Jonetta Rose Barras: Michael Brown -- Not again

By |
Local,DC,Jonetta Rose Barras,D.C. Council

What part of no doesn't Michael A. Brown understand?

The one-term D.C. councilman was kicked out of office just last November. Now, he's trying to return to the John A. Wilson Building, offering a narrative that is more fiction than fact.

For example, Brown has said he has been cleared by federal investigators and the D.C. Office of Campaign Finance of wrong-doing associated with the theft of more than $100,000 from his 2012 re-election coffers. Federal authorities have made no such pronouncement. The investigation of Brown's campaign and alleged theft by his treasurer, Hakim Sutton, apparently remains open.

As for the OCF: The less said, the better. That office demonstrated a bias in favor of Brown during the auditing of his campaign reports. Auditors advised him to delete information in his amended financial statements because he lacked certain documentation.

Brown is one of seven candidates -- Anita Bonds, Matthew Frumin, Elissa Silverman, Paul Zukerberg, Perry Redd and Patrick Mara -- running in the April 23 election. He would have the uninformed believe his loss last season had everything to do with others and not himself. But he was plagued by mismanagement of his personal finances, including failure to pay his taxes. His driver's license was suspended for violations. The man who helped create laws in the District was guilty of serial bad judgment.

Truth be told, it's time to bury Brown's political career. There is little about it to praise.

During his tenure, he also worked for a law firm representing the gaming industry. Still, Brown slipped into a budget bill a mandate creating Internet gambling; civic leaders later pushed the council to repeal that law.

He has boasted about his chairmanship of the housing and workforce development committee. But D.C. Auditor Yolanda Branche recently reported between 2009 and 2011, the Department of Employment Services failed to reach performance goals, costing the city as much as $15 million in federal funds. Brown also treated the University of the District of Columbia as if it were a widget factory -- not an institution of higher learning. He caused $20 million to be snatched in 2013 from the flagship's budget. That led to reductions in personnel and academic programs. Yet, he has asserted support for UDC and touted his deceased father's service as a former president.

Brown has long attempted to ride his father's coattails. A political legend, Ron Brown has been credited with getting Bill Clinton elected president. But the apple has fallen far from the tree.

Brown previously made a failed run for mayor. He twice ran for the council before finally getting elected in 2008; that victory came after shifting from Democrat to independent. He has switched back for this special election, hoping to win friends and money.

He isn't trying to come back to the government trough because he needs a job. Brown desperately wants to be mayor. Unless he wins next month, he can forget about any 2014 mayoral bid.

He should kiss that political dream goodbye and make a respectable exit.

Jonetta Rose Barras' column appears on Tuesday and Friday. She can be reached at jonetta@jonettarosebarras.com.

View article comments Leave a comment