Evans Under Scrutiny for Buying Sports Tickets with Constituent Fund
Constituent services funds are used by Council members on anything from charitable donations to community groups to helping pay for unexpected funeral expenses.
Since 2002, Council member Jack Evans has spent nearly one third of his constituent services fund on the purchase of sporting event tickets, according to The Washington Post. He has paid $135,897 for professional sports tickets for local teams, including the Washington Nationals and Washington Wizards among others.
Evans told The Post, “I think it’s appropriate to support those teams and give [tickets] to constituents who otherwise may not be able to get to a game."
Constituent services funds, technically Citizen-Service Programs, have loose regulations on how they are spent. They must go toward “charitable, scientific, educational, medical, recreational and other services” that promote the welfare of residents.
Each Council member can raise up to $80,000 in private donations to support to the fund each year.
"They're true slush funds," said Dorothy Brizill, executive director of D.C. Watch, according to the Washington Examiner.
According to D.C. regulations, "A citizen-service program may not be used at any time for political purposes."
Though in Evans' Ward 2, some would argue that heating bills and rent money are not as needed as in other wards, so sports tickets are not so bad.
Political consultant Chuck Thies told the Washington Examiner, "It's difficult to substantiate in a town where there's a great disparity in needs. Most Georgetown residents don't need help paying their electric bill."