Scrambling to fix miscue

The Political Game

Correction: A typographical error on Sen. Alex X. Mooney's Web site sent the conservative Republican into immediate repair mode after it was discovered.

March 09, 2004|By Kimberly A.C. Wilson and Howard Libit | Kimberly A.C. Wilson and Howard Libit,SUN STAFF

A TYPO on the Web site of one of the General Assembly's most conservative members cast doubt on his claim to family values.

As late as Thursday morning, visitors to learned that Sen. Alex X. Mooney became a proud parent in July - barely a month before he and his wife were married.

Oops, said Mooney, a Republican who represents Frederick and Washington counties. "Please don't leave the impression that it was the same year within a month, because that's not the case!"

Mooney, 32, and his wife, Dr. Grace Gonzalez Mooney, were married in August 2002 - not 2003 as the Web site indicated - fully 11 months before the birth of little Lucas.

Within a half-hour of learning of the mistake, Mooney hurried to correct the Web page.

"I got hold of my Web site guy and said, `You gotta change it right away,'" he said.

The notion that he fathered a child out-of-wedlock troubled the second-term senator, a Roman Catholic and the only Hispanic member of the Senate. Mooney, the sponsor of bills against gay marriage and human cloning in the current legislative session, said his unbending moral positions in favor of prayer and family values are rooted in his deep religious convictions.

"I'm a human being, too," said Mooney. "I'm not better than anybody and I make mistakes. But - my wife's gonna kill me - we definitely got married beforehand."

Busch warns delegates about dining companions

House Speaker Michael E. Busch has a suggestion for his delegates: Forgo meals paid for by gambling and slot machines interests during the last month of the legislative session.

"I told them that people are going to be watching us and what we do," Busch said of what he told the House Democratic leadership last week. "For 30 days, go to dinner with someone else."

Under the General Assembly's ethics rules, people with business before the legislature are permitted to pay for meals or receptions - but only if an entire group, such as a committee or delegation, is invited. All such gatherings must be publicly disclosed in advance.

For example, the Baltimore City delegation was invited to dinner at Harry Browne's restaurant on State Circle a week ago tonight, paid for by Penn National Gaming Inc. That's the company that owns Charles Town Races & Slots in West Virginia.

"That dinner had already been scheduled, so I didn't ask them to cancel it," Busch said. "But there are plenty of other people down here looking to hold dinners. Go out and eat on the insurance companies and health care companies instead."

Democrats try to save job of state elections chief

Democrats in the Maryland Senate are protecting the job of the state elections administrator by delaying the confirmations of Board of Elections members who might vote to replace her.

The Senate Executive Nominations Committee is holding up votes on three elections board nominees - two Republicans and a Democrat - until after the General Assembly considers pending legislation that would alter the way elections administrators are hired and fired.

"They are on hold," said Sen. Philip C. Jimeno, an Anne Arundel County Democrat and chairman of the nominations committee, speaking of the board appointments.

Democrats are using their tools to try to preserve the job of elections administrator Linda H. Lamone, an appointee of former Gov. Parris N. Glendening.

Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. has said that he wants to replace Lamone, but current law requires a vote of four of five state board members, who must show that she did not perform her job properly.

State Republicans are backing a bill that would allow the administrator's ouster at any time with three votes.

Democrats have countered with a bill making the position subject to Senate review.

"To protect the integrity of the elections process, there has to be balance," Jimeno said.

Jimeno said that Lamone should not be a target for replacement as Ehrlich looks to fill state agencies with his appointees.

"There's not any criticism of Linda through the last election two years ago," he said. "It's a capable staff. It's not a partisan staff."

Sun staff writer David Nitkin contributed to this article.

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