Stupid Politician Tricks (DC Council Edition)

An astounding tale from this past weekend’s WaPo‘Fully loaded’ SUV puts D.C. Council Chairman Kwame Brown on the spot

Several weeks after Kwame R. Brown was elected D.C. Council chairman in November, city officials were asked to order for him a "fully loaded" Lincoln Navigator L with a DVD entertainment system, power moonroof and polished aluminum wheels.

It had to be black – all black, inside and out – and it had to arrive in time for his inauguration Jan. 2, never mind the District’s projected $400 million budget shortfall.

Later, when he was asked on television why taxpayers should foot the $1,900-a-month lease payments, Brown (D) said he had merely requested a black sport-utility vehicle and was driving the vehicle that the District had procured for him.

If you read the piece, you find that the story is even worse than all of that (including the tidbit that Brown rejected the first SUV that was sent to him because the interior color was wrong, and yet the city had to pay for that one, too).

This is, of course, outrageous, and exactly the type of thing that makes people understandably skeptical about government.

And, I would note, $1,900/month is roughly a monthly payment on a $275,000 home loan (based on a 30 year loan at 5%).  That’s nuts to pay for a car.

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Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. DC Loser says:

    Seriously, who in their right mind pays $1900 to LEASE a car? You could buy the dang thing for less monthly payments than that. Even top of the line Mercedes and probably Rolls Royce lease for less than that.

  2. Richard Gardner says:

    I’m wondering who they are leasing that vehicle from, and that company’s ties into DC city government.

  3. jwest says:

    Actually, the payment is just about right for a $70,000 vehicle on a 12 month lease.

    You wouldn’t want Kwame to be stuck in an old model next year, would you? (racist!)