Excerpts from ethics report

January 13, 1998

The Joint Committee concludes that Senator Young violated numerous ethical standards within the jurisdiction of the Joint Committee. Because of the seriousness, scope and consistent pattern of the violations examined above, the Joint Committee issues its recommendations for appropriate sanctions.

Senator Larry Young has served in the Maryland General Assembly with legislative distinction for 24 years. In his testimony before the Joint Committee on January 6, 1998, Senator Young spoke of his educational background and stated that he is "not heavy educationally, but I attended one of the best colleges and universities of learning anywhere, the Maryland General Assembly." His many major achievements as a legislator and as a national representative of the State of Maryland attest to the quality of that education as well as the undeniable ability and value to the citizens of Maryland that he has continuously demonstrated. It is these abilities and his strong work ethic which have propelled him into leadership positions in the House of Delegates (Chairman of the House Environmental Matters Committee) and the Senate (Chairman of the Health Subcommittee of the Senate Finance Committee, and as Chairman of the Senate Executive Nominations Committee). The Joint Committee is also aware of Senator Young's untiring efforts on behalf of the poor and otherwise disadvantaged residents of Maryland.

It is because of the many notable attributes possessed by Senator Young that the findings of the Joint Committee are made with regret and undoubtedly with pain to his colleagues and friends. It should be clear to all, however, that the findings that the Joint Committee makes and the recommendations it proposes are clearly the responsibility of Senator Young, the direct consequences of his acts or failure to act. Our Constitution commands the General Assembly to discipline our members who go astray, and our laws remind us that we must forbid, reject and punish behavior of any of our members who betrays the public trust.

After thoroughly reviewing hundreds of documents, interviewing many individuals and taking testimony from Senator Young and another witness whom he called, and after due deliberation by the twelve members of the Joint Committee aided by counsel, the Joint Committee on Legislative Ethics finds that Senator Young has committed numerous violations of the Public Ethics Laws, and thereby has betrayed the public trust in many ways. The stated purpose of the Public Ethics Laws, under Section 15-101 of the State Government Article, reveals the importance of this trust, recognizing "that our system of representative government is dependent upon the people maintaining the highest trust in their government officials and employees" and "declares that the people have a right to be assured that the impartiality and independent judgment of those officials and employees will be maintained." These findings conclude that "this confidence and trust is eroded when the conduct of the State's business is subject to improper influence."

It is clear to the Joint Committee that Senator Young used his position as a State Senator and, in particular, his influence as Chairman of the Health Subcommittee of the Senate Finance Committee to leverage tens of thousands of dollars into his LY Group Inc., which is an entity essentially indistinguishable from the Senator. In failing to file the appropriate disclosures with the Joint Committee, we find the suggestion that he was unaware of the requirements of the Public Ethics Laws untenable, incredible and unworthy. On several occasions prior to this inquiry, Senator Young has filed documents with the Joint Committee related to his employment and possible conflicts of interest. Additionally, Senator Young was in office as a legislator when the current Public Ethics Laws were first passed, and he presumably reviewed and voted on the legislation.

Senator Young's behavior manifests the worst fear that citizens have about the officials they vote into office: that our officials will use their position of authority and power to benefit themselves financially to the detriment of the broad-based interests of the public. In using his office intentionally as described in this report, Senator Young has brought dishonor upon the institution of the Maryland General Assembly.

Pub Date: 1/13/98

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