- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 16, 2019

The ethics problems of D.C. Council member Jack Evans expanded Tuesday as two top Republicans on the House Oversight and Reform Committee said they were requesting documents related to the probe into his activities.

Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, the ranking Republican on the powerful committee, and North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows, the ranking Republican on the Oversight panel’s Government Operations subcommittee, sent a letter Tuesday to Paul Smedburg, chairman of the board of director at the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), requesting all “documents and communications” related to the Evans ethics investigation conducted for the Metro board and released last month.

Mr. Evans, Ward 2 Democrat and the longest-serving member of the city council, has been at the center of an ethics scandal for allegedly using his position as the Metro board chairman and a D.C. Council member to benefit the clients of his consulting firm.

The Metro board faced criticism for the lack of transparency with its investigation and failure to document the proceedings. Mr. Jordan and Mr. Meadows cited what they said were unexplained discrepancies in how the WMATA board dealt with reports of Mr. Evans‘ ethical lapses.

“WMATA officials have said that a report documenting the probe and the evidence collected ‘does not exist’,” wrote the congressmen in the letter obtained from the House Oversight Committee. “The apparent lack of documentation about the investigation raises questions about whether this effort was a genuine one, or simply a whitewash.”

Mr. Jordan and Mr. Meadow asked that the information be provided no later than 5 p.m. on July 30. The lawmakers sent a copy of their letter to committee Chairman Elijah E. Cummings, Maryland Democrat.

Hill staffers said the letter was significant in that it was the first sign Congress was involving itself in the controversy swirling around Mr. Evans. The GOP lawmakers noted that the Oversight Committee has jurisdiction over WMATA because it operates under an intergovernmental compact between Maryland, Virginia and the District and also has oversight responsibilities for the District of Columbia itself.

The law firm that was hired to conduct the investigation found Mr. Evans had committed several ethics violations. But the Metro board ethics committee found Mr. Evans in violation of just one ethics rule — failure to disclose his business relationship with Colonial Parking.

The D.C. Council last week voted to strip Mr. Evans of his chairmanship of the finance and revenue committee and also to initiate an investigation of its own into whether Mr. Evans‘ used his position for personal gain.

In the last several weeks, Mr. Evans home was raided by the FBI, he resigned from the Metro board and an effort to recall him is underway.

Mr. Evans has not responded to request for comment.

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