Ex-state legislator Lapides appointed to ethics commission

He pushed for reforms during terms in Annapolis

July 25, 2002|By Tim Craig | Tim Craig,SUN STAFF

Former state Sen. Julian L. Lapides, who built a reputation for efforts to change the way business is done in Annapolis, has been appointed to the Maryland State Ethics Commission.

Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller selected Lapides for the position last month. The Baltimore Democrat, who served in the General Assembly from 1967 to 1995, will attend his first commission meeting Aug. 2.

Lapides, 70, spent much of his career, including a stint as co-chairman of the legislature's ethics committee, working to strengthen state ethics laws. During his tenure, he sponsored legislation requiring legislators to disclose how they earn a living and pushed for tougher regulation of lobbyists.

Yesterday, Lapides, who practices law in Baltimore, pledged to take his passion for reforming government to the five-member commission.

"Senator Miller felt he could count on my impartiality, my integrity, my honesty and my objectivity," said Lapides, who left Baltimore's ethics commission this month. "I am pleased with the appointment."

The selection comes as Miller, a Democrat from Prince George's County, and several other lawmakers and lobbyists are under an ethical cloud because of various allegations.

Both the state Attorney Grievance Commission and the General Assembly's committee are investigating complaints that Miller tried to influence the Maryland Court of Appeals while it was deciding the fate of the legislative redistricting map. Miller declined to answer questions yesterday but released a statement saying, "The appointment of Julian Lapides speaks for itself."

The state ethics commission investigates allegations of improper practices in government and oversees lobbyists' activities. It is separate from the Joint Committee on Legislative Ethics, which is made up of legislators who investigate ethical complaints filed against members of the General Assembly.

Lapides said he doesn't expect to make many new friends in his role. "I was never a team player in Annapolis," he said.

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