DC Council tackles ethics reform after week of scandals

NBC Washington

With nearly the half the members of the D.C. Council facing questions about their ethical behavior, legislation to overhaul how the city government polices itself takes an important step forward today.

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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