Graham: Far from Over
2/28/2013, 11:48 a.m.
Ward 1 Council member Jim Graham received a reprimand from his colleagues on the D.C. Council last week. As a result, he was stripped of his authority to oversee the issuance of liquor licenses after it was discovered that he had improperly intervened in a D.C. Lottery contract dispute nearly four years ago.
The bomb that dropped on Graham had been hanging over his head for quite some time. District residents had become frustrated by Graham's apparent escape from justice, unlike his counterparts who include former Ward 5 Council member Harry Thomas and At-Large Council member Kwame Brown. Thomas is currently serving 38 months in prison for misusing city funds, and Brown has been sentenced to six months of house arrest for lying on a mortgage application.
Questions about Graham's judgment and involvement in this current debacle, coupled with concerns over another incident involving a payment received by his chief of staff, and whether or not Graham accepted [the money] as a "bribe" continues to circulate throughout the District.
The action the council has taken raises the respect of a collective community frustrated over the lapse in ethical decision making on the part of each council member, and it helps to improve the confidence District residents have for their city leaders.
However, there's reason to celebrate.
Voters have lost faith in their elected officials. Even the willingness by some to police others, comes too late to eliminate the damage done in part by Graham, and others. Without defending himself, Graham essentially said, that he's relieved that it's over but in fact, that's far from the truth. It's not over until voters decide. That day is quickly approaching.