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D.C. Council Reprimands Graham

2/26/2013, 12:30 p.m.

The D.C. Council voted overwhelmingly Monday to reprimand Ward 1 member Jim Graham for his intervention in the city's lottery contract process.

In the unusual action, the council voted 11-2 in favor of the reprimand, with Graham and Councilman Marion Barry casting the only opposing votes. Graham was also stripped of his oversight of alcoholic beverage regulation, which he called an unfair extra punishment. Graham said the reprimand has nothing to do with his oversight of alcohol.

But Council member Tommy Wells strongly disagreed, and was quoted as saying "this action really may not go far enough . . . The idea that we can pick and choose the winners and losers of who gets contracts and who doesn't" foments a pay-to-play political atmosphere."

CBS/DC reported that investigations found that Graham, one of the council's longest serving members, tried to barter with bidders for the city's $38 million lottery contract, and had tried to use the contracting process to advance his political agenda.

The investigations also revealed that in 2008, Graham -- who at the time served on the Metro board -- told a developer that he would support his bid for the lottery contract in exchange for the developer dropping out of a project around a Metro station.

The council's decision marked the second time in the governing body's 38-year history that a resolution has been adopted criticizing the actions of one of its members.

(Source: CBS/DC)