State investigating allegations against state employees' union PAC

October 17, 1991|By Thomas W. Waldron | Thomas W. Waldron,Evening Sun Staff

The state prosecutor is investigating charges of mismanagement in the Maryland Classified Employees Association's political action committee, which has dispensed tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions over several years.

The investigation began this summer after disgruntled members the PAC, known as The Employees Action Movement, charged that money was being spent without proper authorization by the PAC's board, according to sources.

"There is an inquiry into the administration and operation of TEAM," said Lance Cornine, MCEA's executive director. "The books have been sealed by the prosecutor's office. An audit has been made of the books. And some interviews have been conducted.

"I anticipate it will be brought to a conclusion very soon," Cornine said.

Scott E. Nevin, with the state prosecutor's office, confirmed that he has been looking at TEAM for about two months. He said the case should be wrapped up in about a month.

Members of MCEA can also join TEAM. Dues are only a few dollars a year, Cornine said. The money raised is passed on to political candidates who are endorsed both by TEAM and the MCEA board.

Sources said the problems were due mainly to sloppy record-keeping and internal squabbling.

One source said there had been "a complete breakdown" in documenting authorization for certain checks drawn on the PAC's accounts.

Quinton D. Pinkney, who resigned as chairman of TEAM in June, said no money had been misspent.

"I have nothing to hide," said Pinkney, who was interviewed by investigators. Pinkney said he resigned for "personal reasons."

TEAM records filed with the state elections board showed that the PAC raised more than $119,000 during the 1990 election cycle. The PAC made contributions to dozens of candidates for state offices.

A special committee appointed by MCEA officials has recommended major changes in the bylaws of TEAM to increase accountability.

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