D.C. Council Chief Orders Financial Disclosures
(Washington Post) — D.C. Council Chairman Kwame R. Brown has ordered the legislature’s members and employees to file internal financial disclosures for the first time, raising sharp objections from his colleagues. In a memo to council members circulated late Wednesday, Brown (D) said the new disclosures are intended “to avoid potential conflicts of interest and to ensure compliance with local and federal laws.” The reports will not be publicly available but will be used by council attorneys “to determine whether a subordinate has a financial conflict of interest” and to provide appropriate advice. “We want to make sure we’re doing all we can do to ensure we’re maintaining the highest ethical standards,” Brown said in an interview Friday. The new requirement follows a legal review by the council’s chief lawyer, V. David Zvenyach, that addressed a “lack of consistency in interpretation” of local and federal ethics laws as they apply to city legislators. It comes amid a broader effort on the council to address the city’s ethical strictures after a series of embarrassing controversies in city government.