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By BARRY RASCOVAR | December 11, 1994
Pollution is a growing problem in American society. And nowhere in Maryland is pollution more of a danger than in the Annapolis State House, where the spread of noxious fumes from hordes of lobbyists threaten to suffocate the integrity of this state's legislative process.Is this too harsh an assessment? Even some practitioners believe that the situation has spun out of control.Lobbyists are now the lifeblood of campaign financing for many incumbents. In return, lobbyists expect -- and receive -- vital access to legislators to bend their ear on important bills.
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NEWS
January 17, 2006
If lobbying isn't the world's oldest profession, it's close. Seeking help from those in power is fundamental to human nature, and a formalized right at least since the Magna Carta. Lobbyists are so interwoven into the fabric of American democracy that it probably couldn't exist without them. They finance and run election campaigns, write legislation, round up votes for passage and hound the executive branch for enforcement to their liking. Lobbying looms as a lucrative second career for obliging public officials.
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NEWS
By Marina Sarris and Peter Jensen and Marina Sarris and Peter Jensen,SUN STAFF | February 14, 1996
A year after pushing ethics reforms through the Maryland General Assembly, two top legislators are trying to weaken laws requiring the disclosure of gifts from lobbyists.Del. Gerald J. Curran and Sen. Michael J. Collins, who championed reforms last year, have proposed greater exemptions to requirements that lobbyists and legislators disclose free meals and drinks."The proposals will have the effect of putting the public in the dark about who is giving what to whom," said Deborah Povich, executive director of Common Cause/Maryland, a citizens lobby group.
NEWS
By Tim Baker | July 31, 2000
THE recent federal fraud trial of lobbyist Gerard E. Evans and state Delegate Tony E. Fulton has exposed once again the seamy underside of business as usual in Maryland's General Assembly. There were $500 bull roast tickets, tens of thousands of dollars in political contributions, and even larger donations to key legislators' favorite charities. This is how lobbyists grease the skids in our state legislature. We've seen it all before. The fraud trial of lobbyist Bruce Bereano several years ago is one example.
NEWS
December 28, 1994
Those revolving doors at the State House are spinning so rapidly they're creating winds that could be hazardous to the public's health. In one revolution, government officials are walking out the door and then returning as lobbyists.It's not a healthy trend. Speaker Pro Tem Gary Alexander retired so he could earn lucrative fees bending the ears of former colleagues. John Stierhoff, top aide to the Senate president, jumped to a lobbying firm with close ties to top Annapolis leaders. Former Speaker R. Clayton Mitchell joined the throng of influence-peddlers recently.
NEWS
By Michael Dresser and Michael Dresser,SUN STAFF | October 7, 1999
The chairman of a state task force on lobbying practices said yesterday that the panel should take a serious look at drafting a code of ethics for the profession.Donald B. Robertson, who had expressed doubts about drafting such a code, said the task appears more feasible than he thought six weeks ago."I am contemplating something that would have some teeth in it and that would be meaningful," said Robertson, a former House of Delegates Democratic majority leader from Montgomery County. He said it was possible that the panel would recommend that such a code be enforced through penalties such as revocation or suspension of lobbying privileges.
NEWS
June 7, 2000
BEGINNING today, Marylanders will get a glimpse of the seamy side of how a bill becomes -- or doesn't become -- a law in Annapolis. Federal prosecutors will attempt to prove that Baltimore Del. Tony E. Fulton and influential lobbyist Gerard E. Evans conspired to manipulate proposed legislation so that the lobbyist generated $400,000 in fees from his clients. Mr. Fulton's alleged reward: a $10,000 real estate commission on an Annapolis office building bought by the lobbyist. Regardless of the outcome, citizens could be shocked by revelations about how business sometimes is conducted during General Assembly sessions.
NEWS
By Barry Rascovar | October 21, 1990
THERE HE WAS, caught by a candid camera, reaching across a table to accept a handful of $100 bills, then stuffing the $2,000 into a back pants pocket. It was all his, thanks to his willingness to vote in favor of a bill legalizing pari-mutuel betting.That scene, repeated again and again on FBI videotape, has rocked the South Carolina legislature. Ten lawmakers so far have been indicted; five have pleaded guilty. Many others seem certain to be ensnared as the probe continues.This is ''Bubbagate,'' a state house scandal in Columbia, S.C., with implications that could easily be felt in Annapolis.
NEWS
By Thomas W. Waldron and Greg Garland and Thomas W. Waldron and Greg Garland,SUN STAFF | July 16, 2000
After more than three days of deliberation in the trial that convicted lobbyist Gerard E. Evans of fraud last week, half the federal jury concluded that Del. Tony E. Fulton's dealings with Evans were an unsavory, but not illegal, form of political hardball, according to jurors and the prosecutor in the case. While prosecutors charged that Fulton helped Evans win paint-company clients by making empty threats to push legislation aimed at their industry, the delegate maintained his "noble" goal was to compel the firms to give money to community projects he supported.
NEWS
By DAN RODRICKS | February 19, 1999
JOHN ARNICK says he can't survive on $30 a day for food in Annapolis. You reading this, Dundalk? Your man in the state capital has been bellyaching about a proposed ban on lobbyists buying him meals. Arnick says it's necessary that lobbyists continue to wine and dine him; the $30-a-day food allowance he gets from the state isn't enough.Poor Johnny Delegate.If this proposal passes, he might have to sell his new Caddy to make meal money. Or he might end up panhandling along Rowe Boulevard.Unless, of course, House Bill 478 also becomes law.That proposal, scheduled for a hearing next week, would ban people from standing on median strips long enough to ask drivers for money.
NEWS
By Thomas W. Waldron and Greg Garland and Thomas W. Waldron and Greg Garland,SUN STAFF | July 16, 2000
After more than three days of deliberation in the trial that convicted lobbyist Gerard E. Evans of fraud last week, half the federal jury concluded that Del. Tony E. Fulton's dealings with Evans were an unsavory, but not illegal, form of political hardball, according to jurors and the prosecutor in the case. While prosecutors charged that Fulton helped Evans win paint-company clients by making empty threats to push legislation aimed at their industry, the delegate maintained his "noble" goal was to compel the firms to give money to community projects he supported.
NEWS
June 7, 2000
BEGINNING today, Marylanders will get a glimpse of the seamy side of how a bill becomes -- or doesn't become -- a law in Annapolis. Federal prosecutors will attempt to prove that Baltimore Del. Tony E. Fulton and influential lobbyist Gerard E. Evans conspired to manipulate proposed legislation so that the lobbyist generated $400,000 in fees from his clients. Mr. Fulton's alleged reward: a $10,000 real estate commission on an Annapolis office building bought by the lobbyist. Regardless of the outcome, citizens could be shocked by revelations about how business sometimes is conducted during General Assembly sessions.
NEWS
By M. Dion Thompson and M. Dion Thompson,SUN STAFF | January 30, 2000
The old-timers say they never meant to make a living off politics, never said to themselves: "Once I get to the State House, only dynamite will get me out." Yet, 10, 20, 30 years later, they're still in Annapolis, pushing bills, working the halls, living the legislative life. The elected ones aren't alone in staying with the political game. Year after year, you find the same lobbyists. And every session another legislator signs on to lobby old friends. You could go on a 10-year odyssey, and chances are most of the same crowd would be here when you returned.
NEWS
By Michael Dresser and Michael Dresser,SUN STAFF | October 7, 1999
The chairman of a state task force on lobbying practices said yesterday that the panel should take a serious look at drafting a code of ethics for the profession.Donald B. Robertson, who had expressed doubts about drafting such a code, said the task appears more feasible than he thought six weeks ago."I am contemplating something that would have some teeth in it and that would be meaningful," said Robertson, a former House of Delegates Democratic majority leader from Montgomery County. He said it was possible that the panel would recommend that such a code be enforced through penalties such as revocation or suspension of lobbying privileges.
NEWS
By DAN RODRICKS | February 19, 1999
JOHN ARNICK says he can't survive on $30 a day for food in Annapolis. You reading this, Dundalk? Your man in the state capital has been bellyaching about a proposed ban on lobbyists buying him meals. Arnick says it's necessary that lobbyists continue to wine and dine him; the $30-a-day food allowance he gets from the state isn't enough.Poor Johnny Delegate.If this proposal passes, he might have to sell his new Caddy to make meal money. Or he might end up panhandling along Rowe Boulevard.Unless, of course, House Bill 478 also becomes law.That proposal, scheduled for a hearing next week, would ban people from standing on median strips long enough to ask drivers for money.
NEWS
August 6, 1998
SOME RECENT stories in the news: Maryland's highest-paid lobbyist takes the witness stand and testifies in court that state legislators often steer business to favored lobbyists. Two state delegates are absolved of any wrongdoing in their efforts to line up $1 million in state subsidies for a project run by their chief political strategist.According to the state's ethics arbiters, there's nothing wrong in these activities. Close ties between rich lobbyists and legislators are perfectly legal.
NEWS
January 17, 2006
If lobbying isn't the world's oldest profession, it's close. Seeking help from those in power is fundamental to human nature, and a formalized right at least since the Magna Carta. Lobbyists are so interwoven into the fabric of American democracy that it probably couldn't exist without them. They finance and run election campaigns, write legislation, round up votes for passage and hound the executive branch for enforcement to their liking. Lobbying looms as a lucrative second career for obliging public officials.
NEWS
By BARRY RASCOVAR | June 23, 1996
EVERY YEAR, lobbyists report earning millions to wine and dine -- and press -- state legislators in Annapolis. And every year, I write a column decrying the excesses. So here is my annual screed -- or scream -- on lobbyists and legislators, money and influence.Anyone who thinks lobbyists don't earn fat fees by gaining all-important access and influence is naive. It is a sad fact of life in government. No, it's not on the level of Colombia drug cartels buying themselves presidents, cabinet ministers and entire legislatures, but it is an insidious influence in Maryland nonetheless.
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