Is D.C. Council Chairman Kwame Brown settling some political scores?
On Tuesday, the embattled council chairman made two major decisions that have left some here asking if he’s using committee assignments to get back at his political enemies and rivals.
Brown removed Council Member Tommy Wells as chair of the powerful Committee on Public Works and gave him Libraries and Recreation. Wells held hearings on Brown's SUV troubles and was sometimes critical of Brown.
in the council session Wells said he "objected" to the move which takes place six months into the new council session. Reporters asked Brown if his move was to punish Wells for his investigation into Brown's ordering two Navigator SUVs.
The issue became a scandal that caused Brown much embarrassment. Brown denied that was the reason, saying Wells had done "a good job."
He gave Well's Public Works Committee to Ward 3 Council Member Mary Cheh.
Secondly, Brown abolished the Committee on Economic Development, a longtime important committee in the D.C. Council and replaced it with a Small and Local Business Development Committee, which he gave to Councilmember Vincent Orange. It’s a watered-down version of the original and viewed by some as Brown's refusal to give his political adversary Orange the full committee.
Orange ran against Brown for council chairman and lost, but then took on Brown's hand-picked successor for Brown's at-large seat and defeated that man, Sekou Biddle.
Brown's changes have to be ratified by the rest of the council. But it seems unlikely he would have made the moves without the votes.
Last week, the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics ruled Thursday that Brown's re-election committee was in "apparent violation" of D.C.'s campaign laws and referred the matter to the U.S. Attorney.
In February, Brown came under fire after The Washington Post reported that Brown demanded the city provide him with a "fully loaded" Lincoln Navigator at a cost of $1,900 a month.