Friday, February 08, 2013

WaPo: Corrupt Gay Councilman Graham Must Resign

Jim Graham, pictured, once was employed as the executive director of the Whitman-Walker Clinic, a multi-service HIV/AIDS agency. According to his Wikipedia entry, he served in that capacity from 1984 through 1999, before winning a seat on Washington's City Council.

He's been under investigation for a number of corruption allegations by a good government advisory body, which found him in violation of the public trust. Today, the Washington Post ran an editorial calling on him to resign:

“We find there to be sufficient evidence to conclude that Councilmember Graham committed one or more violations of the District of Columbia Code of Conduct . . . .” So wrote the D.C. ethics board Thursday, finding that Jim Graham (D-Ward 1) violated basic standards of how public officials are supposed to behave in the public’s interest.

The conclusion of the D.C. Board of Ethics and Government Accountability resulted from its preliminary inquiry into Mr. Graham’s conduct in 2008 in considering public contracts while on the council and as the city’s representative to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. Mr. Graham, the board wrote in a devastating 27-page memorandum, “abandoned his impartiality and demonstrated inappropriate preferential treatment” in offering to support a bidder for the city’s lottery contract if the bidder would drop out of a separate Metro development project . . .

The ethics board found “substantial reason to believe” that Mr. Graham violated “at least” three sections of the D.C. Code of Conduct: “giving preferential treatment to any person,” “losing complete independence or impartiality” and “affecting adversely the confidence of the public in the integrity of government.” The best way to begin restoring that confidence would be for Mr. Graham to resign.

I knew Graham back when I resided in Washington, and I've followed his political career over the years, and it would shock me if he followed the Post's advice and gave up his seat. Like any corrupt politician, gay or straight, he'll fight hard to retain his office.

Let's hope he faces a serious challenger or two when next up for reelection.

(Hat tip: Wayne Turner.)

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