Report finds Barry benefited from contract for ex
D.C. Council Member Marion Barry personally benefited from a contract he obtained for his former girlfriend and directed earmarks that "provided substantial financial benefits to some of his close friends and supporters," according to a report by Washington attorney Robert S. Bennett.
In the report, Bennett stated that Barry (D-Ward 8) violated "D.C. law, council rules and policies and procedures" and recommends his findings be referred to the U.S. Attorney's Office for possible criminal charges.
D.C. Wire reports that in July, after news surfaced that Barry had given Donna Watts-Brighthaupt a city contract, the council tasked Bennett with his investigation the matter and review the council process for distributing earmarks.
A report to the D.C. Council on Tuesday has concluded that member Marion Barry (D-Ward 8) engaged in corruption when he gave a city contract to a woman with whom he was romantically involved.
High-profile Washington attorney Robert S. Bennett recommended that the matter be referred for possible criminal investigation.
Bennett, an attorney best known for representing former President Bill Clinton, concluded that some of the money awarded to the woman ended up in Barry's pocket.
The report concludes a part of an investigation launched by the council, which hired Bennett to conduct the probe. The inquiry, conducted on a pro bono basis with attorney Amy Sabrin serving as Bennett's deputy special counsel, began in July and has been extremely secretive.
The investigation also looked at Barry' s actions as well as the council's earmark process, which allows members to seek funds to certain projects or programs throughout the District.
In December the city's auditor said in a preliminary report that the council recklessly gave $47 million in taxpayer dollars to nonprofit groups last year, including money that went to several dozen organizations that were not abiding by tax and business licensing laws.
After reviewing council earmarks awarded in fiscal 2009, Auditor Deborah K. Nichols concluded that there were "significant financial and management deficiencies" in how the council awarded and tracked the money. Also, in dozens of cases, Nichols had trouble determining whether an organization was in compliance with tax and licensing laws "because earmark recipients provided outdated business addresses, P.O. boxes or invalid organization names."
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