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By ANDREW A. GREEN and ANDREW A. GREEN,SUN REPORTER | August 19, 2006
The state Ethics Commission has cleared Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s personal lawyer of wrongdoing, dismissing a complaint that meetings he arranged with top officials on behalf of his clients constituted illegal, unregistered lobbying. Attorney David Hamilton, who heads the government relations practice at the governor's former law firm, Ober/Kaler, attended meetings between clients who had business with the state and Ehrlich and other administration officials, according to appointment calendars released under Maryland's Public Information Act. Hamilton is not registered with the state as a lobbyist.
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NEWS
By Yvonne Wenger and Ellie Kahn, The Baltimore Sun | June 6, 2012
A review of financial disclosure statements sheds light on how Annapolis lawmakers make their money and whom they are indebted to - at least for the sort of debt that's marked in accounting ledgers. Gov. Martin O'Malleyreports that in addition to making a living as Maryland's chief executive, he's signed up with the Screen Actors Guild. Remember his role as the mayor in Ladder 49 from 2004 when Baltimore's then-Mayor O'Malley starred as one of some 500 extras in the film featuring John Travolta and Joaquin Phoenix?
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NEWS
By Ivan Penn and Ivan Penn,SUN STAFF | March 30, 2002
State investigators and ethics officials are continuing inquiries into a $10,000 loan that state Sen. Clarence M. Mitchell IV received five years ago in an agreement with three Baltimore businessmen who have issues before the General Assembly. The state prosecutor's office has questioned at least two of the three businessmen who arranged the loan for Mitchell, sources close to the investigation said yesterday. And the state Ethics Commission, which met last week, is reviewing the loan agreement.
NEWS
By Douglas M. Schmidt | May 24, 2012
For the past three years, Maryland has experienced an unprecedented crime wave of political corruption. The only comparable period in memory would be the 1970s, when a governor was jailed and a sitting U.S. vice president (who had served as governor and Baltimore County executive) resigned in shame. The current offenders have been high-ranking elected officials, and the offenses have been far more serious than simple lapses in judgment. They have involved a level of hubris and ethical depravity that are shocking by any standard.
NEWS
By Caitlin Francke and Caitlin Francke,SUN STAFF | March 1, 2002
Though standing by its controversial opinion that family ties make it improper for District Court Judge Catherine Curran O'Malley to hear most cases, a state ethics panel said yesterday that it is really up to the judge to decide which cases to avoid. "The judge is certainly free to evaluate the need for recusal in individual cases," District Court Judge Charlotte M. Cooksey, chairman of the nine-member Judicial Ethics Committee, wrote in a letter received by O'Malley's lawyer yesterday.
TOPIC
By Ivan Penn and Ivan Penn,SUN STAFF | July 6, 2003
The message is simple: lobbyists who run afoul of Maryland law these days will face severe punishment. The message was loud and clear last week as the State Ethics Commission imposed a $5,000 fine and 10-month lobbying suspension on high-powered political broker Bruce C. Bereano for a contingency fee agreement he had with a client - a violation of the law, the commission said. It was the second major sanction handed down by the panel since state lawmakers gave it the authority to punish illegal activity by lobbyists two years ago. Last October, the commission barred one-time Annapolis powerhouse Gerard E. Evans from representing clients before the General Assembly because of his 2000 conviction on charges that he bilked his clients by concocting a phony threat of harmful legislation.
NEWS
By Michael Dresser and David Nitkin and Michael Dresser and David Nitkin,SUN STAFF | June 26, 2001
JOHN E. O'DONNELL, executive director of the State Ethics Commission, recalls how a well-known lobbyist made an appointment with him after the General Assembly passed one of its periodic ethics reform laws. When the lobbyist sat down with O'Donnell, he got right to the point: What are the loopholes? "I looked up at him and said, `That isn't my job,'" O'Donnell said. O'Donnell's job for the past 22 years has been to ride herd on the ethics practices of some 500 registered lobbyists and 80,000 state employees and officials.
NEWS
By Tim Craig and Tim Craig,SUN STAFF | July 25, 2002
Former state Sen. Julian L. Lapides, who built a reputation for efforts to change the way business is done in Annapolis, has been appointed to the Maryland State Ethics Commission. Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller selected Lapides for the position last month. The Baltimore Democrat, who served in the General Assembly from 1967 to 1995, will attend his first commission meeting Aug. 2. Lapides, 70, spent much of his career, including a stint as co-chairman of the legislature's ethics committee, working to strengthen state ethics laws.
NEWS
By Tim Craig and Tim Craig,SUN STAFF | March 19, 2002
A health care advocacy group filed a complaint yesterday with the State Ethics Commission charging that the pharmaceutical industry violated Maryland law with a "deceptive" lobbying effort to defeat legislation before the General Assembly. The Maryland Citizens' Health Initiative Education Fund claims that representatives of the industry schemed to influence lawmakers on prescription drug legislation without registering as lobbyists. The complaint alleges that Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America (PhRMA)
NEWS
By Larry Carson and Larry Carson,SUN STAFF | February 6, 2004
Robert J. Antonetti Sr., the Howard County elections administrator who defied a state Court of Appeals order to pay an ethics fine incurred during his tenure in Prince George's County and sued the county elections board last year for more pay, has settled the case and agreed to retire March 31 -- four weeks after Maryland's presidential primary. His departure will end a tumultuous 3 1/2 -year term marked by legal wrangling over his refusal to pay an ethics fine, the fatal heart attack of the county board chairman during a close 2002 vote recount, and the first use of the electronic voting technology that Antonetti publicly doubted could be ready on time.
NEWS
October 18, 2011
Just when it seemed that the trial of state Sen. Ulysses Currie couldn't possibly lower the public opinion of the General Assembly any further, a former state delegate and highly respected member of Maryland's legal and political firmament has now testified that the man who has been given tremendous responsibility for steering the state through billion-dollar budget deficits for the last nine years is too dumb to be held accountable for his actions....
NEWS
By Steven Stanek and Steven Stanek,Sun reporter | July 23, 2008
County Executive John R. Leopold has asked the Anne Arundel County Ethics Commission to issue a special exemption allowing off-duty police officers to work second jobs at bingo halls and other establishments that serve alcohol, a stance the commission has long opposed. The request came Friday, the same day that the Maryland Ethics Commission said that a county bill allowing police officers to moonlight at such establishments was invalid because it does not conform to the state's ethics law. The state ruled that permission could be granted only through a special exemption granted by the county ethics commission, which has argued in the past that police officers who work secondary jobs in alcohol-serving establishments may be tempted to overlook minor illegal activity there.
NEWS
July 7, 2008
As government forms go, the 17-page financial disclosure required of members of the General Assembly is unambiguous. Lawmakers must list not only outside employment and investments but also gifts worth $20 or more. The ethics requirements of counties and other local government are typically just as crystal clear: Elected officials must not only report income but also recuse themselves from matters in which they have a direct financial stake. So while it's unwise to rush to judgment in the continuing federal investigation into state Sen. Ulysses Currie, the information that's come to light so far strongly suggests that the longtime Prince George's County lawmaker did not meet this minimum standard.
NEWS
By Gadi Dechter, Bradley Olson and Justin Fenton and Gadi Dechter, Bradley Olson and Justin Fenton,Sun reporters | May 31, 2008
FBI officials intend to subpoena legislative records in connection with an investigation of Sen. Ulysses Currie, state government sources said, indicating a broadening of the federal probe of the powerful Prince George's County Democrat's previously undisclosed consulting work for a regional grocery chain. On Thursday, FBI agents raided Currie's District Heights home and also searched the Lanham headquarters of Shoppers Food & Pharmacy, for which the 70-year-old chairman of the Budget and Taxation Committee was an "outside consultant," according to company officials.
NEWS
By Melissa Harris and Melissa Harris,sun reporter | June 29, 2007
Diebold Election Systems withdrew a sales brochure yesterday featuring Maryland Elections Administrator Linda H. Lamone praising the company's equipment after the governor and watchdog groups questioned whether the endorsement violated state ethics laws. Diebold labeled the glossy, four-page brochure a "case study" of Maryland's experience with the ExpressPoll-5000 voter check-in equipment, which made its national debut in the state last year. The marketing piece was distributed to potential clients at trade shows.
NEWS
By ANDREW A. GREEN and ANDREW A. GREEN,SUN REPORTER | August 19, 2006
The state Ethics Commission has cleared Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s personal lawyer of wrongdoing, dismissing a complaint that meetings he arranged with top officials on behalf of his clients constituted illegal, unregistered lobbying. Attorney David Hamilton, who heads the government relations practice at the governor's former law firm, Ober/Kaler, attended meetings between clients who had business with the state and Ehrlich and other administration officials, according to appointment calendars released under Maryland's Public Information Act. Hamilton is not registered with the state as a lobbyist.
NEWS
By Walter F. Roche Jr. and Walter F. Roche Jr.,SUN STAFF | December 14, 1999
The task force examining the state Injured Workers Insurance Fund recommended yesterday that the agency's governing board be expanded, and members hinted they'll abandon a proposal to exempt the agency from state ethics and public meetings laws.The task force voted unanimously during a two-hour session to recommend that IWIF's board of directors expand from seven to 11 members to better manage the $1 billion operation. They rejected proposals to require that some of those board members have expertise in a particular field, such as insurance.
NEWS
By Tim Craig and Tim Craig,SUN STAFF | May 15, 2003
Maryland ranks high among states for the quality of its disclosure regulations for lobbyists but still gets a poor overall grade because the information needs to be more accessible to the public, according to a government watchdog organization based in Washington. The Center for Public Integrity gave Maryland a "D" for efforts to regulate lobbyists and make their activities available for public viewing. The state's sub-par grade was still better than those of 41 other states, highlighting the low priority of lobbying reform in most state legislatures.
NEWS
By GREG GARLAND and GREG GARLAND,SUN REPORTER | April 27, 2006
The spouse of a Department of General Services official who oversees the sale of surplus state property was allowed to purchase a used car directly from a Maryland agency at a price below what it likely would have sold for at auction, according to an audit released yesterday. Legislative auditors said the June sale "appears to have violated state ethics law and a prior ethics opinion" and referred the matter to the State Ethics Commission for review. The transaction -- which came to auditors' attention through a tip to a fraud hot line -- prompted General Services Secretary Boyd K. Rutherford to order policy changes in January.
NEWS
By ANDREW A. GREEN and ANDREW A. GREEN,SUN REPORTER | March 9, 2006
The Maryland State Ethics Commission and a subcommittee of the state university system's Board of Regents are reviewing allegations that regents Chairman David H. Nevins violated state ethics rules by lobbying the legislature on behalf of his employer, Constellation Energy. The ethics commission received a complaint last week about Nevins, which by law triggers a preliminary investigation by its staff. Commission officials are prohibited from confirming whether they are investigating conduct by a public official.
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