Jack Evans formed a consulting firm with a D.C. lobbyist, but what does it do?
By Jeffrey Anderson | Photograph by Andy DelGiudice
In the summer of 2016, Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans and D.C. lobbyist-lawyer-developer and occasional restaurant owner N. William Jarvis formed a limited liability company named NSE Consulting LLC, under the category “General Business.”
D.C. law allows Council members to have outside employment, and in Evans’ case, NSE Consulting LLC seems to qualify as a home occupation. Financial disclosure statements show that Evans notified the Board of Ethics and Government and Accountability of the company when he registered it on July 19, 2016, at his home address in Georgetown.
The arrangement—Evans as “Governor,” Jarvis as “Organizer”—begs questions. According to lobbyist disclosures, Jarvis, represents numerous companies that do business in the District; Comcast, the Washington Nationals, and DC09, which operates the D.C. Lottery, are among them. In fact, Jarvis, whose retainer rises to $72,000 per year, lobbied Evans on behalf of two of those companies within months after they formed NSE Consulting LLC.
Elected officials are required to recuse themselves from Council activity that presents a conflict of interest with their outside business activity. Evans has not reported any conflicts related to NSE Consulting LLC and has disclosed unspecified income between $50,000 and $100,000, according to BEGA’s website. He did not return a call and text message from District Dig. Reached by phone, Jarvis said he had no comment and hung up.
Jarvis’ lobbying activity is somewhat more transparent. BEGA records show that on September 20, 2016—two months after he and Evans formed NSE Consulting LLC—Jarvis represented the Nationals in a meeting with Evans to discuss “proposed legislation.” Over the next several months, Jarvis met with all 13 sitting Council members—including a December 1, 2016, meeting with Evans and four others—to discuss, mark-up and “review legislation.”
Jarvis also met with legal counsel for Mayor Muriel Bowser, the City Administrator and the Department of Transportation, and a representative of the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs.
Three weeks later, on Dec. 20, Evans and nearly all of his colleagues voted to approve five digital display signs at Nationals Park and the surrounding area. At-Large Council Member Elissa Silverman voted against the signs.
There is little doubt that at least some of Jarvis’ meetings with Evans, all of Evans’ colleagues and the Bowser administration’s top legal counsel were about the fate of the digital display sign legislation at Nationals Park.
There’s also cause to consider the relationship between Jarvis and Evans. In addition to the company they formed, NSE Consulting LLC, Evans was a frequent visitor to a restaurant that Jarvis held a stake in.
In fact, Evans visited Jarvis’ restaurant Boss Shepherd’s, across from the Wilson Building, a dozen times from 2015 and 2017–billing his fare to his Constituent Services Fund each time, including three occasions between the registration of NSE Consulting LLC and the December 2016 Council vote.
December 8, 2016, was a good night for Evans’ constituents: He picked up the $141 tab for “Catering/Refreshments.” Jarvis’ restaurant later went out of business.
Evans has done outside work before. The longest standing member of the D.C. Council, chair of the Council’s finance and revenue committee and Chairman of the Washington Area Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board held a second job for decades as legal counsel at Patton Boggs and later at Manatt Phelps & Phillips, a pair of influential law firms that frequently represent companies with business before the Council.
This latest venture seems to be a unique, perhaps downsized endeavor. Yet little is known. Online records do not specify what NSE Consulting LLC does, nor do they identify its clients. And for the moment, Evans is not saying either.
*This post has been corrected. BEGA’s website shows that NSE Consulting LLC had income between $50,000 and $100,000 in 2016. The Dig regrets the omission.