Mitchell hired as lobbyist Former senator working part time for Md. union

February 01, 1992|By Thomas W. Waldron | Thomas W. Waldron,Annapolis Bureau of The Sun John W. Frece of The Sun's Annapolis bureau contributed to this article.

ANNAPOLIS -- Former state Sen. Clarence M. Mitchell III, who interrupted his political career with a 16-month stint in a federal prison, will resume it as a lobbyist for one of the state's largest public employee unions.

The Maryland Classified Employees Association said yesterday that it had hired Mr. Mitchell on a part-time basis to lobby the General Assembly and work as a consultant.

"We felt that a person with 24 years of expertise in the legislature would be quite a dynamic individual to defeat some of the legislation that will be detrimental to public employees," said MCEA President Rommani M. Amenu-El.

"We need a strong voice in Annapolis," Mr. Amenu-El said. "We're sure he'll get a lot of attention from legislators."

Mr. Mitchell, 52, a Democrat, is the son of the late Clarence M. Mitchell Jr., one of the leaders of the nation's civil rights movement.

In 1987, Clarence Mitchell and his brother, Michael B. Mitchell, who had succeeded him in the Senate, were convicted of accepting $50,000 from a Wedtech consultant to obstruct a congressional investigation into the scandal-plagued Bronx company. Spearheading the investigation was the Mitchell brothers' uncle, former U.S. Rep. Parren J. Mitchell.

Clarence Mitchell was released from the federal prison in Lewisburg, Pa., in August 1989 after serving less than half of his 4 1/2 -year sentence.

Mr. Mitchell did not return a phone call to The Sun.

"It will probably be controversial, but rest assured, we're looking at the expertise that's offered," Mr. Amenu-El said of the union's decision. "I see no point in excluding such a political figure as Mr. Mitchell."

Mr. Mitchell first went to Annapolis at the age of 23 to serve in the House of Delegates. After four years in the House, he moved to the Senate, where he served 20 years.

But although he often spoke eloquently on civil rights issues, Mr. Mitchell's tenure in the legislature was punctuated by spotty attendance and a record of legislative successes that never lived up to the expectations brought on by the family name.

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