What Chabad Claims:
Chabad of District of Columbia
Chabad-Lubavitch's sophisticated operations in D.C. have a rather unique focus. Over the past 45 years, this office has administered support for causes of national and world Jewish concern. Yet beyond these vital Jewish interests, Chabad-Lubavitch has not abandoned its educational imperative even here. Outreach programs include twice-weekly Torah classes for Congressional staff members, a growing lecture series on various Jewish concepts, and many holiday awareness programs and special events. A new center has been recently inaugurated.
1. Chabad had no permanent office in Washington, DC until the 1990's, when Rabbi Avraham Shemtov's son was old enough to open one. (This was not due to a lack of suitable rabbis – it was due to a lack of suitable Shemtovs. In other words, nepotism.) Before that, Rabbi Shemtov worked had to prevent other outreach organizations like Aish HaTorah from opening in Washington (got to hold the place for the kid, after all) while at the same time doing very little toward outreach in the nation's capital. (Yearly menorah lightings, photo-ops with politicians, fundraising …) As you may know, Rabbi Avraham Shemtov is based in Philadelphia.
2. See here for the Rebbe's perception of Chabad's activities in Washington, DC. You'll note that it seems to clash with the current Chabad spin. Especially note the Rebbe's refusal to help starving, persecuted Ethiopian Jews by asking Congress for help with aid and rescue.
3. See here for the Chabad-DC/American Friends of Lubavitch website.