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D.C. Council Votes To Reprimand Jim Graham

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D.C. Council member Jim Graham maintains that he didn't break the law and is pushing back against sanctions.
Jared Angle
D.C. Council member Jim Graham maintains that he didn't break the law and is pushing back against sanctions.

The D.C. Council has voted to reprimand Ward 1 Council member Jim Graham for his role in a lottery contract scandal. The city's Board of Ethics recently found that Graham had violated D.C.'s code of conduct during a 2008 contracting matter.

The 13-member council voted 11-2 on a resolution disapproving of Graham's conduct involving the contract. Graham and Council member Marion Barry voted against the resolution.

Multiple investigations have found that in 2008, Graham told a developer that he would support his bid for the lottery contract in exchange for the developer dropping out of a project around a Metro station. Graham served on the Metro board at the time. He disputes the findings.

Graham and his lawyers say while the council member may have practiced "sharp-elbowed politics or horse-trading," he didn't break the law or try to benefit himself financially.

But Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, who introduced the proposal to reprimand Graham, as well as strip him of oversight over the city's alcohol board, says Graham's conduct has hurt the public's confidence in the D.C. government.

A reprimand is the least serious action the council can take against a member. It must be approved by a simple majority and carries no punishment. Barry was censured in 2010, which is more serious.

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