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Posted at 11:42 AM ET, 02/16/2010

Report finds Barry benefited from contract for ex

By Washington Post editors

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."

--Tim Craig

By Washington Post editors  | February 16, 2010; 11:42 AM ET
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OMG stop the presses!! This is the shocker of the century!!

Posted by: maddogjts | February 16, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

The DC Council set Barry up, they awarded the contract, still trying to get him, Shame, Shame, Shame. Has anyone ever owed you money and to make sure you get it you go with them to cash the check,once they get their pay, to be sure to get your money that you loaned them, some people you have to do that to be sure you get your money. She got a job with the approval of the DC Council, Barry just submitted the contract, it's the approval of the DC Council, that she got the contract, not Barry.

Posted by: onesugar | February 16, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Marion Barry is, was and always will be a fraud, solely interested in lining the pockets of himself and his friends at the expense of the taxpayer. Anyone blaming the city council of "setting up" Marion Barry under the circumstances described in this article is a moron, plain and simple.

Posted by: kurtzu2 | February 16, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

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