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By John Fritze, The Baltimore Sun | February 24, 2012
They have bickered over their backgrounds, their political allegiances and who is the bigger “insider.” Now, the two candidates seeking the Democratic nomination for Maryland's most competitive congressional contest this year are battling over who is the most -- and least -- transparent.  The latest shot came this week from businessman John Delaney who pointed out that his opponent, State Sen. Rob Garagiola, failed to note his income as...
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BUSINESS
By Kevin Rector, The Baltimore Sun | July 28, 2014
Two major Eastern railroads have filed lawsuits against the Maryland Department of Environment to block it from disclosing their shipments of crude oil through the state, according to court records. Norfolk Southern Railway and CSX Transportation claim the release of the information would pose a security threat and compromise commercially sensitive information, according to complaints filed in Baltimore Circuit Court. The federal government began requiring railroads in May to report all shipments of more than one million gallons of Bakken crude oil to emergency officials in the states the shipments pass through, following several rail accidents involving the volatile fuel.
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FEATURES
By Dave Rosenthal | January 18, 2012
Paula Deen's disclosure that she has type 2 Diabetes has triggered some harsh reactions. For years, Deen has featured high-calorie Southern foods in her cookbooks and on television. Some  folks are riled by the fact that that she was doing it while aware of her own diabetes, a disease that has been linked to a poor diets and excess weight. And they poked at Deen for aligning her new webste with Victoza, a diabetes medicine made by Novo Nordisk. Fellow celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain -- who has famously called Deen "the most dangerous person in America" -- issued a veiled tweet that did not mention her name, but was taken by many to refer to her. It said: "Thinking of getting into the leg-breaking business, so I can profitably sell crutches later.
NEWS
By Meredith Cohn, The Baltimore Sun | May 10, 2014
Maryland Health Secretary Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein can add another educational accomplishment to his resume - a certificate of completion from the University of Maryland and the state attorney general's office for an online course on Maryland's Open Meetings Act. Sharfstein, a pediatrician who has a degree from Harvard Medical School, among others, volunteered for the extra schooling after the state's health exchange lawyers said someone on each...
NEWS
By Michael Dresser, The Baltimore Sun | February 9, 2012
A special committee on ethics reform set up by Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller will propose legislation that would put the financial disclosure forms of legislators and top state officials online next year and eliminate a requirement that filers be told the names of people who examine those statements. Sen. Jamie Raskin, chairman of the special committee, said the legislation has the bipartisan backing of all members of the panel. Currently, a person who wants to look at disclosure forms — which are public documents — must go to the State Ethics Commission office in Annapolis and fill out a form giving name and address.
NEWS
By Jon S. Cardin | December 24, 2010
Back in January, the Supreme Court opened up the floodgates for corporate spending on elections in the landmark Citizens United decision, overturning a century's worth of federal and state laws designed to limit the power of corporations to use their influence to buy elections. Then, on Election Day, Maryland voters got a sneak preview of how the new ruling will affect our elections in the coming years. In the highly contested 1st Congressional District race, outside groups, including some who accept unlimited money from individuals and corporations, flooded the mailboxes and airwaves.
NEWS
Matthew Hay Brown | September 18, 2012
Rep. Chris Van Hollen called a federal court ruling allowing tax-exempt groups to conceal the identies of their donors “a blow against transparency in the funding of political campaigns.” The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia on Tuesday reversed a lower court ruling that directed such groups, which are spending millions of dollars on campaign advertising this election season, to name their donors. “The Court of Appeals' decision today will keep the American people, for the time being, in the dark about who is attempting to influence their vote with secret money,” Van Hollen said in a statement.
NEWS
By Michael Dresser, The Baltimore Sun | September 18, 2012
Comptroller Peter Franchot urged Gov. Martin O'Malley and the General Assembly Tuesday to move to a system of immediate online disclosure of political donations and spending -- contending it would improve the transparency of government in Maryland. Franchot, who is widely considered a likely candidate for governor in 2014, told a Constitution Day gathering at Goucher College that last month's special legislative session on gambling expansion exposed the flaws in the current campaign finance system.
BUSINESS
By Lorraine Mirabella, The Baltimore Sun | March 13, 2014
The Maryland House of Delegates approved a bill Thursday that would require retailers to tell customers when they track their movements and habits via mobile phones. "It is alarming how much information a store can gather from your phone when you walk in the door," said Del. Sam Arora, a Rockville Democrat. "At the very minimum, we deserve to know when stores are tracking information from our phones. " Arora, a sponsor of the bill, said an estimated 1,000 retailers already use technology to track shoppers' movements through stores using mobile phone signals.
BUSINESS
By Adriane B. Miller and Adriane B. Miller,Special to The Sun | May 1, 1994
Four months after the seller disclosure law went into effect, there is still confusion among buyers, sellers, their agents and even their lawyers.The legislation, which the General Assembly passed last year, was designed to hold sellers responsible if they knowingly sell a home with an inconspicuous but serious defect. The law, which applies to residential property resales, requires sellers to give prospective buyers a written disclosure form describing their property's condition. Or, sellers may sign a disclaimer sheet that says they sell the property "as is," with no explanation of hidden problems the buyer may find later.
NEWS
April 21, 2014
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's announcement last week that Baltimore would put public officials' financial disclosure statements online was both a welcome step forward and a sign of just how far Maryland has to go to be truly transparent. The city's forms - which include things such as officials' outside employment, real estate holdings and investments - may soon be available on the web, but those who want to look at them will first have to go to City Hall, verify their identity and register for access.
NEWS
By Jules Witcover | April 18, 2014
The Pulitzer Prizes to two news outlets that cooperated with whistleblower Edward Snowden in the disclosure of widespread National Security Agency surveillance of electronic communications at home and abroad has U.S. officialdom in a dither. With the exiled Mr. Snowden harbored in Russia and widely branded at home as a traitor for leaking the voluminous evidence to reporters working for The Washington Post and the U.S. arm of Britain's Guardian newspaper, the Pulitzer committee came down squarely on the side of freedom of the press.
NEWS
By Yvonne Wenger, The Baltimore Sun | April 14, 2014
For the first time, financial disclosure forms for nearly 1,900 Baltimore government officials will be online for public inspection, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake announced Monday. Individuals will be able to search online for loans, family income sources, gifts and business relationships for government workers and elected officials. The change eliminates the need to travel to City Hall to pull documents, though residents will not be able to use the system until they set up an account in person.
BUSINESS
By Lorraine Mirabella, The Baltimore Sun | March 13, 2014
The Maryland House of Delegates approved a bill Thursday that would require retailers to tell customers when they track their movements and habits via mobile phones. "It is alarming how much information a store can gather from your phone when you walk in the door," said Del. Sam Arora, a Rockville Democrat. "At the very minimum, we deserve to know when stores are tracking information from our phones. " Arora, a sponsor of the bill, said an estimated 1,000 retailers already use technology to track shoppers' movements through stores using mobile phone signals.
NEWS
By Michael Pinard | January 7, 2014
For individuals with criminal records, the job application process often ends when they check the box on the application that requires them to disclose the existence of their records. For many employers, this is all they care to know about the applicant. They look no further than the box. If it is checked "yes," the application goes into the trash. As a result, individuals with criminal records are not afforded the chance to meet prospective employers, to shake their hands or look them in the eyes during an interview and explain why they are the right person for the job. The job seekers' hopes go no further than the application.
NEWS
By Jessica Anderson, The Baltimore Sun | December 7, 2013
The judges of Maryland's top court are subject to the second-best financial disclosure rules in the country, according to a national study. But the report found that transparency is so bad nationwide that no state got a letter grade higher than "C. " Though the study by the Center for Public Integrity said the state compels Court of Appeals judges to submit plenty of financial data, it said that information is of limited use because it is difficult...
NEWS
By Alison Knezevich, The Baltimore Sun | November 16, 2011
As the Baltimore County Council prepares to take up an ethics reform package proposed by County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, some members say they're wary of a measure that would make it easy for anyone to access their financial disclosure forms. Kamenetz wants to post elected officials' forms online starting in May, a key part of the legislation. Open-government advocates say such disclosure lets citizens easily examine potential conflicts of interest. Now, anyone who wants to see a Baltimore County official's form must go to Towson to pick up a copy of the document.
NEWS
By Matthew Hay Brown, The Baltimore Sun | June 29, 2012
Lawmakers of both parties congratulated themselves on the overwhelming bipartisan passage of a law that bars members of Congress from insider trading. But with key provisions of the STOCK Act due to take effect this summer, another group that falls under its requirements is raising objections. Beginning Aug. 31, agencies will be required to make the personal financial details of top-level government managers, along with information about spouses and dependent children, available to the public online.
BUSINESS
By Eileen Ambrose, The Baltimore Sun | September 24, 2013
T. Rowe Price is asking the Securities and Exchange Commission to allow it to offer "non-transparent" active exchange traded funds, according to a regulatory filing on Tuesday. The SEC early this year gave Price the thumbs to launch actively managed ETFs in which a professional picks the securities in the fund. ETFs often mimic an index, holding similar securities as the benchmark. But ETFs must disclose their holdings daily, instead of every month or so like a regular mutual fund.
NEWS
By Matthew Hay Brown | June 18, 2013
Under pressure over the revelation of secret surveillance programs, the director of the National Security Agency is scheduled to appear before the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday. A committee aide described the testimony of Gen. Keith Alexander, who is both director of the NSA and head of U.S. Cyber Command at Fort Meade, as “an opportunity to discuss how the disclosed NSA programs protect Americans from terror attacks on US soil, and why the disclosure of that classified information aids our adversaries.” The hearing is open to the public and will be streamed online.
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