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Legislative Ethics

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NEWS
By Greg Garland and Michael Dresser and Greg Garland and Michael Dresser,SUN STAFF | September 1, 2000
Several members of the legislature's ethics committee said yesterday that Del. Tony E. Fulton's conduct, as he described it during his federal court trial, tarnished the reputation of the General Assembly. But the committee took no formal action, and the panel's co-chairmen would not say whether they are investigating the West Baltimore Democrat. A U.S. District Court jury acquitted Fulton in July of six counts of mail fraud but deadlocked on five others in a case that involved an alleged scheme to help Annapolis lobbyist Gerard E. Evans defraud some of Evans' clients.
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NEWS
By Michael Dresser, Baltimore Sun | October 2, 2013
State Sen. Ulysses Currie, who was censured by by his peers in 2012 over an ethics scandal, has drawn an opponent to his 2014 re-election from within his district delegation. Del. Melony G. Griffith, a four-term lawmaker, said Wednesday that she will formally announce a primary challenge to her fellow Prince George's County Democrat on Oct. 15. Currie, who is in his mid-70s, stood trial in federal court in 2011 on corruption charges involving payments he took from a grocery store chain.
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NEWS
September 10, 1998
IT HAS TAKEN nearly 20 years, but Maryland's state lawmakers now seem serious about imposing tougher ethics standards on themselves.No more free gourmet meals from lobbyists. No more free sports or cultural tickets from those seeking influence and access. No more loopholes that allow lawmakers to vote on bills in spite of personal conflicts of interest. No more hiding potential conflicts until after the votes.These are among the recommendations of a blue-ribbon commission led by Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin, who previously served eight years as speaker of the Maryland House of Delegates.
NEWS
February 5, 2013
In 2012, the Maryland General Assembly considered legislation reauthorizing the state Real Estate Commission, including a series of amendments related to an obscure function of that agency, a fund that compensates victims of bad actions by licensed real estate professionals. Those who have suffered a loss due to fraud, theft, embezzlement or other offenses by a licensee can get compensation from a state fund, which the offending party must pay back, with interest and fees. The amendments to the bill would have reduced the maximum interest rate, provided for the elimination of fees under some circumstances and allowed for the reinstatement of the offender's a real estate license during the repayment period.
NEWS
By Michael Dresser, The Baltimore Sun | January 31, 2012
The Joint Committee on Legislative Ethics, which has on its plate the case of whether to discipline Sen. Ulysses Currie, met in closed session for about a hour Tesday but there was no word on what it will do about the Prince George's County Democrat.  Among the reasons given for the closing was "possible discipline of members of the General Assembly. " Legislative ethics adviser Bill Somerville  stepped out midway through the closed session. Since Somerville isn't taking part in prosecutorial matters, the panel likely moved on from confidential advisory opinions to discipline questions.
NEWS
By Marina Sarris and Marina Sarris,SUN STAFF | December 9, 1995
Give him credit for optimism, anyway.In these days of lagging public opinion of politicians, a Westminster restaurateur thought he might boost business by having his state senator pose for a newspaper ad with two of the cafe's onion-laden hot dogs.Sen. Larry E. Haines may have helped sales at Harry's Main Street Restaurant, but largely because of the brouhaha the ad caused. When news media began reporting that the senator's endorsement may have violated legislative ethics rules, restaurant owner Harry Sirinakis found himself with more publicity than he had bargained for."
NEWS
By Michael Dresser, The Baltimore Sun | February 6, 2012
State Sen. Ulysses S. Currie is behind closed doors with the Joint Committee on Legislative Ethics at the Miller Senate Office Building in Annapolis. The senator arrived at the hearing room about noon with his lawyer, former Judge Joseph F. Murphy Jr. The panel is investigating ethics violations that the defense for Currie, a Prince George's County Democrat, admitted during his federal trial last year on extortion and bribery charges. Currie was acquitted, but Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller referred the ethics matters to the committee.
NEWS
By Greg Garland and Greg Garland,SUN STAFF | December 9, 1998
Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin says he is optimistic the General Assembly will approve without major changes a study panel's recommendations for changing Maryland's ethics laws.Cardin, a Baltimore-area Democrat and former speaker of the House of Delegates, was chairman of the study committee, which met for the last time yesterday to review the language of its legislative proposal.The General Assembly is expected to take up the proposal as one of its first orders of business after it convenes Jan. 13. The state's two top legislative leaders have promised to work to get the proposals passed.
NEWS
By John A. Morris and John A. Morris,Staff writer | February 16, 1992
A state ethics panel has grounded "frequent flier"-style incentive programs used by Annapolis hotels to attract legislators' business.The downtown hotels that cater to more than 100 lawmakers who live in Annapolis during the 90-day session offer discounts on merchandise,free stays at other hotels and even family vacations in Cancun to their best clients, said Del. Kenneth Montague, chairman of the Joint Committee on Legislative Ethics."
NEWS
By SCOTT HIGHAM, WALTER F. ROCHE JR., AND WILLIAM F. ZORZI JR. and SCOTT HIGHAM, WALTER F. ROCHE JR., AND WILLIAM F. ZORZI JR.,SUN STAFF Sun news researcher Dee Lyons contributed to this article | December 20, 1997
The chief of a Baltimore ambulance company bought a $24,800 luxury Lincoln Town Car for state Sen. Larry Young, and the senator never reported the transaction to state and legislative ethics panels.Young, who chairs a powerful health subcommittee, received the car courtesy of Willie Runyon, owner of American Ambulance & Oxygen Service, which collects hundreds of thousands of dollars each year in state Medicaid payments.Runyon said in an interview this week that he provided Young with the Lincoln Town Car EX while the senator was working for him two years ago. He said the car was part of Young's compensation and that the senator used it to conduct business for the ambulance company.
NEWS
By John Fritze, The Baltimore Sun | May 3, 2012
State Sen. Rob Garagiola, a Democrat from Germantown, has been sent a letter of reprimand from a state ethics committee for failing to disclose income he received as a lobbyist on state disclosure forms. The committee said in a letter it will take no further action on the issue. Questions about the 2001-2003 disclosure forms surfaced as Garagiola ran for the Democratic nomination in Maryland's 6th Congressional District this year. The issue became a frequent point of attack for his leading opponent, John Delaney, who raised the issue in campaign advertisements.
NEWS
by Annie Linskey | March 1, 2012
A spokesman to Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller clarified this afternoon that Sen. Ulysses Currie is no longer serving on the Rules or Executive Nominations committees following a recommendation last month by the Joint Committee on Legislative Ethics and vote by the full Senate. The issue arose this week because several senators were surprised that Currie appeared at the Executive Nominations panel on Monday evening and voted. Currie, a Prince George's County Democrat, was censured by the body in mid-February for failing to disclose income from a grocery chain while he lobbying on behalf of the firm to state agencies.
NEWS
By Michael Dresser, The Baltimore Sun | February 15, 2012
The Joint Committee on Legislative Ethics has just taken a break in its deliberations on its report on the ethics case of state Sen. Ulysses S. Currie and is expected to reume talks later in the day. Members spent almost two hours meeting behind closed doors Wednesday and had little to say as they filed out. Co-chairman Del. Brian  McHale said the panel expects to meet today to go over changes to the draft report but did not say when the...
NEWS
By Michael Dresser, The Baltimore Sun | February 6, 2012
State Sen. Ulysses S. Currie is behind closed doors with the Joint Committee on Legislative Ethics at the Miller Senate Office Building in Annapolis. The senator arrived at the hearing room about noon with his lawyer, former Judge Joseph F. Murphy Jr. The panel is investigating ethics violations that the defense for Currie, a Prince George's County Democrat, admitted during his federal trial last year on extortion and bribery charges. Currie was acquitted, but Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller referred the ethics matters to the committee.
NEWS
By Annie Linskey, The Baltimore Sun | February 6, 2012
Prince George's County Sen. Ulysses S. Currie attended a closed-door meeting of the legislature's ethics committee Monday, making his first appearance before a panel expected to recommend whether he should be punished for failing to report income on financial disclosure forms. Currie, a Democrat, was in the hearing room for about four hours. He declined to comment as he left. Joseph F. Murphy, a retired Court of Appeals judge who is representing the senator before the panel, said he expects a recommendation on Currie's fate "soon.
NEWS
By Michael Dresser, The Baltimore Sun | January 31, 2012
The Joint Committee on Legislative Ethics, which has on its plate the case of whether to discipline Sen. Ulysses Currie, met in closed session for about a hour Tesday but there was no word on what it will do about the Prince George's County Democrat.  Among the reasons given for the closing was "possible discipline of members of the General Assembly. " Legislative ethics adviser Bill Somerville  stepped out midway through the closed session. Since Somerville isn't taking part in prosecutorial matters, the panel likely moved on from confidential advisory opinions to discipline questions.
NEWS
By Michael Dresser and Gerry Shields and Michael Dresser and Gerry Shields,SUN STAFF | August 17, 1999
DONALD B. Robertson, a former majority leader in the House of Delegates, will chair a commission created to study the ethical practices of Maryland's ever-expanding corps of legislative lobbyists.The former Montgomery County delegate -- regarded as a champion of good-government laws during his General Assembly career -- was named to head the Study Commission on Legislative Ethics by Gov. Parris N. Glendening, House Speaker Casper R. Taylor Jr. and Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller.The panel was set up by the General Assembly this year at Taylor's suggestion after a series of reports of cozy dealing between paid lobbyists and members of the legislative and executive branches of government.
NEWS
By Compiled from Sun staff reports | April 10, 1994
A House of Delegates committee killed two bills yesterday that proponents said would further protect the Chesapeake Bay from pollution. Both are dead for this year's legislative session, which concludes at midnight tomorrow.One bill would have extended environmental protections required along the Chesapeake's shoreline to nontidal rivers. The other would have required farmers who receive state money implement programs to reduce manure and fertilizer runoff into bay tributaries.The House Environmental Matters Committee defeated the shoreline bill, 17-2.
NEWS
By Michael Dresser, The Baltimore Sun | January 20, 2012
The special committee named by Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller to consider possible improvements in the state's ethics laws reached a quick consensus on two measures long sought by advocates of disclosure -- signaling that it could bring in a strong recommendation to enact those measures this year. The ethics panel, chaired by Sen. Jamie Raskin, had little difficulty reaching bipartisan agreement that lawmakers' disclosure forms should be made available online and that a provision that now requires the State Ethics Commission to notify the filer of a disclosure about the identity of people who look at it should be eliminated.
NEWS
By Michael Dresser, The Baltimore Sun | January 12, 2012
An ethics investigation of state Sen. Ulysses S. Currie got off the ground today in Annapolis as the Joint Committee on Legislative Ethics  held its first meeting of the 2012 legislative session. The committee met briefly in public before closing the meeting to deal with the Currie case and perhaps other complaints covered under confidentiality provision in state law. Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller had said Wednesday that the committee would take up the Currie case, which flows out of a federal bribery and extortion trial that led to the Prince George's County Democrat's acquittal last November.
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