- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 30, 2005

D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams yesterday said he welcomes both federal and internal reviews into accusations that the District routinely has misspent as much as $50 million a year on government contracts.

“I welcome the council’s hearings on this, and I welcome Congressman [Thomas M.] Davis looking at all this,” he said at his weekly press conference.

The mayor’s comments come on the heels of months of local broadcast and print reports on mismanagement of contracts in the District’s $8 billion budget — including dozens of stories in The Washington Times — that reached a head with the weekend publication of a multipart Washington Post probe into city finances.

The contract accusations might undermine the District’s reputation with Congress, which controls the city’s budget.

Mr. Davis, a Virginia Republican, already has asked the House Government Reform Committee, which he chairs, to investigate the District’s spending patterns.

Mr. Davis also has said that if the violations are true, they could set back efforts to give the District more independence.

D.C. Council Chairman Linda W. Cropp, at-large Democrat and a candidate for mayor, also has asked the D.C. auditor to review the contracting accusations.

“If we find that people have done something wrong, they need to be fired and/or prosecuted,” Mrs. Cropp told WRC-TV (Channel 4).

But Mr. Williams, a Democrat who has made his reputation on cleaning up D.C. government, called the Post stories “misleading” and “irresponsible.”

“We have a lot of checks and balances that we have put in place,” he said, noting that there always could be more scrutiny.

The mayor, who was once chief financial officer and is not running for a third term, has battled to rid the city of its control board.

“There is a big risk for the city,” he said. “It is not founded.”

This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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