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Posted at 7:00 AM ET, 06/ 4/2010

Accusations of horsetrading in chairman's race center on Barry

By Ann Marimow
Ann Marimow

It didn't take long for the mud to fly in the council chairman's race . In this case, like so many in the District, the controversy centers on council member Marion Barry (D-Ward 8).

Former council member Vincent Orange this week accused his rival, council member Kwame Brown (D-At Large), of trading a prominent committee chairmanship for an endorsement. Orange said late Thursday that he'd heard rumors for weeks that Brown had promised Barry the Economic Development Committee post in exchange for his endorsement, an assertion Brown called "absolutely ludicrous."

Orange approached Barry Tuesday night at an event in Ward 5, and the two have different accounts of what happened next.

Orange said he "put it to him point blank," asking Barry about the committee chairman's spot and expressing disappointment that Barry was supporting Brown. In response, he says Barry told him, "it's about self-preservation."

A Barry confidant told the Wire that the former mayor had personally shared word of the alleged deal and that it was common knowledge around the Wilson building.

But Barry had a different account of his encounter with Orange. He said the topic never came up.

"I'm pissed at Vincent Orange for mischaracterizing the conversation," Barry said. "What I said to Vincent Orange is that I signed your petition because I think you ought to have a right to run in a democracy. That's all I said."

He added, "I don't have to make deals around here... I'm not a dealmaker, not for my own benefit, I'm a deal maker for the people of Ward 8."

Barry was stripped of his committee chairmanship in March after an investigation found that he'd violated conflict-of-interest rules.

To Orange, the alleged deal shows that his rival will "say anything to anybody to get what he wants when it's politically convenient."

"He's saying, 'it's ludicrous' because he got caught," Orange said.

For his part, Brown called the accusation "scare tactics." Last week, Brown said, there were rumors that he had promised Barry the Health Committee.

"It's another way to stop talking about the issues people care about, a way to use Barry as a scare tactic. It's old school politics and we have to move forward."

Brown, who is the current chairman of the Economic Development Committee, has the endorsement of eight of his council colleagues.

"What people really want to hear about are the issues," Brown said.

By Ann Marimow  | June 4, 2010; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  2010 District Election, Ann E. Marimow, D.C. Council  
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Next: Fenty assails Gray; warns future of city at risk


Vincent Orange has to throw mud because he has nothing else going for him.

Can't believe Post even took time to write about this..

Posted by: 1tenforall | June 4, 2010 9:30 AM | Report abuse


"Vincent Orange has to throw mud because he has nothing else going for him."

And Kwame does? Sheesh - the guys is dumb as a rock. Can you imagine him sitting across from the bond rating agencies and trying to explain our current situation? He doesn't even have a firm grasp himself! He is Chair of the Economic Development Committee, yet hardly said a word during the recent budget hearings.

All style and no substance.

Posted by: onthecontrary | June 4, 2010 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Kwame is dumb as a rock, that is for sure. He is also not his own man. He is a fully owned subsidiary of his father's failed ambition. Let us not foget that it was Marshall Brown who stirred a racist teapot because someone had beyond a 6th grade vocabulary trying to hobble the early Williams administration. Thankfully that didn't work.

Now Marshall is trying to use poor, dumb, hapless Kwame to get another bite at the apple. He would be an easily manipulated tool in Marshall's bid to set the closk back to 1965.

Vince Gray as Mayor and Kwame as Chair - imagine that horror.

Posted by: SoCali | June 4, 2010 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Gray for Mayor, tough call for the Council Chair.

Posted by: concernedaboutdc | June 4, 2010 11:25 AM | Report abuse David Howard is that you?

You are taking the issue wayyy to far and if we are going to throw family into the picture then we should add how God Daddy Pete Nickels has played a role in Fenty's political ambitions as well.

If anybody wants to take it back to 1965 its God Daddy Pete who wants to change the look of D.C. Government back to those days when we had a three-member Board of Commissioners.

See side-show bob orange can’t really come out on real issues (crime, schools, affordable housing, and vision for the city) because he doesn’t have any plans. He knows the “I’m Mr. Economic” point is getting tired and old. Wasn’t he a lobbyist for Pepco? Didn’t our rates climb during his tenure under Pepco?


So what does a desperate washed up candidate do? Oh yeah link your opponent to Marion Barry. Now, that’s race baiting.

Posted by: thelildiva4u | June 4, 2010 2:26 PM | Report abuse

What a mess! This campaign for D.C. Council Chair and mayor is turning in a freak show. I might write my own name in for Council Chair and mayor or the name Fog Horn Leg Horn.

Posted by: Ward4DC | June 4, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

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