Bartlett aide admits he erred by not disavowing his own candidacy

Alex Mooney, chair of Maryland Republicans, is working part-time for Rep. Roscoe Bartlett

September 22, 2012|By Steve Kilar, The Baltimore Sun

The chair of the Maryland Republican Party admits he erred by not disavowing his congressional campaign before he started working part-time for Rep. Roscoe Bartlett in June.

Alex Mooney began raising money last year for a 2012 bid for Maryland's Sixth District seat, which Bartlett currently holds.

After Bartlett announced he was running again — he is a 10-term incumbent in the Western Maryland district — Mooney filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission indicating that he was holding onto the funds he had raised for a 2014 campaign. That filing was a "statement of candidacy" for the 2014 election.

Under the ethics rules for the U.S. House of Representatives, a congressional staffer may not continue to work for a Representative while the staffer is running to succeed that member of Congress. Mooney began working for Bartlett in June.

This week, a Washington Post reporter asked Mooney about the potential ethical violation of working for Bartlett while maintaining his own candidacy. After the inquiry, Mooney filed a letter with the FEC indicating he was no longer a candidate for Congress.

In a phone interview Friday, Mooney said he should have informed the FEC that his candidacy was inactive before he began working with Bartlett.

"Obviously, I should have filed it earlier and I've clarified that I'm no longer a candidate," Mooney said.

The Maryland Democratic Party released a statement Friday suggesting Mooney's actions reflect poorly on Bartlett, who is facing a tough race against Democratic challenger John Delaney.

"The news yesterday that Maryland GOP Chair and Bartlett aide Alex Mooney violated Congressional ethics rules once again raises serious questions about Roscoe Bartlett's time in office and his precarious bid for reelection," said David Sloan, the executive director of the Maryland Democratic Party, in the statement.

"Alex Mooney and Roscoe Bartlett's unethical behavior is outrageous and shows a flagrant disregard for taxpayer dollars," Sloan said. "We urge the MD GOP Chair to completely rectify his mistake by returning his taxpayer-funded salary."

Lisa Wright, a spokeswoman for Bartlett, said Mooney's mistake was nothing more than a "clerical error" that has "been corrected."

steve.kilar@baltsun.com

twitter.com/stevekilar

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