D.C. Taxi Corruption Update

Last summer Washington, D.C. reeled from revelations about taxi companies bribing city council staffers to get favorable treatment as part of taxi regulation reform. I noted the inevitability of this kind of corruption in a regulated industry in the Washington Post.

Now, according to the Washington Examiner, a key leader in the bribery case has pled guilty:

An Ethiopian community leader has pleaded guilty to his role in orchestrating a massive taxi industry bribery scheme, fingering D.C. Councilman Jim Graham’s former chief of staff as one of his co-conspirators.

Over the past three years, Abdul Kamus gave more than $30,000 in cash, trips and free taxi rides to Graham’s former Chief of Staff Ted Loza in return for influence in the D.C. Council, Kamus admitted Wednesday. His admissions do not implicate Graham in any wrongdoing, although Kamus said in court documents that he met with Graham on at least two occasions to discuss legislation that benefited the taxi industry. Graham chaired the council’s public works and transportation committee, which oversees the taxi industry.

Samuel R. Staley, Ph.D. is a senior research fellow at Reason Foundation and managing director of the DeVoe L. Moore Center at Florida State University in Tallahassee where he teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in urban planning, regulation, and urban economics. Prior to joining Florida State, Staley was director of urban growth and land-use policy for Reason Foundation where he helped establish its urban policy program in 1997.