What's wrong with this picture? The University System of Maryland aspires to world-class greatness. It demands increasing investment from the state and, in turn, promises to play a growing role in Maryland's success in the global knowledge economy. Members of the USM Board of Regents thus hold among the most prestigious and critical positions in the state - while, in certain cases, hustling for various clients, employers or political interests in one way or another.
Former governor and current regent Marvin Mandel and regents' Chairman David H. Nevins are just the latest board members whose pursuits have triggered ethical questions (despite a 1999 ban on regents lobbying the General Assembly). Regent Richard E. Hug, Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s fundraiser, was drumming up money for a pro-slots group. And two earlier board chairmen have had to resign: Lance W. Billingsley, a pal of former Gov. Parris N. Glendening and chairman from 1995 to 1999, because of his lobbying, and his successor, Nathan A. Chapman Jr., because of a scandal that led to a federal conviction for defrauding the state pension system.