D.C. can do better than Jack Evans


Former D.C council member Jack Evans speaking at the D.C Council chambers in 2017. Earlier this year, he was accused of ethical violations that led to him stepping down before being fully prosecuted (Photo via Wikimedia Commons).

Alex Schwartz, Staff Reporter

In our nation’s capital, scandals and political comebacks shouldn’t mix any more than they already do.

Former city council member Jack Evans nearly made history for being the first D.C council member to be removed from office. At the start of this year, Evans was met with multiple allegations that he used his public positions as a chairman of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority board to benefit private consultants who paid him thousands of dollars beforehand. Evans promptly resigned from the D.C council on January 17.

However, despite his colleagues threatening to press ethical violation charges and the FBI investigating his private clients, Evans has initiated what looks like a political comeback. He was seen marching alongside elected officials, to the disapproval of D.C Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, as they commemorated the Year of the Rat in Chinatown. The former Chairman has even publicly stated his intentions to run for his former seat in the next D.C. council election, ignoring his near-expulsion for ethical violations. 

Of course, these allegations could be false, but as Evans resigned so as not to be expelled from the D.C council, it looks rather suspicious. Evans should not be able to dodge the consequences of his violations by stepping down for a short time only to regain his position. If politicians are able to abuse their power without consequences, then they will continue to cheapen political ethics. 

Perhaps Jack Evans is currently facing the “dirty hands dilemma,” coined by American political theorist, Michael Malzer; essentially, he is willing to break certain aspects of moral codes, but for a good reason. However, even this justification to continue to serve as a government official falls flat. The “dirty hands dilemma” was also used by Nixon in the Watergate scandal to justify secretly taking bribes.

Obviously, if Evans is found guilty, he should not be able to run again, but the bigger problem is his blatant disregard of the fact that he is currently under investigation by the FBI. Evans should not even be considered as a candidate for the D.C council board until his innocence is proven.  As citizens, we owe it to ourselves to actively oppose Evans because he has allowed money to rule his decision making. Also, an open message to Mason student voters, use your vote wisely and understand that corrupt politicians, no matter how pushy they are, do not deserve second chances.