Lapides fails to gain audits of foundations

March 29, 1991

The state Senate refused yesterday, on a 26-20 vote, to resurrect a bill that would have forced university foundations and other state-affiliated non-profit groups to open their books to the public.

Sen. Julian L. Lapides, D-Baltimore, sought a Senate vote after the bill was killed in committee. He said the need for state audits had been demonstrated by recent instances of abuse by foundations, including political contributions by Frostburg State University and misspending of federal drug abuse money on the Maryland State Games. The problems led to the resignations of the Frostburg president and the state secretary of health and mental hygiene.

Sen. Clarence W. Blount, D-Baltimore, chairman of the Economic and Environmental Affairs Committee, which killed the bill last week, said enough safeguards were already in place. In instances of abuse, he said, the solution would be to get rid of the people responsible.

At least 10 states now audit university foundations. The Senate had backed Mr. Lapides' two previous attempts to open the books of such groups in Maryland. In each instance, the bill was killed in the House of Delegates.

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