In a letter on Thursday, DC Council Chairman Kwame Brown expostulate D.C. Councilman Marion Barry using government materials to deliver a political attack on a campaign opponent.
Barry’s office sent out an email blast attacking Ward 8 Council candidate Natalie Williams; an individual who was once his spokesperson.
Lawrence P., a Ward 8 resident, commented via email, “Barry hasn’t done anything wrong in my book.”
“Councilman Barry’s been around the block,” says Wendy Clemens, “he knows exactly what he’s doing, and should be ashamed of himself.”
NewsChannel 8‘s Bruce DePuyt writes,
Barry’s press release criticized Williams, his former spokeswoman, for her opposition to a proposed shelter for homeless women. As recently as September, Barry backed Williams’s candidacy to become president of the Ward 8 Democrats, according to City Paper. Now he claims she knows little about the ward because she hasn’t lived there long, and he chides her knowledge of municipal affairs, saying “Ms. Williams apparently does not know city law which allows the transition house to be on Good Hope Road as a matter of right.”
The Washington Post’s Mike DeBonis writes,
The rebuke comes after Barry’s chief of staff, Joyce Clements-Smith, issued a news release on Wednesday denouncing campaign opponent Natalie Williams as “off-point and misguided” for protesting a planned women’s shelter in Anacostia. The release was sent using Clements-Smith’s official council account and included personal attacks on Williams, who once served as Barry’s spokeswoman.
”I am positive that the residents of Ward 8 will see Natalie Williams for what she is,” the release said, among other things. Using government resources for political activities is barred by the Council’s code of conduct, not to mention D.C. and federal law.
The D.C. Republican Chairman Bob Kabel wanted Chairman Brown to do something about it. “Brown needs to speak up if he intends to lead his colleagues on the Council,” Kabel said, speaking in response to the City Council’s push for stronger ethics of it’s members and the new ethics bills.
In Brown’s letter to Barry, he notes that “Under the Council’s Code of Official Conduct employees are prohibited from using government resources to support or oppose any candidate for elected office.'”a “potential violation of the Council’s Code of Official Conduct” may have taken place, and he warns Barry to “please refrain from any conduct, or appearance thereof, that may violate” the applicable rules of conduct.
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