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D.C. City Council Approves Ethics Legislation

WI Web Staff Report | 12/5/2011, 3:48 p.m.

The D.C. City Council has approved a sweeping ethics bill that was rewritten prior to being introduced by Ward 4 Council member Muriel Bowser.

The bill, which was approved Dec. 5 in a vote of 3-1, creates a board with the power to punish council members for violations, and for the first time, will disqualify mayors and council members convicted of felony offenses while in office. The legislation also extends the terms for members of the new Board of Ethics and Government Accountability to six years.

However, with the absence of Ward 5 Council member Harry Thomas from Monday's meeting that was convened by the Government Operations Committee (GOC), doubt was cast whether the legislation would have had enough support to leave the panel.

Thomas, a GOC member, had his home raided by federal agents on Dec., 2 as part of an ongoing investigation launched by the D.C. attorney general. The embattled councilman faces allegations that he diverted more than $300,000 in District funds for personal use.