Scandals Are Taking D.C. Back to the Bad Old Days, Some Say

June 8, 2011  |  

(Washington Post) — A fringe mayoral candidate says at a D.C. Council hearing that “the mayor is a crook.” The city’s attorney general accuses council member Harry Thomas Jr. of spending more than $300,000 of public money on a luxury vehicle and personal travel. The new council chairman, Kwame R. Brown, is embarrassed into giving up the fancy sport-utility vehiclethat the city ordered to his specifications. The new mayor, Vincent C. Gray, gets rid of his chief of staff after reports that several children of top officials were given city jobs.  What does it mean that at least five members of the D.C. Council and the mayor are spending a good chunk of their time trying to fend off accusations of wrongdoing?  For now, say city officials and academics who study the District, it means that the new administration has been unable to communicate its vision or agenda. At a news conference Tuesday, Gray, who has yet to appoint a chief of staff to replace the one he sacked, tried to reject all questions about the scandals. But that was virtually the only topic reporters asked about.

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