- The Washington Times - Monday, May 31, 2004

D.C. Council members earn at least $92,500 a year for their part-time legislative work, but more than one-third of the 13-member panel also take home tens of thousands dollars from jobs in the legal industry, financial disclosure filings show.

Two of the five council members who reported outside pay in 2003 — Jack Evans, Ward 2 Democrat, and Kevin P. Chavous, Ward 7 Democrat — earned more money from their work for law firms than they did from their elected offices, according to D.C. Office of Campaign Finance documents.

Last year, Mr. Chavous made $150,000 working as a lawyer at legal firm Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal, where he practices education and government law, according to the firm’s Web site (www.sonnenschein.com).

Mr. Chavous, who heads the council’s Committee on Education, Libraries and Recreation, reported earning a combined $141,000 from two D.C.-based law firms in 2002 — Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal and Arent Fox.

Though Mr. Chavous took home more outside income than any other council member in 2002, that distinction in 2003 belonged to Mr. Evans, according to council members’ disclosure filings for that year.

Mr. Evans reported earning $170,000 last year and $120,000 in 2002. He did not report the source of his income on his disclosure statement, but he is listed as a lawyer for the firm Patton Boggs, according to the company’s Web site (www.pattonboggs.com). The firm says Mr. Evans specializes in federal and state securities law.

Mr. Evans heads the D.C. Council’s Committee on Finance and Revenue.

Three other council members also earned outside pay from legal work last year, disclosure forms show.

David A. Catania, at-large Republican and chairman of the Committee on Public Services, earned $82,500 last year and in 2002 from the law firm Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, which specializes in corporate and government issues.

Harold E. Brazil, at-large Democrat and chairman of the Committee on Economic Development, earned $55,000 last year and $86,335 in 2002 from Harold Brazil and Associates, a personal-injury law firm he founded in 2001.

Vincent B. Orange Sr., Ward 5 Democrat and chairman of the Committee on Government Operations, reported making $10,000 last year and $2,000 in 2002 through his legal work. For 2001, he reported earning $78,342 from the National Children’s Center.

No other council members, including Chairman Linda W. Cropp, reported receiving outside income.

D.C. Council positions are considered part time except for the chairman position, which is full time and pays $10,000 less than the mayor’s salary. Last year, Mayor Anthony A. Williams, Democrat, earned $142,500.

There are no restrictions on how much money the 12 other members of council can earn from second jobs, though they must disclose their outside earnings to the D.C. Office of Campaign Finance each year on May 15.

The Washington Times last year reported that D.C. Council members are paid more than their counterparts in many of the nation’s largest cities, including New York.

However, Philadelphia and Seattle city council members have received raises to surpass the annual earnings of D.C. Council members, news reports say.

Mr. Williams, whose job is considered full time, reported no other outside income last year, according to his 2003 financial disclosure form.

He reported accepting numerous small donations, such as books and paperweights, through various ceremonial events he attended last year.

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