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Ethics Task Force Rejected By D.C. Council

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D.C. Council members voted down Council member Vincent Orange's ethics reform bill by a vote of 12-1 Oct. 4.
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D.C. Council members voted down Council member Vincent Orange's ethics reform bill by a vote of 12-1 Oct. 4.

D.C. Council member Vincent Orange’s move to declare an "ethics emergency" at the city council was met with stiff resistance yesterday. The measure was shot down in a 12-1 vote as colleagues accused Orange of playing politics.  

It’s been a scandal-plagued year at the Wilson Building, and as a result, the city's lawmakers have introduced no less than 10 ethics reform measures. But Orange’s proposal to create an emergency ethics task force and, in effect, bypass the effort already underway to craft a reform package, seemed to tick off just about everyone else on the council during a hearing on the legislation. 

Orange's proposal also drew attention last month because it included substantial pay raises for D.C. Council members, in exchange for members giving up their side jobs or businesses.

Council member Muriel Bowser told Orange to separate himself from the campaign trail for, in her words, "just half a second." Bowser is in charge of crafting the ethics package and says the council needs to be deliberative and comprehensive.

"We must resist the temptation to throw something up on the wall and hope it sticks," she said. Other members urged Orange to pull the measure, so that they wouldn't have to vote 'no' on anything ethics-related.  

But Orange not only pressed ahead, he asked for a roll-call vote, so each council member’s vote would be recorded individually.

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