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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 public-private trust at the center of former D.C. Council member Harry Thomas Jr.'s theft scandal gave more than $100,000 to groups not registered as nonprofits and others not in city records. (The Washington Times)

'Substantial questions' await Thomas trust

A public-private nonprofit that played a pivotal role in former D.C. Council member Harry Thomas Jr.'s theft of more than $350,000 from the city is expected to face tough questions from the council Monday. Published February 26, 2012

**FILE** D.C. Council member Phil Mendelson (Drew Angerer/The Washington Times)

D.C. truancy report's absence raises ire

A D.C. Council member says the city's public school system violated the law by failing to submit an annual report on truancy, an urgent problem among city youth that has led to stricter monitoring and awareness campaigns across the District. Published February 23, 2012

The Washington Monument, seen through barricades on the Mall, remains closed since August's earthquake. Design for repairs should last into midspring, when bidding will begin. Work will be paid with $15 million in federal and private funding.

D.C. still years, millions away from fixing quake damage

Six months after a magnitude 5.8 earthquake stunned the nation's capital, the Washington Monument is still closed and awaiting $15 million in repairs, the D.C. government is looking for a federal reimbursement for its hodgepodge of damage and the Washington National Cathedral needs $18 million for major restoration efforts that could take up to five years. Published February 22, 2012

** FILE ** Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

McDonnell backs D.C. budget autonomy

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell has thrown his support behind a proposal to allow the District to spend its local funds without tying the process to congressional budget bills, citing the risk of disruptions to services in the nation's capital in the event of a federal government shutdown. Published February 22, 2012

Marion Barry

D.C. Council tightens behavior rules after Marion Barry dustup

The D.C. Council passed a measure Tuesday that expands its self-imposed ban on profane or abusive language to any public meeting attended by members, a swift response to a blowup between two members at the council's retreat on Valentine's Day. Published February 21, 2012

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

'Shared riding' in D.C. cabs set for Nationals Park

Baseball fans who would rather see pitcher Drew Storen close out a win for the Washington Nationals than beat the final-inning rush from the stadium will notice a major change to one of their postgame transit options this season. Published February 20, 2012

Capitol Police officer Angel Morales stands on guard Feb. 17, 2012, on the west side of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, after a 29-year-old Moroccan man was arrested in an FBI sting operation near the Capitol while planning to detonate what police say he thought were live explosives. (Associated Press)

Terror suspect arrested near U.S. Capitol

A 29-year-old Moroccan man was arrested Friday on accusations he planned to detonate a suicide bomb in the U.S. Capitol before undercover agents thwarted him through a lengthy sting operation, the Department of Justice said. Published February 17, 2012

D.C Council Chairman Kwame R. Brown. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)

Education bills get mixed reviews from D.C. schools officials

A long line of witnesses testified Thursday in favor of legislation that requires D.C. high school students to take college entrance exams and apply to at least one college. Yet the city's charter school board feels the measure amounts to "overreaching" and the traditional public schools system could not offer unqualified support for the bill. Published February 16, 2012

Denny Jones (left) flanked by D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray (right) as he offers remarks regarding the settlement of the lengthy Dixon v. Gray case over the District's mental health system, in the John A. Wilson Building in the District on Thursday, February 16, 2012. (Rod Lamkey Jr/ The Washington Times)

Long-running D.C. mental health case settled

D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray announced Thursday the "historic" settlement of 37-year-old litigation brought by mental health patients who decried the District's lack of non-institutional treatment settings. Published February 16, 2012

A public-private trust at the center of former D.C. Council member Harry Thomas Jr.'s theft scandal gave more than $100,000 to groups not registered as nonprofits and others not in city records. (The Washington Times)

GOP's Day among dozens filing for Thomas' open seat

A Republican who blew the whistle on former D.C. Council member Harry Thomas Jr.'s surreptitious habit of stealing from the city is among those who filed petitions to appear on the ballot in the special election to replace the disgraced ex-legislator from Ward 5. Published February 15, 2012

D.C. bill would assess third-graders' readiness to advance

A D.C. Council committee is vetting a bill Thursday that ensures third-graders are ready for fourth grade, a reflection of efforts across the country to gauge academic progress in the early years of children's education. Published February 15, 2012

D.C. Council member Phil Mendelson (The Washington Times)

Mendelson: Occupiers not target of D.C. crime bill language on protests

A crime bill that asks the D.C. Council to tighten up a mix of public safety laws includes provisions that strike at the heart of public demonstrations — a frequent and common practice in the nation's capital taken to new levels during the Occupy D.C. protest. Published February 14, 2012

Despite city's growth, D.C. school enrollment falls

An audit released Monday shows enrollment in the District's traditional public schools decreased slightly from 2010 to 2011, despite significant population growth in the city. Published February 13, 2012

D.C. Council member Michael Brown

Online-gambling bill's future uncertain

D.C. Council member Michael A. Brown is repeatedly warning that repealing the District's online-gambling law will put the city in a bind if Congress decides to legalize and regulate Internet gaming, clearing the way for "casino interests" from Nevada and elsewhere across the country to hit the jackpot in a burgeoning market. Published February 12, 2012

Former DYRS ward sentenced for killing honor student

A 20-year-old D.C. man was sentenced to 60 years in prison on Friday for killing a 17-year-old honor roll student who was walking back to his Northeast home with a friend last year after a brief jaunt for cigarettes. Published February 10, 2012

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif ., right, talks with Washington D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray, left, and City Council Chairman Kwame Brown, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, May 12, 2011, prior to the start of a House Health Care, DC, Census, and the National Archives subcommittee hearing on the city's budget.  (AP Photo/Harry Hamburg)

Obama budget to support D.C. spending autonomy

The Obama administration supports legislation that would allow the District to spend its local funds without waiting for Congress to approve its own spending priorities, according to the office of Mayor Vincent C. Gray. Published February 10, 2012

Park Service to replace quote on MLK Memorial

The National Park Service announced on Friday it will correct a paraphrased "drum major" quote etched into the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial to "more accurately reflect" King's words. Published February 10, 2012

** FILE ** D.C. Attorney General Irvin B. Nathan (Pratik Shah/The Washington Times)

D.C. fires city workers for unemployment fraud

The D.C. government has begun firing city workers identified in a probe that found rampant abuse of unemployment benefits by employees in most of the city's agencies, officials said Wednesday. Published February 8, 2012