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D.C. Council Tackles Ethics Reform After Week of Scandals

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D.C. Council member Harry Thomas Jr., shown here at a press conference outside city hall in June, settled the lawsuit that claimed he misused $300,000 of taxpayer funds. Now some of his colleagues are calling for him to resign.
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D.C. Council member Harry Thomas Jr., shown here at a press conference outside city hall in June, settled the lawsuit that claimed he misused $300,000 of taxpayer funds. Now some of his colleagues are calling for him to resign.

Today's first public hearing on the Comprehensive Ethics Reform Act of 2011 comes on the heels of one of the most scandal-ridden weeks in memory.

Beginning with last Monday's news that Council member Harry Thomas Jr. was being sued for allegedly misusing hundreds of thousands of city dollars, and ending with the announcement late Friday that the Office of Campaign Finance would go after Council Chairman Kwame Brown for alleged campaign irregularities, it was one scandal after another at city hall.

The proposed measure would create an Office of Government Accountability to investigate issues relating to lobbying, conflicts of interest, financial disclosures and other ethical matters. The bill would require ethics training for city employees and tighten lobbying disclosure forms.

It would also make city council members report what clients they do business with in their private practices.

The hearing is scheduled for noon today at the Wilson Building.

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