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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.

**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


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

D.C. Council Chairman Kwame R. Brown (T.J. Kirkpatrick/The Washington Times)

D.C. Council Chairman Brown ordered to turn over records

Federal prosecutors ordered D.C. Council Chairman Kwame R. Brown to turn over campaign records on Thursday, adding to the list of city lawmakers who have been linked to an investigation of one of the District's most prolific campaign contributors. Published March 15, 2012

Ward 2 D.C. Council member Jack Evans is one of several city lawmakers who have said their campaigns received subpoenas for records in a campaign-finance probe. Federal prosecutors are asking various D.C. officials for any records related to Jeffrey E. Thompson, his affiliates and their contributions to D.C. political campaigns since 2003. (The Washington Times)

Subpoenaed D.C. Council members to comply in Thompson investigation

The District's political scene was abuzz when federal agents raided the home and offices one of the city's most prolific campaign donors about two weeks ago. But when the feds came looking for answers from elected officials' campaign teams, things got messy around city hall. Published March 14, 2012

Records subpoenaed in D.C. campaign donor probe

Federal prosecutors are reportedly asking several D.C. government officials for all records related to Jeffrey E. Thompson, his companies and his associates as part of a probe into campaign-finance issues emanating from the prolific donor, who holds a lucrative managed-care contract in the District worth more than $300 million per year. Published March 13, 2012

Marion Barry

Atypical fundraising keys Barry campaign

Marion Barry's re-election bid to his D.C. Council seat from Ward 8 has attracted almost 150 campaign donations since Feb. 1, yet fewer than 10 of them came from regular folks in his ward. Published March 13, 2012

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

Unopposed Evans boasts big re-election stash of cash

Campaign-finance reports tied to D.C. Council seats up for grabs this year show candidates with widely divergent amounts of cash to play with in the homestretch to the April 3 primary elections. Published March 12, 2012

A poster hanging on the wall in the D.C. Superior Court building in Washington, D.C. shows "Black Women Paving the Way to Greatness in Politics." It curiously includes Ms. Davis. (The Washington Times)

Davis' portrait not endorsement of her views, D.C. court says

The D.C. Superior Court says a courthouse display on influential black women included Angela Davis for her "contributions to the political debate" and should not be viewed as an endorsement of her views or as a statement on accusations she was involved in a California kidnapping 40 years ago. Published March 12, 2012