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DC Mayor Nominates Former Republican Foe To Ethics Board

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District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser took a bold step Thursday and appointed her former mayoral rival Carol Schwartz to a government ethics board.

Schwartz and Bowser battled it out in the 2014 mayoral race. Prior to the 2014 bid, Schwartz ran for mayor four other times.

Schwartz, running as an independent, was able to secure just less than 7 percent of the vote, while Bowser took home a 54 percent majority.

At the time of the campaign, David Catania, a former Republican council member turned independent, accused Bowser and Schwartz of colluding to take votes away from him.

“I think it’s a clear signal of how worried and concerned the Bowser campaign is,” Ben Young, Catania’s campaign manager, told The Washington Post at the time of the election.

Both Bowser and Schwartz denied any sort of connection between themselves and Schwartz’s decision to run for office.

Catania only managed to pull in around 35 percent of the vote, though, so even with the extra 7 percent that went to Schwartz, he still would have fallen well short of Bowser.

The District’s Board of Ethics and Government Accountability (BEGA) is tasked with investigating any ethics violations within the D.C. government and monitors compliance with Freedom of Information Act compliance.

The agency disciplined several sitting council members in the past. Most recently, council member Vincent Orange, after he intervened in the 2013 health department inspection of a rat-infested restaurant owned by a campaign donor.

The board found Orange abused the “prestige of the office” after he stopped health inspectors from entering the Florida Avenue Market, which was slated for closure.

The BEGA ordered Orange to attend ethics training courses and promise not to interfere with health inspections again.

Prior to the 2014 mayoral bid, Schwartz held an at-large seat as a Republican on the D.C. Council from 1985 to 1989, and then again from 1997 to 2009. She lost her re-election bid in 2008 when Patrick Mara beat her in the Republican primary. Mara went on to lose in the general election.

Bowser also announced the addition of several other senior officials to her cabinet Wednesday. Stephen Danzansky, Dionna Lewis and Andrew Richardson were all introduced as board members of the District of Columbia Board of Elections.

“The District is fortunate to have these passionate and experienced public service professionals working for the betterment of our city,” Bowser said of the new hires. “Together, we will create a better, stronger government that best serves the interests of our residents.”

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