not staffers paid a minor opponent to stay in the race with the hope he would continue his verbal attacks on incumbent Mayor Adrian M. Fenty. Published May 28, 2012

Mayor Vincent C. Gray and D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton will be on Capitol Hill on Tuesday to outline a network of 100 organizations pledged to protect the District's home rule during federal budget talks. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)

Gray-Norton coalition fights federal meddling

D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray and the District's nonvoting member of Congress are touting a coalition that will serve as allies in the city's fight to stave off any interference from Capitol Hill in local affairs. Published May 27, 2012

Howard L. Brooks (right), an aide to D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray, makes his way to a waiting car after pleading guilty Thursday in federal court to lying about furtive campaign payments to candidate Sulaimon Brown before the 2010 Democratic primary for mayor. (Rod Lamkey Jr./The Washington Times)

Campaign payments nab 2nd Gray aide

A second aide to D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray's 2010 campaign pleaded guilty Thursday to lying about furtive payments he made to another candidate and in the process revealed that there were at least several thousand dollars in unattributed donations to the Gray team. Published May 24, 2012

D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray faced reporters' questions about an aide's indictment after a news conference about street improvements. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)

Second Gray aide charged in campaign probe

D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray implored city residents to "let this investigation play out" after a second operative from his 2010 campaign was criminally charged Wednesday with lying to FBI agents investigating whether the mayor's campaign illegally provided cash to another candidate. Published May 23, 2012

Rep. Darrell E. Issa (right) greets D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray (left) and D.C. Council Chairman Kwame R. Brown on Capitol Hill earlier this month. Mr. Gray is seeking authority to set the city's budget year and spend local funds without Congress' prior OK. (Rod Lamkey Jr./The Washington Times)

D.C.'s bid for increased autonomy unhurt by election cases

A formal admission that members of D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray's 2010 campaign team paid a minor candidate to bash incumbent Mayor Adrian M. Fenty — whether Mr. Gray knew it or not — has not upset the city's fragile relationship with Capitol Hill at this stage, an official said Wednesday. Published May 23, 2012

Following his attorney Frederick D. Cooke, Jr., (left) Thomas Gore, a campaign treasurer for Mayor Vincent C. Gray, makes his exit from the E. Barrett Prettyman Federal Courthouse after his plea hearing in the District on Tuesday, May 22, 2012. (Rod Lamkey Jr/The Washington Times)

Gray under cloud in campaign fraud case

Federal prosecutors dealt a major blow to D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray on Tuesday by validating high-profile claims by a minor 2010 candidate that Mr. Gray's campaign paid him to bash incumbent Mayor Adrian M. Fenty during the race. Published May 22, 2012

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

Campaign aide for Gray cuts plea deal

A senior member of D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray's campaign team in 2010 has been charged with destroying a spiral notebook that contained records of payments from the campaign to another mayoral candidate, according to court papers. Published May 21, 2012

** FILE ** D.C. Council member Marion Barry (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)

Barry treated for blood clot in Las Vegas

Council member Marion Barry took to the Internet to say he is doing well after sustaining a blood clot in his leg on the way to an international retail convention in Las Vegas. Published May 21, 2012