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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.

Charles J. Willoughby

Audit cites ex-D.C. Council member in ticket-fixing scheme

The D.C. office of the inspector general says a former council member tried to get 10 traffic tickets voided last year by leveraging a law that exempts legislators from parking rules while on official business -- a common political perk that has led to confusion and abuse across the country. Published November 21, 2012

Decision upheld keeping Wilson out of Turkey Bowl

The D.C. State Athletic Association on Tuesday upheld a decision to bar Woodrow Wilson High School's football team from the Turkey Bowl on Thursday for using an ineligible player in the run-up to the public school system's championship game, citing evidence the student used Metro to commute to school from Maryland and held a driver's license from the Old Line State. Published November 20, 2012

Committee on Government Operations Chairman Muriel Bowser, Ward 4 Democrat, asks a question of D.C. Attorney General Irvin B. Nathan on ways to improve campaign finance rules during a meeting Tuesday with other D.C. Council members. (Rod Lamkey Jr./The Washington Times)

Crafting D.C. ethics bill proving difficult

When D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson got up Tuesday to leave a meeting on campaign finance reform with city Attorney General Irvin B. Nathan, colleagues at the conference table joked he was running out to raise money before the proposed legislation kicks in. Published November 20, 2012

Residency fraud still plagues D.C. schools

D.C. Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson stood before a room of high school athletes in a swanky Verizon Center dining room Monday and reminded them of their hard work, good grades and effort to "do what was good and right" in the run-up to their showdown in the annual Turkey Bowl. Published November 19, 2012

D.C. Council test drives sedan service rules

D.C. lawmakers gave preliminary approval to a billthat limits taxi regulators' authority over sedan-on-demand companies as long as drivers are transparent about their fares and follow some consumer-protection rules, making the nation's capital the latest American city to tackle 21st-century services that allow passengers to order up a ride with a few keystrokes on their smartphone. Published November 15, 2012

D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson (Craig Bisacre/The Washington Times)

D.C. mandate to report child sex abuse moves ahead

The D.C. Council gave preliminary approval Thursday to a bill that mandates "universal reporting" of sex abuse against children, making the District the latest jurisdiction to re-examine its laws in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal at Penn State University. Published November 15, 2012

Former D.C. Council Chairman Kwame Brown leaves federal court in Washington on Tuesday after being sentenced to one day in custody and six months of home detention for lying on loan applications. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)

D.C. Mayor Gray seeks to move on after probes

U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. followed a public shaming of the former D.C. Council chairman this week with a vow to "ensure public trust" — a pledge sure to be tested as he resolves his probe into Mayor Vincent C. Gray's 2010 campaign, the last in a trio of investigations that blazed a path this year from city hall to the federal courthouse. Published November 14, 2012

Former D.C. Council Chairman Kwame Brown is released from federal court after being sentenced to one day in custody and six months of home detention for lying on loan applications, Washington, D.C., Tuesday, November 13, 2012. Brown was also found guilty on a misdemeanor campaign finance violation in Superior Court Judge earlier in the day but will not face jail time on that charge as long as he stays out of trouble. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)

Brown sentenced to a day of custody, 6 months home detention

A federal judge on Tuesday sentenced former D.C. Council Chairman Kwame R. Brown to an afternoon in custody for lying on loan documents, making him the second city lawmaker to lose his liberty in front of the public he was elected to serve. Published November 13, 2012

D.C. flag AWOL at military ceremony

D.C. residents Tomi Rucker and Michael Boyd beamed with pride as their son walked out for his basic-training commencement from the Great Lakes Naval Station in Illinois. Published November 12, 2012

Former Rep. Thomas M. Davis III, Virginia Republican

Referendum approach to D.C. budget autonomy hailed

The District's plan to pursue financial freedom from Congress through an amendment to the D.C. charter is being hailed after the prospect of budget autonomy has seemingly gone nowhere in the 18 months since it was proposed by a prominent congressional Republican. Published November 11, 2012

D.C. on its way to health care compliance

President Obama's re-election on Tuesday smoothed the way for states to implement his signature health-care reforms, a challenge the District took on with vigor while other states waited to see if Republican opponent Mitt Romney could deliver on a promise to unravel the controversial law. Published November 8, 2012

At large D.C. Council Member, Michael Brown, middle, greets voters outside of precinct 110 polling site in Washington, D.C., to cast their vote, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012 (Craig Bisacre/The Washington Times)

Grosso’s victory suggests an affinity for progressives

Stacks of pizza sat untouched, the salad bowls kept their plastic lids and roughly a dozen red-shirted volunteers sat in a circle Tuesday night, gazing at a lone television in search of pleasant news inside their small campaign office on Florida Avenue Northwest. Published November 7, 2012

David Grosso (left), running for an at-large D.C. Council seat, greets a voter at a Precinct 33 polling site Tuesday. The Democrat was given the best chance for an upset. Incumbent at-large D.C. Council member Michael A. Brown (below), a Democrat, makes a last campaign pitch to voters outside a Precinct 110 polling site Tuesday. There were five challengers for his and another at-large seat.

Grosso upsets incumbent Brown in D.C. Council bid

Upstart challenger David Grosso, a relatively unknown former D.C. Council staffer who started campaigning a year ago, unseated incumbent Michael A. Brown on Tuesday for an at-large seat in the only significant upset in the city's elections. Published November 6, 2012

Washington residents take advantage of early voting at Judiciary Square in Washington on Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2012. According to voter site officials, some 2,400 voters had voted here since Monday, when the voting opened. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)

Long lines expected at local polls despite early voting

Officials in the D.C. region predict heavy turnout at the polls despite the long lines that marked pre-Election Day voting, as campaigns urge citizens to flock to the ballot box on Tuesday to decide a deadlocked presidential race, heated local contests and controversial ballot questions. Published November 5, 2012

D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson (Craig Bisacre/The Washington Times)

Ethics issue looms over D.C. campaigns

Voters in the District will decide Tuesday whether to reshape the D.C. Council in election contests that serve as a referendum on the makeup of a body that has faced a steady trickle of ethical problems in the past two years. Published November 4, 2012

Mayor Vincent Gray was joined by Metropolitan Police Department Chief Cathy Lanier and other public safety officials on Friday, Nov. 2, 2012 at the Wilson Building in Washington, D.C. to announce changes to improve both safety and fairness in the photo enforcement violations for traffic cameras in the city. The new program, which goes into effect on Monday, will include the following changes: Violators caught speeding up to 10 mph over the limit will be fined $50 instead of $75; violations from 11 to 15 mph over the limit will be fined at $100 instead of $125; and violations of more than 25 mph over the limit will increase from $250 to $300. The mayor said that the revenue raised from these fines will go towards hiring 100 new police officers in 2013. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)

Gray lowers some D.C. speed camera fines

D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray on Friday lowered the fines for all but the most egregious speeders who are nabbed by traffic cameras in the District, pledging to use higher-than-anticipated revenues from the automated enforcement program to hire 100 new police officers. Published November 2, 2012