On Monday, February 25, the DC Council voted to strip Councilmember Jim Graham (D-Ward 1) of his oversight of the Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Board. The measure was first proposed by Council Chairman Phil Mendelson on February 21.
The 13-member council voted 11-2, with Graham and Councilmember Marion Barry (D-Ward 8) voting against the resolution. The bulk of the U Street corridor and neighborhood are in Ward 1, along with Columbia Heights, Adams Morgan, Mount Pleasant and Howard University.
Immediately after the vote, Graham released the following statement:
“It is time to move on. I have very important responsibilities as chairman of the human services committee and all the responsibility of representing Ward 1. Going forward, I will continue to represent the people who elected me to serve with the same passion and fervor as I have from my first day in office.”
The public reprimand comes after the Board of Ethics and Government Accountability found “substantial” evidence that Graham broke the code of conduct in a lottery contract bid.
A tweet from Bruce DePuyt (@News8NewsTalk) quotes Barry saying, “We all trade votes. I’ve done it. I’m arguing due process. He’s had no opportunity to defend himself.”
“This is a somber moment and a sad one, of course, because there is no joy in what we were asked to do today,” said Councilmember Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3) in a statement. “But, it is an obligation that falls to us and that we were and are duty-bound to discharge. Put very simply, we must keep and preserve that most delicate of commodities: public confidence.”
A reprimand is the least serious action the council can take against a member. It must be approved by a simple majority and carries no punishment. Barry was censured in 2010, which is more serious, WTOP reports.