- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 10, 2002

Several D.C. Council members yesterday criticized Mayor Anthony A. Williams' administration, calling it the most unethical in the history of home rule during a hearing yesterday on a recently released D.C. inspector general's report on fund raising in the mayor's office.
Council members called Mr. Williams' explanation that he was unaware of unethical fund raising in his office "inept" and "unbelievable." Then they grilled Inspector General Charles C. Maddox for issuing a report they said is "not user-friendly" and "raises more questions than it answers."
"Forty-thousand dollars earned and not reported during an election campaign, mayoral staffers campaigning for a hybrid school board, and now this [$1.5 million] raised without disclosure: This is not Marion Barry. This is Tony Williams," said council member Kevin P. Chavous, Ward 7 Democrat, citing Mr. Williams' ethical lapses.
Mr. Chavous, who is thought to be a likely challenger to the mayor's re-election effort, scoffed at Mr. Williams' apologies for the unethical behavior of his former staff members. "He said he's sorry," Mr. Chavous said. "He is sorry and so is this administration."
Council member Vincent B. Orange Sr., Ward 5 Democrat and chairman of the Committee on Government Matters, said he was not yet ready to hire a special prosecutor to investigate the mayor's office.
But after Mr. Maddox declined to answer questions about mayoral staffers who refused to testify, sought legal counsel before submitting to questioning or sought immunity from the U.S. attorney for the District, Mr. Orange told the inspector general that "you are making a case for a special prosecutor."
Mr. Maddox said he would not comment because any statements made could compromise the U.S. attorney's investigation.
The committee requested that Mr. Maddox probe the fund-raising charges against the mayor on Feb. 6, 2001. Mr. Williams later made his own request.
The probe stated that several of Mr. Williams' top aides improperly raised money for several mayoral events and in two cases pressured private businesses to give money.
Mr. Maddox's 13-month investigation found the mayor's former deputy chief of staff, Mark A. Jones, improperly, and perhaps illegally, raised more than $1.5 million over 2 years for such events as receptions at the Democratic and Republican conventions, and the Congressional Black Caucus Legislative Weekend (all in 2000), as well as the mayor's 2001 presidential-inaugural reception.
The Maddox report stated that potential criminal and administrative violations occurred and that nearly every member of the mayor's office was involved.
Certain D.C. government employees engaged in activities that violated the Standards of Conduct, and other D.C. and federal laws, including the Hatch Act, federal and D.C. tax laws, and campaign-finance laws, the report said.
Mr. Maddox forwarded the report to the Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. attorney for the District and other D.C. agencies to conduct their own investigations and to determine what criminal and administrative disciplinary actions, if any, should be taken.
Council members yesterday expressed their dissatisfaction with the report for the first time.
Mr. Orange and council member Carol Schwartz, at-large Republican, said they were disgusted that the council received no information showing where the funds solicited by the executive office came from or information explaining how the money was spent.
"I would like to have all of the financial records made available to us . When can we get them?" Mrs. Schwartz said.
Mr. Maddox said he would make all the financial records available by the weekend.
He defended the report and his office, saying that the council's assertion that the investigation cost $5 million is incorrect. "The cost of this investigation was less than a million dollars based on staff salaries, printing costs, and the costs of transcribing interviews with witnesses," he said.
Mr. Maddox said council wishes to spend the "taxpayers' money" on a special prosecutor would be a mistake. "All of the facts needed to move forward with criminal and administrative action is in this report," he said.

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