Dem leader expresses dismay over growing corruption scandals in nation's capital

The top Democrat on the House Oversight subcommittee that oversees the District of Columbia expressed dismay about the mounting corruption scandals shrouding the capital city's government.

"It's unsettling and disturbing that this much chicanery might be taking place. It causes people to lose confidence in their government," said Rep. Danny Davis, D.-Ill., the ranking Democrat on the panel.

But at this point, Davis said he didn't think it was appropriate for Congress to intervene.

"No matter what the outcome of the investigations, Congress has enough to do to run the United States of America and not micromanage the city," Davis said.

Regardless, Davis indicated that any discussions for the panel to review the scandal, such as convening a hearing on the issue, could start this week.

Washington, D.C., Mayor Vincent Gray, Democrat, has come under fire after federal prosecutors found that his political appratus allegedly ran a $653,000 "shadow campaign" in his 2010 bid to unseat the former mayor Adrian Fenty, Democrat.

Three members of the city council have called for Gray's resignation.

In June, Washington, D.C., Council Chairman Kwame Brown resigned after authorities charged him with felony bank fraud. He later pleaded guilty.

The power struggle between Congress and the District of Columbia has long been marked by tensions. Until the 1970s, Congress had ultimate authority over Washington, serving as a sort of super city council. That changed when Congress awarded the District of Columbia "home rule."

Since then, Congress has periodically considered rescinding home rule. Such was the case in 1990 when police arrested former Mayor Marion Barry, Democrat, in a drug and prostitution sting.

The city's finances fell into shambles in the mid-1990s. The GOP-controlled Congress then created a financial control board for the city to oversee its budget.

Republicans and Democrats said the dysfunction of Washington's government convinced them that Congress should reinstate its spending authority over the city which it relinquished 20 years previously.

There's been no talk of that now this time.

"The citizens of the District of Columbia can govern their own affairs. And if they catch someone doing wrong take appropriate action," said Davis.

A spokesman for Rep. Trey Gowdy, R.-S.C., who chairs the subcommittee with jurisdiction over Washington, indicated his boss wasn't willing to interfere in the affairs of the city.