WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

Proposed Ethics Overhaul For D.C. Government Faces Criticism

Play associated audio
A D.C. Council Committee held a hearing on new legislation that would overhaul the D.C. government's ethics rules.
A D.C. Council Committee held a hearing on new legislation that would overhaul the D.C. government's ethics rules.

Witnesses at Monday's hearing on the legislation praised the effort and intent, but said the bill falls short on several counts. D.C. Attorney General Irv Nathan said the creation of an Office of Government Accountability, a key feature of the legislation, would add another layer of bureaucracy and make enforcing ethics violations that much tougher.

Instead, he proposed expanding the subpoena power of his office. And Nathan, a former general counsel for the House of Representatives, recommended the council follow the lead of Congress.

"The council, in light of numerous and current and publicly chronicled investigations, should consider, as the houses of Congress did, creating its own ethics committee, with oversight over members and staff," says Nathan.

Another witness, local activist Dorothy Brizill, called the proposed legislation a "toothless, piecemeal" approach.

Council member Mary Cheh, who chairs the committee overseeing the ethics overhaul, says the hearing is a first step, and she expects changes to the legislation. She says the bill will not face a full vote until after the council breaks for recess.


A Star-Crossed 'Scientific Fact': The Story Of Vulcan, Planet That Never Was

For decades, astronomers believed there was another planet in our solar system, tucked just out of sight. Then Albert Einstein figured out it wasn't there. Author Thomas Levenson explains.

Internet Food Culture Gives Rise To New 'Eatymology'

Internet food culture has brought us new words for nearly every gastronomical condition. The author of "Eatymology," parodist Josh Friedland, discusses "brogurt" with NPR's Rachel Martin.

2 Degrees In Paris: The Global Warming Set To Dominate Climate Conversation

As world leaders gather in Paris to talk about climate change, one phrase that will dominate conversations is "two degrees." Global leaders will discuss how to prevent global temperatures from warming by more than two degrees since the industrial revolution.

Payoffs For Prediction: Could Markets Help Identify Terrorism Risk?

In a terror prediction market, people would bet real money on the likelihood of attacks. NPR's Scott Simon speaks with Stephen Carter about whether such a market could predict — and deter — attacks.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.