Nobody should be surprised that D.C. Council member Marion Barrry, D-?Ward 8, has been accused of giving earmarked city money to a former girlfriend and then asking her for kickbacks. The crack-toting, tax-evading, skirt-chasing former mayor has a long history of outrageous behavior that would have sent any of his constituents to jail for years, if not decades. But Barry has somehow managed to escape punishment.
Special counsels Robert Bennett and Amy Sabrin recommended that the latest Barry scandal, which involves thousands of dollars of earmarks and attempts to intimidate former girlfriend Donna Watts-Brighthaupt from cooperating with their investigation, be referred to the U.S. Attorney for possible criminal prosecution. Don’t hold your breath.
Barry spent only six months in prison after his infamous arrest in a drug sting operation at the Vista Hotel with former girlfriend Hazel “Rasheeda” Moore, who by then had become an FBI informant. After his release, he was elected to represent Ward 8 and has been a Council member ever since.
Barry apparently never learned his lesson about women, because his alleged stalking of Watts-Brighthaupt in Anacostia Park last Fourth of July directly led to a probe of his $8.4 million in earmarks last year, of which $450,000 went to his staff and friends, the special counsels’ report alleged.
“I’m a different kind of council member,” Barry said in response to the latest charges. “I ran to get resources, to uplift the people of Ward 8.” Himself included, if the kickback charges are true.
Yet it’s highly unlikely that Barry, whose public contempt for the law is an ongoing embarrassment to the city he represents, will be held accountable for his behavior this time, either.