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Barry: No problem with hiring girlfriend

July 15, 2009 at 3:25 PM
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WASHINGTON, July 15 (UPI) -- There's nothing wrong with city officials hiring their girlfriends or boyfriends, Washington City Council member Marion Barry says.

Barry, whose hiring of Donna Watts-Brighthaupt for a $5,000-per-month city contract two months after they began dating has drawn scrutiny, told The Washington Post the hiring wasn't illegal, and if such actions aren't illegal, there's nothing wrong with them.

"You all think it is inappropriate to hire a girlfriend. I don't think it is," Barry told the newspaper. "In fact, there is no law against it."

When asked if he would hire Watts-Brighthaupt again, Barry reportedly said, "Unless the law changes, why not? Some people either don't know the law or have their own conservative views. As long as it is not illegal, citizens ought to allow people to do what they want."

The D.C. Council Tuesday approved a resolution giving attorney Robert Bennett subpoena authority to investigate Barry's actions.

Barry, while serving as Washington mayor in 1990, was videotaped smoking crack cocaine in a hotel room during a federal sting operation but was re-elected in 1994 to a four-year mayoral term. He staged another political comeback in 2004 when he won a seat on the council.

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