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

46-month sentence sought for former D.C. Council member

Federal prosecutors will ask a U.S. District Court judge to sentence former D.C. Council member Harry Thomas Jr. to nearly four years in prison for stealing from the city while he "publicly portrayed himself as a champion of underprivileged children" and eroded the city government's reputation in the process, according to court papers filed Friday. Published April 27, 2012

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

Barry won't apologize for comments on Asians, Filipino nurses

D.C. Council member Marion Barry struck an unyielding tone in defending himself Thursday against criticism over his contentious remarks about Asian-owned shops and the number of Filipino nurses in the District — comments that prompted one man to say he had rooted for the mayor-for-life for years, only to have his heart broken. Published April 26, 2012

"All I was after was making sure the District had its own Hatch Act," Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, D.C. Democrat, said Wednesday. "There's confusion as to how the law applies to D.C." (Rod Lamkey Jr./The Washington Times)

Norton urges Hatch Act change

The District's nonvoting member of Congress is hoping to divorce the city from aspects of a law that limits federal employees' political activities as the city gains traction in efforts to increase the distance between local affairs and controlling hands on Capitol Hill. Published April 25, 2012

Councilman Jim Graham tells the executive witness panel that they, too, should care about being able to show how their funding has a direct impact on those who receive it during a Budget Oversight Hearing on the Children and Youth Investment Trust Corporation, the organization former Councilman Harry Thomas is accused of funneling money through, on Monday, April 23, 2012 at the Wilson Building in Washington, D.C. After realizing that the panel of executive witnesses did not have specific information on the direct impact of their grants, Councilman Graham recessed their panel, asking that they come back in a week with more specifics. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)

Upheaval at Thomas trust needs explaining

A nonprofit organization that former D.C. Council member Harry Thomas Jr. used as a pass-through to steal public funds from 2007 to 2009 needs to tighten its books, find more private dollars to complement its public funding and explain the recent firing of its president and CEO, council member Jim Graham said Monday. Published April 23, 2012

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

D.C. Council member calls for health care overhaul

D.C. Council member David A. Catania put forth game-changing proposals Thursday intended to save money in the District's public health care framework — one to scrap the city's managed care system and another that requires many low-income patients to start paying monthly premiums for services "so that everyone is pulling the wagon." Published April 19, 2012

D.C. government website downed by hackers

City government websites in the District failed to load for hours on Thursday, the apparent victims of hackers who wanted to target government sites. Published April 19, 2012

D.C. Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson and Mayor Vincent C. Gray answer questions Wednesday about the five goals in their five-year plan to aggressively rebuild the District's public school system. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)

'Ambitious' goals in D.C. schools' five-year plan put focus on teaching

D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray and public schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson outlined an ambitious five-year plan Wednesday to improve student performance, increase graduation rates and fund pilot programs that could lengthen the school day or academic year at specified schools in the District. Published April 18, 2012

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

Repaying D.C. workers for unpaid furloughs debated

Mayor Vincent C. Gray on Wednesday declared his commitment to reimbursing city workers who took four unpaid furlough days last year, a plan that has been complicated by slippery dollar amounts and diverging priorities among city lawmakers. Published April 18, 2012

Budget add-ons diminish council's good will

D.C. Council members on Tuesday worried that friction with Mayor Vincent C. Gray is "escalating dramatically" because of contentious mid-year spending plans that are causing heartburn around city hall. Published April 17, 2012

Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, the District's nonvoting member of Congress, is joined by Mayor Vincent C. Gray as they march in the city's Emancipation Day parade Monday. The celebrated day in 1862 was about nine months before the historic Emanicpation Proclamation. (Rod Lamkey Jr./The Washington Times)

Hill weighs 'budget autonomy' for D.C.

Sen. Joe Lieberman plans to introduce legislation that would grant "budget autonomy" to the District, a key priority for Mayor Vincent C. Gray and other city leaders that would allow them to manage their fiscal year and local dollars without being tethered to congressional approval, a Senate committee aide said Monday. Published April 16, 2012

D.C. Council member Vincent B. Orange shakes hands with a supporter outside his campaign headquarters on South Dakota Avenue in Northeast D.C., on Friday, March 30, 2012. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)

Final results expected in Biddle-Orange D.C. Council race

Elections officials in the District are counting nearly 5,000 absentee and provisional ballots today to determine the final result of a hotly contested Democratic primary race on April 3 for at-large member of the D.C. Council. Published April 13, 2012

D.C. Council member Vincent B. Orange shakes hands with a supporter outside his campaign headquarters on South Dakota Avenue in Northeast D.C., on Friday, March 30, 2012. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)

Orange triumph wraps sweep for D.C. Council incumbents

Council member Vincent B. Orange has rounded out a full sweep by five Democratic incumbents in the D.C. primary elections, defeating challenger Sekou Biddle by more than 1,700 votes after special ballots were tallied Friday. Published April 13, 2012

D.C. Chief Financial Officer Natwar M. Gandhi

Sequestration a 'major issue' for D.C.

The District of Columbia is "very much worried" about cuts on Capitol Hill that could eliminate millions of dollars in revenue and spending capacity in the city, a potentially austere task as the D.C. government simultaneously learns to wean itself off one-time stimulus money it became accustomed to in recent years. Published April 12, 2012

Kenyan McDuffie (Photo provided by Kenyan McDuffie)

Separating from pack in Ward 5 race tough

A major labor union has endorsed Kenyan McDuffie for the Ward 5 seat on the D.C. Council ahead of the special election next month. It's a boon that could help separate his candidacy from a crowded field despite recent evidence that organized support does not guarantee victory. Published April 11, 2012

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

D.C. Mayor Gray announces plans for China junket in June

D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray on Tuesday announced he and a delegation of economic development officials will visit three cities in China in June to set up business contacts and tout foreign investment in the city's hot real estate market. Published April 11, 2012

Federal Communications Commission Chair Julius Genachowski said phone carrier databases will "all be able to talk to each other" as part of the law enforcement effort to effectively blacklist smartphones from use after they've been reported stolen. D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray (left) and Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier participated in the announcement of the strategy. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)

National initiative would disable stolen smartphones

D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray and police chiefs from the District, Philadelphia and New York City announced a nationwide strategy on Tuesday to make stolen smartphones "as worthless as an empty wallet." Published April 10, 2012

A D.C. poll worker tells a man from James O'Keefe's Project Veritas

D.C. elections board condemns Holder-inspired voter ID sting

The D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics on Tuesday condemned a hidden-camera stunt that shows a man inquiring about voting as U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. at a city polling precinct during the April 3 primary elections. Published April 10, 2012